Before getting into the guts and at the heart of Lisa Bustein’s YA book Pretty Amy, I first want to take a moment and thank her publisher Entangled Publishing for allowing me to have an ARC (advanced reader copy), and the opportunity to read and write a review on it before the book hits shelves next month, on May 15, 2012.
With that said, let’s get right to it shall we?
Amy is like any other young girl getting ready for her senior prom. She’s excited, and anticipating the unknown of what the night has in store for her and her two friends, Cassie and Lila. Though things go a little different then how she had played them out in her head, when she realizes that all of their dates are no where to be found, and further concluding they were stood up. Things don’t stop there. What is suppose to be a harmless fun-filled night to be filed away in the memory books, becomes more of a nightmare as the girls are arrested, and thus left having to deal with the consequences of their actions.
This book is Amy’s journey into the unknown world of growing up. A quest into self discovery- a coming of age story where we the readers experience her life and entire range of thoughts and emotions which run anywhere from anger and frustration to fear and hope.
First off, can I say the book was pleasantly pleasing to the senses in the fact that there were no glittering in the sun vampires to be found, or heart broken howling were-wolves professing their pain to the sky’s full moon. Hey, I am just like any other girl (well I’m a grown up, mother of 2…who am I kidding) who is a fan of great Young Adult literature containing both vamps and wolves, but let’s just say, it was a refreshing change to hitch a ride to reality-ville and walk alongside on a journey with our main character, Amy…..
One of the books greatest strengths is the narrative voice emitting a strongly believable tone.
Now to the heart of what I wrestled with while reading this book. It felt like many other coming of age stories that I’ve read/heard/seen, where I wondered: what is specifically unique about this one? Though I understand that this book was probably striving less for a unique quality and more of a commonality- a way for the reader to connect to and identify with our main character. But through this quality of ‘commonality,’ I look for that which is unique, as I believe they can exist simultaneously.
But this in fact is where I run into my second problem, as I (personally) had a hard time connecting with Amy. Not because she’s not a well written character, but because I did not go through much of what her character had gone through as an adolescent. To put it more clearly, I was what many may have classified as a ‘boring’ teen. I was part of the ‘we stay home friday nights at eachothers houses, play games, watch movies, sing kareokee, stuffing our faces while making prank calls, playing truth or dare and no need of curfew ’cause we really don’t go anywhere‘ crowd. Amy’s journey was very much different then my own. Unlike Amy, I had a solid relationship with my parents and I did not experience many of the abrasive qualities Amy and her mother had.
This book, though, wasn’t a complete wash. In the bigger picture and scheme of things, (or rather in the over arching message) I was able to relate with Amy. It’s hard to be a teenager. You’re feeling insecure and most of all, you desire to fit in…to belong. That, I think, is a universal thought and feeling had by all at one point or another, and it is touched on nicely in Pretty Amy.
There are those that may have a closer connection to Amy’s character then myself, and for that reason alone, I’d recommend this book. For me personally, however, I will give it a “C” in terms of grading (see grading system on side panel) for reasons mentioned above.