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Pretty Is

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3.06  ·  Rating details ·  3,709 ratings  ·  594 reviews
A fiercely imagined fiction debut in which two young women face what happened the summer they were twelve, when a handsome stranger abducted them

Everyone thought we were dead. We were missing for nearly two months; we were twelve. What else could they think? -Lois

It's always been hard to talk about what happened without sounding all melodramatic. . . . Actually, I
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Hardcover, 320 pages
Published July 7th 2015 by Henry Holt & Company (first published June 7th 2015)
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Average rating 3.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,709 ratings  ·  594 reviews


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karen
Jan 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: free-from-work
For me, getting abducted in broad daylight on the main street of a nowhere little farm town in Nebraska was far from the most fucked-up thing that could have happened that day.

this book is kind of like what would happen if megan abbott wrote a lifetime movie. unfortunately, it also reads like the lifetime people stepped in at the end with some editorial guidance and took what had started off as a fascinating twist on the kidnap-novel and tamed it down into something more conventional.

it's about
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Lola
Pretty is as pretty does.

I was really expecting to read, at the end or beginning of this book, ‘‘Based on a true story.’’ It was that realistically portrayed and graphic.

Part mystery, but mainly psychological, this novel swept me off my feet with its strikingly original concept and scene detailing. The further I read, the more I started wanting things. But the problem with anticipation building is that everything can crumble if you do not end up satisfied. And who did not end up satisfied in
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Brigid Keely
"Pretty Is," by Maggie Mitchell, is a hot mess of a book that reads like it was written by someone with no actual experience with how actual people actually act. It also hates women just enough, in just enough socially acceptable ways, that I checked to see if this was written by a man using a female pseudonym. Apparently not.

"Pretty Is" follows two women who were abducted when they were twelve and held in a cabin, where they were dressed in simple dresses and played cards and read library books
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Blair
There's a point in Pretty Is when one of the narrators describes a book as 'a sort of chick-lit/thriller hybrid of the more literary variety'. It's thrown out like it's a derogatory remark, but it's an almost spot-on description of this book itself. Then again, there's a good chance that description is actually supposed to be self-referential and tongue-in-cheek: this is a story within a story within a story. The aforementioned book is a novel based on a true story. It's being turned into a ...more
Diane S ☔
Jan 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Two twelve year old girls are kidnapped, found and rescued, this is their story . The novel follows the girls kin the future as well as filling in their back stories. Separated after they were released the girls grew up to follow two very different paths. The story is narrated alternately by each of them. Why did one of the girls go with the kidnapper willingly? Why did he choose these two girls from different parts of the United States? Why did they identify so much with their kidnapper?

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Christine
This is a story with masses of potential; a kidnapping story from debut author, Maggie Mitchell.

Two twelve year old girls are kidnapped, Lois and Carly-May by the myserious Zed. We see them both happy to go away from their families and go with their kidnapper. The story follows Lois and Carly-May as adults, reflecting back on the past. Lois is now a teacher of English and Carly-May has become a not very successful actress. Initially it seems the women have coped brilliantly with what happened to
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Kirsty

Two unrelated girls are kidnapped at age twelve and kept in an isolated cabin for several weeks basking in the attention of their kidnapper. Twenty years later both women are struggling to understand the motivations of their kidnapper, and are battling their own personal demons. One of the woman chanels her experiences into writing a book of the incident, which in turn is made into a film. The other woman lands the lead part in the movie, and they come face to face for the first time in two
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Susan
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very original debut novel and an intriguing thriller. Lois Lonsdale is now twenty nine, but when she was twelve she was abducted – along with Carly May Smith – and kept by a man they knew only as ‘Zed’ in a log cabin. After two months, the girls were found, but neither girls made any attempt to escape from their captor and this novel contains flashbacks of what happened – how both girls willingly entered the car of the man who took them and seemed to enter into being taken away from ...more
Irena BookDustMagic
This is, unfortunately, the worst book I have read this year so far.
Review to come when I come home from my holiday vacation.
Liz Barnsley
Pretty Is – a book I read a while ago but held off on reviewing until nearer publication, is a beautifully atmospheric, haunting and emotional read that will both tug on the heartstrings and absolutely enthrall you.

