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Pretty as a Picture

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  2,057 ratings  ·  387 reviews
Marissa Dahl, a shy but successful film editor, travels to a small island off the coast of Delaware to work with the legendary--and legendarily demanding--director Tony Rees on a feature film with a familiar logline.

Some girl dies.

It's not much to go on, but the specifics don't concern Marissa. Whatever the script is, her job is the same. She'll spend her days in the ed
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 25th 2020 by Viking
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Gigi (imaginingbetweenthepages) No. I found it refreshing that she wasn't the usual neurotypical character. It's clear she's on the spectrum but she's still an incredibly plucky and …moreNo. I found it refreshing that she wasn't the usual neurotypical character. It's clear she's on the spectrum but she's still an incredibly plucky and funny person her awkwardness is part of her charm. (less)
Karen “Pretty as a Picture” is one of my top favorites and I enjoyed. It was Julia Whelan who kept me listening to “The Collector” by Nora Roberts. I have 1…more“Pretty as a Picture” is one of my top favorites and I enjoyed. It was Julia Whelan who kept me listening to “The Collector” by Nora Roberts. I have 14 Whelan-narrated books.(less)

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Average rating 3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,057 ratings  ·  387 reviews

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Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Give me a movie and I'll find the meaning; I'll find the truth; I'll find the story. Sometimes I'll find all three.

Meet Marissa Dahl, an endearing film editor, who might be perceiving the world slightly differently from you - she is clearly on the spectrum and has to work very hard to survive in this world of human interactions, body language, smiles, jokes, irony, meaningful looks and silences. Marissa is also brilliant at what she does. She lives, feels and breathes movies. She thinks in m
Jun 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
…I never knew: Dead girls aren’t actually beautiful.

3.5 but it’s a hard .5

there are a lot of thumbs-down reactions to this book, and i definitely understand the reasons why, and i suspect that if had i read this during any. other. time. i would myself have been less entertained by it, but honestly, these days a book gets points for the basic feat of ‘holding my attention,’ with the vig of extra credit accruing the longer it keeps me distracted from the multitude of ways the world is falling apar
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
This will be short because I don’t like to post unfavorable reviews. This book was just too slow-pacing and predictable for me. It’s definitely a good read for mystery newbies, but when it comes to certified mystery junkies, like myself, it just misses the mark.
Anna Luce
3.5 stars (rounded up to 4 stars because I listened to the audiobook narrated by Julia Whelan)

Action, cut, action, cut, action, cut, action, cut. These aren’t commands, not for me. They’re more like everyday punctuation. A capital letter. A period. An indication that I should pay attention to what’s going on in the middle.”

Pretty as a Picture tells a slow-burn type of suspenseful story, one that I would definitely recommend to movie aficionados as this novel shines a light on the realities of t
Marissa Dahl is a successful film editor and to say she’s socially awkward is a serious understatement. Her brain is just wired differently but thanks to her lasting friendship with Amy, her college and current roommate who is a an award-winning director, Marissa hasn’t had to worry about selling herself for new projects...until now. A fractured relationship with Amy’s current boyfriend has Marissa out on her own and accepting a new strange assignment with a director she fears might not be over ...more
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Marissa is a skilled film editor who gets sucked into a real life mystery on her latest job. The job is working with a demanding director on a set in an isolated location. The film is based on the unsolved murder of a girl that happened 20 years prior. When Marissa arrives to work, she soon learns that something is wrong on set, and everyone is on edge.

The unsolved murder had a big impact on the locals. Everyone believes they know who did it, and the director sets out to solve the case in his fi
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
3.5 stars

Marissa Dahl is a socially awkward but successful film editor in need of work now that she and her film partner are taking a break from each other.  
When her agent tells her she's needed immediately for an interview, she's quick to respond and stunned to find a whole team of people waiting for her.  There's a huge project with big names that she can sign on for ...without seeing a script or knowing where she'll be traveling ahead of time.

