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Pretty Little Dirty

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,084 Ratings  ·  97 Reviews
Lisa sees the life of her gorgeous best friend Celeste as just about perfect: she has a gigantic house, two older sisters to coach her through the hazards of high school, and loving, lively parents. As Lisa's own home has long been a place devoid of joyful noise—her mother has shut herself off in her bedroom for years—Lisa joins the Diamond household, slipping into their r ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published March 14th 2006 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,058)
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Jan 01, 2016 Jen rated it did not like it
Shelves: ugh, donated
Ugh. Wasted time. Wasted trees.

This book made me turn my back on a 'reading rule' that I set upon myself: "Once you start a book, FINISH IT".

I didn't. I had stopped and started this book about three times, and well, I'm official done. This time I got further, but I stopped mid-way in and thought, "Life is too dang short for me to abuse myself by reading this crap any longer."

See, I always try to be a good little reader so I can give a real objective review without someone rattling to me: "But
Jan 12, 2010 Annie rated it it was ok
lost potential is a bitter pill for me to swallow (when i start falling in love with a book i really resist falling out of love with it) but, alas, lost potential is exactly the situation of "pretty little dirty" -- a tale of two best friends growing up in kansas city during the late 70's and 80's. their dynamic together is endearing -- one friend (celeste) is a kind-hearted beauty while the other friend (lisa, also the narrator) is a witty adventure-seeker. both girls have issues at home and th ...more
Oct 05, 2009 Jeni rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this book. When I began the book, I loved Lisa and Celeste. They reminded me a lot of my high school years. My best friend and I had the same sort of relationship and our own rebellious streak (though it was nowhere near as bad as some of the things these girls do). As the story progressed I became a little detatched from them because they had become so wild. Normally, this kind of thing wouldn’t affect me too much. with these two, it bothered me bec ...more
Mar 11, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: drugs
Wow. This book very much mirrors my life as a teenager/young adult although these girls overachieved more than I did and also fell further. I know some people will bristle at the "poor little rich girl" element of it but I felt it really showed what it's like when you're trying to break away from unrealistic pressures and expectations. Boyden really captured the way that teenage girls are when they are stretching their world view and exploring their sexuality. I could really relate to a lot of i ...more
Syd Markle
Jun 17, 2007 Syd Markle rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction

Or best friends for life on speed and punk rock. This sums up Pretty Little Dirty by Amanda Boyden. Taglines of a novel that falls short in the way of genius, but is at least entertaining.

Boyden’s main character, Lisa, is self-loathing, short tempered and short-sighted. She worships her best friend—which I can understand being prone to best friend worship myself—but fails to recognize the love she receives back. It is an error in perception that she also inflicts upon her mentally ill mother. Sh
Dec 30, 2009 Christoph rated it it was ok
I had the occasion to meet the author, Mrs. Boyden, one memorable evening at Handsome Willy's in New Orleans the night of the Saints/Bears game to decide who would go to the Super Bowl in 2007. Sitting at the bar I and the entire bar were reveling in a rare opportunity. Mrs. Boyden was on my left while her husband, Mr. Boyden, also a writer, shmoozed in the crowd. As we were obviously both routing for the same team, in a town like New Orleans where pretension is truly non-existent, we had a very ...more
Ashley T
Jan 21, 2013 Ashley T rated it it was amazing
Growing up can be a hard thing, yet it’s something we all go through. Some of us earlier in life and some later. In Amanda Boyden’s Pretty Little Dirty you see both. You see the beauty of becoming of age and you see the ugly. You see it through someone who’s going through it. However, as an adolescent myself I feel that this book could potentially teach other kids like me to take the wrong path. Such as, drugs and alcohol. On the other hand, it shows you the consequences if you do take the wrong ...more
Aug 15, 2011 Heather rated it it was ok
Coming-of-age books are my favorite (how many times have I said this?), so I judge these types of books way more harshly. I've read two beautifully written coming-of-age books this year. Pretty Little Dirty isn't one of them. Was this book horrible? No. However, it was one of those books that took me way too long to read due to lack of enthusiasm on my part. Any book that turns you off of reading for awhile doesn't deserve much praise, even if the book isn't the worst you've ever read. This book ...more
Aug 03, 2008 Sherri rated it really liked it
Surprising ending. I really enjoyed this book. I felt the happiness. I felt the pain. But while I enjoyed it, I can imagine this book isn't for everyone.

