PRETTY IS by Maggie Mitchell

PRETTY IS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In Mitchell’s debut, two lonely 12-year-old girls develop strong feelings for the man who abducted them.

Their captor, whom they call Zeb, keeps the girls hidden in a lodge in the Adirondacks for two months but doesn't physically harm them. He's eventually killed by the police and the girls are returned home. Years later, when they're both nearly 30, Lois and Carly May seem to have recovered from their abductions and lead fulfilling adult lives. Carly May's changed her name to Chloe Savage and has a moderately successful career as an actress, while Lois, a literature professor in upstate New York, also has an alternate identity. Using the pseudonym Lucy Ledger, she's written a thriller about two kidnapped girls. The book is successful enough to be turned into a movie, and the role of the detective who develops an unhealthy obsession with the intriguing kidnapper goes to none other than Chloe Savage. Chloe, of course, recognizes the plot as her story and begins to revisit her memories of Zeb and their days in the lodge, where the two girls bonded and competed subtly for Zeb's affections. While the story sounds convoluted, it's an interesting and unexpected exploration of the aftermath of an abduction that left invisible scars. At one point, Lois refers to a literary argument that “fiction should adhere to a standard of probability, rather than possibility." Everything about this novel defies probability. By the time Lois and Chloe meet again to talk about their past, many unbelievable things have happened, but this is a novel about stories, truth, and reinvention more than it is a logical thriller about a kidnapping. The voices of the two women are distinctive, each sharp and witty in her own way.

A satisfying, unusual novel.

Pub Date: July 7th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-62779-148-9
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
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