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Pretty Girls Make Graves: A pretty girl's ugly story told in borrowed voices Paperback – December 12, 2011
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
"Pretty Girls Make Graves is not a coming-of-age story. It's a story about allowing yourself to be lost, not because you want to be, or because you have the luxury to do so, but because you can't be anything else."
"An incredibly emotionally involving read."
-Review on Amazon.co.uk
"Because I felt connected to the character, I really enjoyed reading this book. Justine may have some serious baggage, but she's someone I know after she shared her journey with me. She made me see a little bit of myself in her. Plus she listens to some kick-ass music."
"An emotional and absorbing read, engaging and perfect for the final days of a carefree summer."
-VEUX, Issue 7
About the Author
During the recession, Nicole Trilivas was the creative director of a cool, young, and successful alternative advertising agency in NYC. It was here, chock full of job security and stability, when she made the unlikely decision to finally tend to the persistent nagging that comes built into the heart of a writer who is not writing. And so eyes were rolled, eyebrows raised, two-cents given, and a consensus drawn: it was officially “a bad idea.” It would be really cool if Nicole was unfazed by all this, but that’s not the truth. She was terrified. But luckily being scared isn’t mutually exclusive with backing out. Fear and all, Nicole moved abroad to write what is now her debut novel, PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES. (And it only took her a few years!) But she hasn’t looked back. Nicole is currently based in Europe where she is scribing away on her next novel, and being terribly bohemian by living off canned soup, wearing a beret, and indulging in delusions of grandeur. Nicole is a 2005 graduate of Boston University’s College of Communication. For more information, poke around www.nicoletrilivas.com
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The writing: I went back through my notes and there are pages of highlighted words. Nicole Trivilas' writing is so good it's almost painful. It's insightful and it's real.
The Disclaimer: This alone is the reason I purchased this book without actually getting to the first page. This disclaimer is by far the best thing I've read in far too long.
The maybe not so good:
Emo: The main character, Justine is a tad...over dramatic, there are a few allusions to slitting wrists and ending lives over a boy. It's nothing too over-the-top, but as a personal preference, it's not necessary.
This book made me feel a tad bit old and, dare I say it, responsible. Darn.
This book is difficult to read. It's uncomfortable to watch Justine's self destruction, while hoping things get better; and then when they don't, feeling crushed. I really liked Justine, I wanted her to get better, but hope is futile in the book. You want her to have a coming of age, to be better when she ends than when she begins, but this book isn't about the ending, it's about the journey. And, it's well worth the ride.
The anti-heroine of the story, Justine, is a full-on train wreck, drinking and hooking up night after night to try and erase the trauma of ending an affair with a married man. She travels abroad and lives in three different countries over the course of a year to try and heal from the emotional wounds. Justine reminds me of someone I could have known in high school or college - she could have been a friend of mine, or, I am scared to admit, could have been me at one point in my life had I made some different choices.
Told from both Justine's own perspective, and the borrowed perspectives of some literary characters, this is a cleverly-told, smartly written story that I found myself relating to a little bit too much. The way women sometimes need the approval of a man to feel good about themselves. Always picking the wrong guy, the one who is taken, the one who isn't interested, making it a game to try and win his affection.
There is so much emotion and realness to this story that I can't help but wonder how much of the author's own experiences have found their way in. There are black and white photos sprinkled in the pages, lending an authenticity to the story, making you feel like you are reading Justine's private journal.
Pretty Girls Make Graves ends with Justine going back to school in New York, but doesn't wrap everything up in a pretty package. In fact, I'm not sure Justine will be okay. If I were her friend, I'd still be scared for her and the lifestyle she is living. Because I felt connected to the character, I really enjoyed reading this book. Justine may have some serious baggage, but she's someone I know after she shared her journey with me. She made me see a little bit of myself in her. Plus she listens to some kick-ass music.
(Review written by Kathy, a Literary R&R book review blog team member)