Lisa sees the life of her gorgeous best friend, Celeste Diamond, as just about perfect: she has a gigantic house, two older sisters to coach her through the hazards of high school, and loving, lively parents. As Lisa's own home has long been a place devoid of joyful noise, she joins the Diamond household, slipping into their routine of sit-down
John Van
Jul 14, 2010 John Van rated it did not like it
This book, which is a coming of age tale of two young women in the seventies, may have been a "gutsy debut" work, but I couldn't find any coherence in the story's events. The "scandalous" or "erotic" events which apparently shape these girls' lives seem of no real use other than to shock the audience -- this, to me, is not art.

There were, however, instances of good descriptive language, both objective and subjective, with interchange and balance between the two. Overall, however, I do not recom
Jul 28, 2007 Lisa rated it really liked it
This book talks about a childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood that doesn't match mine at all, but while reading it I feel like it could have been mine. There's an intensity to it that I really love.

It's the story of two girls who are best friends from sixth grade to the first year in college. They're smart and yet they're ultimate bad girls.

I will definitely re-read this.
Apr 02, 2008 Gina rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: someone trapped on a plane
Dumb. Cliched plot (two friends, one is beautiful and rich and perfect, and the other one is down-to-earth and always in her shadow), VERY irritating characters (the girls are both spoiled brats who always get what they want), out of nowhere plot shift towards the end of the book, and random ridiculous ending. also, strange intercalary chapters that made no sense whatsoever.
Apr 12, 2010 Jaime rated it liked it
Enjoyable read. I liked the book and got sucked in by the characters, but can't say I loved it and I'm not sure if I'd recommend it to a friend. I didn't care for the end (in regard to Celeste). A fun read though, one that I think anyone who was once a teenager (especially a teenage girl!) could enjoy.
Jun 07, 2007 Lori rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone who loves a girl
Shelves: 2007march
As a mom, this book terrified me. As a reader, it enthralled me. I read so much that I don't recommend that many books to my husband. This is one I insisted he read.
Mar 23, 2010 Missy rated it really liked it
From Amazon: Lisa sees the life of her gorgeous best friend Celeste as just about perfect: she has a gigantic house, two older sisters to coach her through the hazards of high school, and loving, lively parents. As Lisa's own home has long been a place devoid of joyful noise—her mother has shut herself off in her bedroom for years—Lisa joins the Diamond household, slipping into their routine of sit-down suppers and soaking in the delicious normalcy of Diamond family life. But what begins as the ...more
Dec 15, 2013 Amanda rated it liked it
The thirst for knowledge and maturity, combined with girly teenage hormones, places best friends Lisa and Celeste on a quick path to destruction. Lisa, having gone through a tough upbringing, desires the wealth, strength, and adventure she sees in her friend Celeste. Little does she know that those very qualities are what will cause them both to spin out of control. Together, this pair awaken their dull high-school lives in Missouri by loitering at art museums, hooking up with mysterious older ...more
Jul 17, 2009 Lindsay rated it liked it
I didn't think this one was quite what it advertised itself to be. I don't think the writing was bad, but the whole thing seemed like kind of a sloppy first draft to me. There wasn't enough tension and building leading up to the climax, although you sort of know all along where the book is headed; it was more like "This is what happened the first year," and "This is what happened the second year," and so on and so on till college, when it was as though the author realized she was 300 pages deep ...more
Laura Hogensen
Jan 01, 2015 Laura Hogensen rated it it was ok
Shelves: chick-lit
I had higher expectations than this book deserved. The depiction of the two girls' friendship is interesting, but I didn't really see the trajectory between experimentation and curiosity to out and out drug addiction and abuse (of drugs, sex, etc). This book tried to make an avalanche out of a light snowfall (sorry for the snow imagery, the girls do a lot of coke towards the end) and it didn't really come together despite a good beginning.
Apr 16, 2009 Shyla rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: girls who grew up in the 80's and can handle a little "dirty"
Shelves: ya
Just finished this book a few day ago and it is still weighing on my mind.
Lisa starts her narration at the age of 12 when she first meets her best friend and partner in crime (literally!). Both girls are very gifted, smart and attractive although Lisa only see's these qualities in Celeste and has rather low self esteem herself. The main part of the book is all about their lives from the age of 12 through high school and thier very special freindship. However this book is not the warm fuzzy kind
Jul 11, 2009 Rosa rated it it was amazing
Pretty Little Dirty is the debut novel by Amanda Boyden. The book, which seems loosely based on Boyden's life, was wonderfully written. It tells the story of two best friends, Lisa and Celeste, and follows them from the time they meet in sixth grade, through their mid-20s. Not only does the book follow their friendship, it also portrays the idea of two young women trying to find themselves, all the while getting lost. The book starts in Missouri and follows the girls into college in Wisconsin an ...more
My friend Ginny at McGill always says that when she reads a novel or sees a film about train-wrecky, doom-haunted girls she always asks herself a question: would DoctorM date these girls? In this case--- Celeste and Lisa, the heroines of Amanda Boyden's "Pretty Little Dirty", the answer is clearly Yes. Both of them. Instantly.