At it’s heart a story of a friendship and bond developed under the most extreme of circumstances, Pretty Is also ticks the boxes on mystery and intrigue, although this is very much secondary to a character piece that gives a snapshot of two very different, but equally fascinating
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Jules
Apr 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley

This is a well-written book with a great plot.

Pretty Is covers the story of two 12 year old girls who were kidnapped for 6 weeks and how that experience has shaped them as adults. The story shifts to and from the past and present throughout the book.

I thought this story started very strong and grabbed my interest right from the start, especially around the time of the kidnapping and the girl’s family environments. However, I felt the pace slowed down as the story progressed, sometimes becoming
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Nicole
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars...
I found myself very intrigued at the start. The way the story developed lacked impact. Good idea, but the execution was off.
Liz Barnsley
Really REALLY excellent book this one. Superbly written and atmospheric. A full review will follow on the 28th June when I do a spotlight review for the blog. Definitely highly recommended.
Mack
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There is no doubt about it: Pretty Is is a smart novel. If you’re looking for a garden variety thriller with a tidy ending, I’d suggest picking up one of Dean Koontz’s less supernaturally inclined books. (Don’t get me wrong --- I love me some Koontz. But Maggie Mitchell’s novel is another animal entirely.)

No, instead of a thriller, what Mitchell gives us is a pleasingly authentic examination of trauma in a world that does everything in its power to suppress it. Anyone would be fascinated by the
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Tracy Shephard
Apr 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book took up my whole day. It is a fabulous read and one that is really quite different than the normal types of books about abduction. It reminded me of a black and white film noir.

Telling the story of Carly May and Lois by chapter, it conjures up a Stockholm syndrome type relationship with their abductor. The two girls lead very different lives, Carly May having changed her name to Chloe is a actress and Lois a Professor who has written a novel loosely based on their captivity,
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Alison
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in draft, and from the first paragraph I was completely hooked. The story is told in alternating first person narration, with distinctive and compelling voices -- a page-turner about two girls abducted as children and also a thoughtful novel about femininity, safety, girlhood, beauty, and whether or not one is ever free of the past. Highly recommend.
Meg
May 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read so many bland or predictable thrillers. I am a self-proclaimed expert on the genre! I thought I knew what this book would be, in other words, when I had the chance to read an advance review copy. IT WAS AMAZING. Truly, it's such a smart and subtle character study of two girls who were kidnapped as children. Nothing "bad" happened to them, but some scars remain. Mitchell peels them like onions to reveal the confusion and pain both suffer in spite of their safe return. Both of the main ...more
Laura
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A more accurate rating of this book would have to be 1.5 stars..but I guess I was feeling generous.

I found it completely impossible to relate to the two main characters in this novel. Their compassion and sympathy towards the man who abducted and imprisoned them made absolutely no sense to me. I understood the author's decision to have them both grow into entirely screwed up individuals, but even the way that was done came across as unreal to me.

If I'm being honest, I never really got into
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Erin
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
Pretty Is had such a good premise, two 12yr olds abducted by a handsome stranger & as adults one writes a fictional novel about it. It could have been so interesting if the author hadn't spent the whole book talking about the things that really had nothing to do with the abduction. At times I thought now something good is going to happen and then NOPE back to boring non sense. I don't think I will ever give this book a second thought. I don't recommend it.
Lisa
Apr 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Goodreads First Reads for sending me an ARC!

I really liked this book! It reminded me of a mix of The Lovely Bones and Gone Girl in a way. I really enjoyed getting to read the modern version of the grown-up girls alongside the Lois's draft of what happened in the woods. I also enjoyed the views of both Lois and Carly/Chloe. I was reading this book and couldn't help thinking about how popular it will be once it gets released. Pretty suspenseful, I especially liked reading Lois's side of
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Rachel Watkins
Jun 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in one day because once I began, I had to know the story of Lois and Carly May immediately. This is a stupendous debut with layered and nuanced characters that make this kidnapping story fascinating. More of a psychological and mental mystery than GONE GIRL and THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, Maggie Mitchell paints vibrant scenes filled with emotions ranging from anger and adoration to love and loneliness. Highly recommend.
Amy
Jul 23, 2015 rated it liked it
At first I thought this was cleverly written and then I thought it was mediocre. I skimmed a lot just to get to the end which was also mediocre.
Laura
Apr 03, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

Have you ever heard the phrases “pretty is as pretty does” and “too pretty for her own good?” These are a constant theme in Pretty Is.

