Review: Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell

Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: July 2nd 2015
Publisher: Orion
Point of View: 1st Person, Feminine & Alternative
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Contemporary, Psychological, Mystery


An enthralling portrait of two haunted young women, this remarkable debut novel explores the very nature of survival.

Everyone thought we were dead.

We were missing for nearly two months; we were twelve. What else could they think?

They were glad to have us back, of course. But nothing was the same. It was as if we had returned from the dead, as if we were tainted somehow. We were not the same.

And it was true, though not in the way they thought.

Lois and Carly-May are just twelve years old when they’re abducted and imprisoned for two months. That summer, under the watchful gaze of their kidnapper, they form a bond which will never be broken… Decades later, both Lois and Carly-May have built new lives and identities for themselves.

Lois and Carly-May are drawn together again to face the truth of their beautiful, terrible story.


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 that department?

Moi. Me. It is only natural that I expected the two main heroines – Lois and Carly – whom share a deep and half-revealed past, to come together and try to find answers as a team. Or whatever they wanted to do. I really didn’t care; I just wanted them to be together again. And they were, sure they were. In the last 40 pages and less.

What the hell. There were four parts to this story and, in each one of them, I hoped Lois and Carly would find their way to one another. My conclusion is that, while I understand why they both lost touch, the author should have found a way to make them meet up again earlier in the story. It doesn’t mean that it was boring, or anything, even if the pacing was undeniably extra slow, but it does mean that the author didn’t care to show us the women’s interactions after they were brought together again. That, I did not like. And they barely talked about their kidnapper! What about our trepidation to know the truth, the whys, the hows? I still don’t know why he picked them. Was there even a reason? And it’s not as if they were actually thinking about what happened day and night when we were in their heads.

In spite of the negatives, I overall enjoyed it. There was too much stuff in this to be thoroughly developed in 300 pages – after all, we did have three extremely complex characters – but I think the author nicely and clearly enough exploited her choice of subjects; it was not only a story of abduction.

It was much more than that.

P.S. No romance!

9 thoughts on “Review: Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell

  1. It’s difficult to get through a book without romance nowadays, but I’m intrigued by the concept of this book. I suppose it would only make sense that these two characters find their way to each other, considering the horror that they went through together. Shame that they didn’t.


  2. It is strange how we all depend or at least expect a romance in all our books now isn’t it? Not that that is a bad thing mind you, I love a good romance but it can be bad when a book doesn’t have one or there is very little of one and we were counting on it. 😉
    Great review. This does sound like a bad read although, I’m not sure that super slow pacing would be for me.


  3. It sounds interesting but yeah maybe too many things. And I’m surprised that you didn’t have any romance but it’s nice sometimes too. Thanks for the discovery.


  4. I was feeling a bit meh about reading this one, but you mention those magical words ‘no romance’ and I’m there lol great review Lola, I’m glad you were able to enjoy it overall. I hope I will too!


  5. Woah this book sounds creepy, and I get what you mean about the frustration of getting the ending you wanted in only the last few pages – I feel like that a lot with Rainbow Rowell’s books, I love them to pieces but the moment in each story that I spend ages waiting for always ends up lasting for about 1 chapter. Oh the struggles…


  6. I understand your reluctance about the “just” 40 pages, but I can’t help noticing that you were wrapped up in the story and cared a lot about the characters, 😉 Great review, Lola !


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