"Pretty Little Dirty" is a dark, funny, sexy, scary coming-of-age noir novel that follows the two heroines from a posh Kansas suburb to early '80s punk and hardcore clubs i
Tried really hard and then just lost interest completely. I'm not really sure what this book is about. If this were a book I had to analyze back in elementary school and had to label the inciting incidents, problem, solution, climax and conclusion, I wouldn't know where the problem and solution were. It's a book of things that happen but not really interesting things. And there's graphic sex but not really interesting or exciting graphic sex. And there are these one page chapters in between the ...more
Melissa Remark
Mar 20, 2014 Melissa Remark rated it it was amazing
I had to keep reading, had to see where Lisa and Celeste were heading. The story was seriously relatable at times, which made it both wistful and tragic and everything all at once. Something sad underneath all the manic fun. Loved it.
Feb 18, 2013 Taddie rated it liked it
Shelves: home-library
My second book I read by Amanda Boyden, but her first - I like this one much better. I like the story about two best friends from teenage years. There are artful breaks between the chapters with seemingly single standing descriptions of band groupies, I am not a big fan of those kind of artistics moves, it seems too anxious. But it gives the hint what its going to happen with the two girls - not a good future. It is well written, but with very coarse language - another stylistic device I dont li ...more
Feb 17, 2013 Summer rated it really liked it
I thought that it was a great book. It was extremely well written as well as had a lot of meaning behind it. Many people were saying that the author only showed the side of drugs and sex that do not have a bad side but I believe that it is up to the reader to determine what they think of it. Personally I read the book and was fascinated by it but I understood that I would never do the things that they did in this book. I believe that I will read the book again in a couple years. It was extremely ...more
May 06, 2008 Michelle rated it really liked it
fast and gritty. sad. the most interesting part of the book is the depiction of female friendship. the stuff about sex and drugs was much less interesting...and I think the author sort of knows that. I wish there had been more of a push (maybe at the end) to explore that. There is a sense throughout that the narrator has reflected on the events and thought about them, and I just wanted to know more about those reflections -- how she made sense of these experiences later in life.
Sep 22, 2011 Jayna rated it liked it
The first half of this novel is outstanding. Celeste and Lisa have a friendship that outshines even the best aspects of this book. It transfers the reader back in time forty years and shoots us straight into the plot.
I loved the voice and emotion.
The second half, though remaining in its clear voice and character, almost turns into literotica. Though I realize the teenage years are full of pornographic things, the sudden turn toward literotica ruined the book for me.
Oct 25, 2011 Michele rated it really liked it
Sometimes you start a book with the feeling you might not like it or that somehow it's just another book of rich teens and their angst. But then the writer creates a story that pulls you in and makes you care against your wishes, against your better judgement. This book has done this to me. A story of two friends navigating their own sense of rebellion in the late 70's/early 80's, a story of best friends and a meditation of beauty and its impact on their world.
Amber Puckett
Sep 09, 2009 Amber Puckett rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any girl who is trying to be looked at more.
Recommended to Amber by: my friend Stephanie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Amanda Boyden grew up, the eldest of three daughters, in Chicago and St. Louis. Currently she teaches in the English department of the University of New Orleans. Previous positions include elderly companion, artist’s model, gutter cleaner, dishwasher, science lab assistant, cancan dancer, tutor, stuntwoman, and bit part actress. Until recently, Amanda worked as a contortionist and professional tra ...more
More about Amanda Boyden...

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“Remember, this is important: Never trust that you will be saved by anyone.” 65 likes
“Heroin makes you sick the first try. Cigarette smoking too if you're lucky. But if you're not lucky, and you develop a taste, if you're one who senses that cocaine gets better with time, or you're one who jumps out of a plane and becomes an adrenaline junky, or you're one who loves the feel of grease melting over your tongue in the form of pecan pie or thick clam chowder or a fat porterhouse or just plain ol' Doritos by the bagful, and you want to repeat the same comfort and recognizable surprise of that first go, that first indulgence, and yet with each succeeding bite the small hope of true satisfaction slides farther away, then you understand Celeste, at least a little.” 8 likes
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