And so Marissa finds herself the new film editor
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio, overdrive
Chick lit/mystery with an extremely annoying protagonist, plus 2 teenaged co-detectives who are equally annoying.
I have had Dear Daughter sitting on my shelf forever but let me tell you - that is about to change! Pretty as a Picture by Elizabeth Little was such a fun whodunnit mystery, and I absolutely loved the character that is Marissa. Reading from the viewpoint of a film editor was fascinating for me, and I get the feeling I learned a few things I didn't know before about that job. Marissa was very quirky, and she might be shy, but she was smart which I loved since there's nothing better than a strong ...more
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved the author's first book, Dear Daughter, so I was super excited to see that she had a new one coming out. It was definitely worth the wait. The author manages to keep the things I loved about Dear Daughter -- the voice, the observations, the elements of celebrity -- while creating a completely different character in Marissa Dahl. You get the sense that the author knows this world and is giving us an inside glimpse of a movie set and a really interesting mystery with some great twists. ...more
Frank Phillips
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
I'm disappointed. I DNF'd this one at 81% audiobook. It just couldn't keep my interest, maybe it was the wrong time for me to read this, i'm not sure. I do know that if i'm that far into a book and i don't care enough to finish the last 19 % then it's probably not the book for me. I really wanted to like this one too! Oh well, moving on to the next great read! ...more
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was obsessed with Elizabeth Little's debut, DEAR DAUGHTER, and so I have been eagerly awaiting her next book. I'm pleased to report that it was everything I wanted it to be: suspenseful, cinematic, and starring a snarky, sarcastic narrator. I was hooked from the beginning, and couldn't put it down until I'd finished reading the last twist.
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had no idea what this was when I started but instantly loved the photography talk and then loved the humor! I didn’t know this was a murder mystery, it was just so darn entertaining I couldn’t wait to get back to it, refreshingly different read for me, not often you lol in mysteries, seeking out her other books pronto. For the record I don’t like this genre, hate violence but this just caught me off guard and enjoyed the ride.
Halley Sutton
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this book down. Seriously. I was in Hawaii and I basically missed the first day and a half because I was so wrapped up in Marissa. Little's writing is that zippy, that good--she grabs you from the first paragraph and Marissa is such a delight to spend time with--even as she's investigating first a deeply f*cked up movie set and later, murder. There's an insider-knowledge feel to everything to do with the movie business but you don't have to be In The Industry to get a kick out of ...more
Donna Hines
I'm not a fan of giving bad reviews but this one just did nothing for more.
I couldn't get into the premise whatsoever nor the characters much less the setting.
There was nothing that really captured interests and it just seemed to continue on without reader's engagement.
Film editor goes off to work with a director and guess what?
A girl dies with no clues in this one..
So, everyone goes off on a tangent seeking answers to the real life murder with three teens that are determined to find the truth.
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Marissa is a talented motion picture editor and an impressive student of film. She’s shy and socially awkward. Her friendship with Amy, her best friend/work associate/movie star, has become strained. She needs a change and a new job. She’s offered an interesting opportunity to work on a secretive film being directed by a legendary director who has a reputation for being tough and demanding. Filming has already begun on a true crime story about an unsolved murder of a young woman decades ago on a ...more
Jul 21, 2020 rated it liked it
We need a sub genre called Thriller Lite for things like this.

It’s different than a cozy mystery, with pacing and atmosphere akin to a traditional thriller, but mimics a cozy’s sanitized violence and lack of anything truly scary or icky.

