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Such a Pretty Girl Paperback – January 2, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

With her father imprisoned, 15-year-old Meredith thinks she could live out her high-school days safely, but when he is released early for good behavior, her security is shattered. A popular youth baseball coach, her father has abused Mer as well as other boys and girls. With strict orders that he not be left alone with his daughter, he is returned to the condo complex where she and her mother live. In contrast to Mer's terror, her mother is giddy with delight at his return, and together the reunited couple plans to conceive another child. Yet in the shadows and stillness, Mer's nightmare begins anew. This is a gritty, terrifying novel about a father's abuse of power and trust, and the way two different teens, Meredith and her paraplegic friend, Andy, deal with that reality. Although not explicit, the novel is honest in its telling. Admittedly sensational, Wiess' story is a page-turner that ultimately sends a startling message of empowerment that, while improbable, is extremely satisfying. Frances Bradburn
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"Such a Pretty Girl is deep and ravishing, dark and true. In the character of Meredith, Laura Wiess has created a girl to walk alongside Harper Lee's Scout and J. D. Salinger's Phoebe. Read this novel, and you will be changed forever."
-- Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author

"Such a Pretty Girl hooked me on page one and Laura Wiess's masterful prose kept me turning the pages. This is the first book in a very long time that made me say, 'Wish I'd written this.'"
-- Ellen Hopkins, bestselling author of Crank

"Beautifully written and painfully real. Laura Wiess has crafted a gripping story that is heart-rending -- and important, with a capital 'I'."
-- Barbara Delinsky, New York Times bestselling author of Flirting with Pete

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: MTV Books; First Printing edition (January 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416521836
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416521839
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Author, reader, feeder of strays.

Laura Wiess is the author of the critically acclaimed Simon & Schuster YA novels Such a Pretty Girl, Leftovers, How It Ends, Ordinary Beauty and in February 2014, Me Since You.

Exploring issues such as sexual abuse, suicide, addiction, abandonment and betrayal, she writes about young adults caught in desperate conditions, armed with little more than hope and fighting to survive.

Originally from central New Jersey, Laura followed her passion for land to the woods of Pennsylvania's Endless Mountains region. A lifelong animal lover, she is a spay/neuter advocate, maintains a small TNR semi-feral cat community, and enjoys a respectful if occasionally hair-raising co-existence with the deer, porcupines, coyotes, rattlesnakes and bears living around her.

Visit Laura's website or find her on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

Customer Reviews

I read the whole book in two sittings.
Amazon Customer
You will want to scoop Meredith up in your arms and protect her -- and everyone else who has ever had to live in a situation even remotely like hers.
John Verrico
I was so impressed with how well the author developed the character's voice and conflicts in such a short book.
C. Gillespie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 59 people found the following review helpful By DF VINE VOICE on January 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
I almost passed this book by. The topic was an awful one, and I have had to witness the effects of abuse on children. I didn't think such a topic could be pulled off at all well. But something on the back matter made me pick Pretty Girl up, made me read the first couple of pages and then buy it.

I'm glad I did. Not only did the author convey the reality of the child's suffering, she gave us the effects on the community, the relatives and others. She has portrayed a very bad situation and shown us characters who are damaged and isolated by their experience, and shown us how some of them make it through the damage and out the other side. She shows us how some do not, or can only heal part way. It's about coping. And it was done beautifully.

This is one of those books that can effect a profound change on the reader.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on December 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
In SUCH A PRETTY GIRL, Laura Wiess grabbed and held my attention from the first page to the last. New Jersey teenager Meredith was supposed to have nine years of safety from her father, so she'd be eighteen and out of the house when he was released from prison. But three years later, when Meredith is fifteen, her father gets out for good behavior. No matter what he did to Meredith and to other children before her, Meredith's mother is more than ready to take him back.

Meredith isn't alone, though. She has her grandmother, the mayor of the town, who wants Meredith to move in with her to escape her father. She has Andy, her best friend, the guy she is in love with, who was also scarred by Meredith's father as a child. She has Andy's mother, who moved across the street from Meredith's family just to keep other children from the horror from which she couldn't protect Andy. She has Nigel, a retired policemen who has a plan to get Meredith's father back in jail and away from children. Even though Meredith is far from alone, she still feels that way when she can't even count on the people every kid is supposed to be able to count on: her parents.

Meredith wants to get her father back in prison. She wants her mother to go back to visiting him instead of having him in their house. She wants to be able to go into her own home without fear. She wants other kids to be safe, too. She doesn't know what that's going to take, and she's certainly not unafraid, but she isn't going to let him hurt her, or any other kids, again.

This moving, powerful novel is one that should not be missed. Once you start reading it, you won't be able to put this book down. I wasn't!
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35 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book deals with a young prepubescent girl's ordeal. Raped by her father, who has also diddled with other children in his care and custody, Meredith speaks out about her family's little dirty secret, against her mother's wishes. Consequently, her father is arrested, tried, convicted, and sent to prison. After only three years in prison, rather than the nine Meredith had been led to believe he would get, he is released.

The mother, besotted with her husband, and blind to her child's pain and the enormity of the crime that daddy dearest has committed against his flesh and blood, does nothing to help Meredith. Instead, she speaks inanely about their being a family again, disregarding her daughter's pain and suffering over such a concept. Meredith, now an older and wiser fifteen year old, has her own coping mechanisms that help her deal with both her mother and father's complete betrayal.

Moreover, since the mother is a total enabler, she gets him an apartment in the complex in which she and Meredith live and proceeds to invite him into their home in complete disregard of a court's directive. She does this despite the fact that one of the original arresting officers just happens to live in the complex, as well, and is well-aware of what is going on. This is where the story begins to fall apart, as the author's understanding of law enforcement and the criminal justice system with regards to pedophiles seems off the mark.

While this is an intriguing book with its up close and personal look at incest and pedophilia, it is flawed. Some of the book rings true, while some of it rings quite hollow. Consequently, there were parts that I liked and parts that I did not at all like.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Emma White on September 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
The whole story rubbed me the wrong way, but that could have been the subject matter, but...
There were the obvious suspects and that was the mother and the father, the both of them were bad characters and they were meant to be, but everyone else seemed like they had motive too. I hated Andy. I hated Andy because of how old he was and I hated him because he was dealing with way too many of his own issues to be a hero in the novel only he was kinda approached as such. I also don't like how Andy's issues were addressed but never dealt with. I don't like Andy's mother because you don't know what she's after. I don't like anyone in this novel besides the grandmother and even she seemed a little to preoccupied to really be a good character.
Did I like the main character? Yes and no. I don't find her character that believable. I do believe that people are strong, but I just don't believe that she would have turned out like she did given the life she was living. I see her as a different character then the one she turned out to be and it was really hard to read because of it.
I don't like anyone's approach to the problem either.
I just didn't like the book, and if I had to pick any one reason why it would have been Andy.
*Spoilers**Spoilers*Spoilers*Spoilers*Spoilers*Spoilers*Why don't I like Andy? *Spoilers*Spoilers*Spoilers*Spoilers*Spoilers*Spoilers*
I hate that I'm going to write a review with spoilers so I'm going to make sure you know well in advance. There is going to be SPOILERS.
I don't like Andy because he's nineteen and she's only fourteen and their messing around. I don't like the fact that the author made Andy one of the fathers victims and I don't like how he never got help for this.
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