Pretty Is is a deeply psychological story with a bit of a mystery/thriller aspect to it about two girls who were abducted when they were twelve years old. The girls lost touch not long after being rescued. The book picks up with the girls both nearly thirty years old still deeply affected by what went on when they were twelve. The POV alternates between
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Jackie Law
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty Is, by Maggie Mitchell, is a book about loneliness and longing. It tells the story of two young women who were abducted by a stranger and held for six weeks in a remote woodland cabin when they were twelve years old, an experience which has haunted their lives ever since. It is an exploration of how family and society expect children to behave; of complex relationships, jealousy and a child’s singular need for attention and admiration.

Carly-May is a pageant princess from a remote town in
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Lindsay
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
I'd seen this book doing the rounds on social media and was pleased to be accepted for a review copy from the publishers; many thanks. Unfortunately it just wasn't for me. It's a shame I didn't get on with it because it did have real potential.

The book is a kind of examination of the psychological impact of ‘kidnapping’; a term I use lightly and the impact an experience like this has years after the fact. It would be easier for me to review this book as a list of unanswered questions because
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David Reviews
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

When Carly May and Lois are twelve they are abducted by a stranger from the street of their small American town. They are taken to an isolated log cabin by their kidnapper who they know as Zed. Neither of the two makes any attempt to escape and they are home after a couple of months, seemingly unharmed. This is an intriguing psychological thriller. Why did they not want to escape and what happened in that time away in the woods…

Carly May was a pageant queen very pretty, but smart too. Lois was
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Clare
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
One summer, two twelve year old girls on the cusp of adolescence are kidnapped and held in a cabin for six weeks by a kidnapper who is far from your traditional bogeyman. Lois and Carly May are strangers to each other but quickly form a bond as they try to work out the mysterious kidnapper's motives. Fast forward twenty years and both of them are still trying to process the events of that summer.

Lois and Carly are living separate lives to begin with but seemed destined to meet up again. I like
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Amanda Patterson
'Pretty Is' is one of those books that could have been so much better than it is.
Two 12-year-old girls, Lois and Carly-May are kidnapped by a mysterious man known as 'Zed' who keeps them captive in a woodland cabin for two months. They are released, unharmed, but their lives are forever changed.
Now 30, Lois is a professor of literature, and a novelist. Carly-May has become Chloe Savage, an actress. They are brought together again by the unexpected success of Lois's novel, based on their
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Jenny in Neverland
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller, 2016
When I saw, ‘Pretty Is’ was perfect for fans of ‘The Ice Twins’ (which you can see my review of, here) I just knew I had to read it. ‘Pretty Is’ is set from the point of view of Lois and Chloe; the two girls which, at just twelve years old, were kidnapped and held captive in a cabin in the woods together. But now, twenty years on, both are older, wiser and have moved on from the experience. Or have they? With both of them leading extremely different lives, something brings them together again ...more
Laura
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed at www.snazzybooks.com

Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell is definitely a story about so many things: friendship, fear, consequences, and much more. It is full of intrigue and suspense and kept me fascinated as to what exactly happened all those years ago.

Although this story slowly reveals more about the past and that month and a half, when the two girls were taken away from their families, I really felt that it was not so much about why it happened but more about what happened and how this
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Poppy Loves Book ...: Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell 1 16 Aug 03, 2016 03:50AM  

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Maggie Mitchell has published short fiction in a number of literary magazines, including the New Ohio Review, American Literary Review, and Green Mountains Review. Originally from upstate New York, she now lives in Georgia with her husband and cats. Pretty Is is her first novel.
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“Sean is permanently damaged; something is awry in that boy.” 0 likes
“Most people’s lives aren’t stories. This should have been obvious to me before now, but in my current state of mind it hits me pretty hard.” 0 likes
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