That in itself isn’t a negative (and might even be a positive for some readers). And though the story has some definite positives (buddy comedy vibe, and wow, Little is LEGIT funny at times), the book has some other flaws that are more significant than its ultr
Jan 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-read, mystery, auth-f
I totally enjoyed this.
Marissa Dahl, a neurodivergent movie editor with serious social awkwardness issues is contracted partway into a production. When she arrives at the film set (which is on an island off the coast of Delaware), she discovers that the production has been plagued by numerous small but escalating accidents and disgruntled and departed staff. It also happens to be a true crime production about the murder of a local young woman in 1994. There are a number of people working and li
2.5 stars
Bill Kupersmith
Mar 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Those of us who loved Dear Daughter have waited years for another book from Elizabeth Little. Once again we have a pert and irreverent narrator overflowing with self-depreciation and totally lacking self-confidence, an off-the-charts introvert who is never so happy than when alone in an editing bay with the rough takes from a movie in the works. Marissa Dahl (“as in Roald”) usually works with her grad school roommate Amy, an award-winning director of documentaries. Unexpectedly she finds herself ...more
Nov 07, 2020 rated it liked it
This is the book about terrible things happening on a movie set that made me wish again that Plain Bad Heroines had been better, and with that, I've finally read or at least tried to read all of the books that have been sitting around waiting on me since work closed on March 14th. ...more
Nov 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Marissa is a quirky, awkward film editor who is chosen to work on a movie with the famous director, Tony Rees. It's based on a true crime that was never solved and part way through filming, the lead actress is also found dead. Because the set is on a remote island, things get dicey as Tony has assigned security detail for Marissa and the others. Scattered throughout are segments of a podcast that airs after the fact. It's an interesting story with a lot of film jargon thrown in but you don't rea ...more
Christine Bolton
Thank you to Viking Publishers for my ARC of this book. I loved Dear Daughter so I was very excited to read Pretty As A Picture.

I loved the unique structure of this book with the integration of the podcast. It is perfect for anyone who loves true crime podcasts. The protagonist was quirky and unique. She seemed to be on the spectrum but that was never really explored, which was an interesting choice by the author.

This book had a lot of the components that I really enjoy - but unfortunately it di
Matthew FitzSimmons
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: Liz is a friend of mine, but I really loved this book and she'd have my head if I sang false praises of her work. I'm just so, so happy to have new words from her. Finished this one just now. Lot's of people sound like lot's of people, but no one sounds like Liz Little. So bitingly funny, on the one hand, but also so painfully true and close to the bone. A Greek comedy in the old sense. Boy, did I love this book. ...more
Nov 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
2.5 - one star for quality and three stars for entertaining me
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
This isn't the first novel I've read with an extremely annoying protagonist, but it might the first one in which said protagonist has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. She's just a total bore. She's supposedly an excellent film editor, but even though the whole novel is set at a film shoot, complete with editing booth, she doesn't spend a single page or paragraph or sentence doing any actual work. Instead she goes around talking too much. Seriously. That's the whole book. it's supposedly a murd ...more
Jaimie Rogers
Jan 14, 2020 rated it liked it
I'm not entirely sure why the lead character always comes off so unlikeable with this author.. is that just me? This book was just ok for me. I do want to give a shout out for the unique plot though.. I feel like right now every book is kinda the same. A movie editor & the whole movie biz is something a bit different so for that this book will stick out, not so much for the writing or anything else. 🙊
The ending did nothing for me but I loved Isaiah. Gavin was such a typical Hollywood douche it w
Thank you to the publisher for the gorgeous package and finished book! I was so excited to jump into this one because the book was so pretty (as a picture)...see what I did there - ha!

Unfortunately, this one just didn't work for me, as much as I wanted it to. I couldn't get into the whole Hollywood/movie scene. I figured out after reading "Once In a Blue Moon" and now this, that movie script/acting/movie scene books just don't work well for me. I find it difficult to be reading a book but then w
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a pretty fun thriller—it kept me engaged, and I zoomed through the story. The mystery itself doesn't really appear til the last third of the book, but I really felt this sense of foreboding throughout, which helped propel me through.

This is definitely a bit more of a character-driven thriller, especially as it's told from first person perspective. And I enjoyed this. The main character, Marissa, is observant, quirky, clever, an overthinker, and full of anxiety. I admit that sh
Faith Hurst-Bilinski
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Marissa is socially awkward and has a disorder you may want to look up. It wouldn't hurt to understand that not everyone wants to be in large, loud groups or the center of attention. No, Marissa wants to take pictures and put them all together to tell the story she sees. She is a film editor. She doesn't read people well, but each still from a movie speaks to her and tells her exactly how it needs to go together in order to tell the story in the best way. She can express this her own in ...more
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Elizabeth Little is the Los Angeles Times–bestselling author of Dear Daughter, Pretty as a Picture, and two works of nonfiction, Biting the Wax Tadpole: Confessions of a Language Fanatic and Trip of the Tongue: Cross-Country Travels in Search of America's Languages. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other public ...more

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