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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Review: Pretty Amy

Author: Lisa Burstein
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Pages: 304
Series: Pretty Amy #1
Format: eBook
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Summary:  Amy is fine living in the shadows of beautiful Lila and uber-cool Cassie, because at least she’s somewhat beautiful and uber-cool by association. But when the girls get stood up for prom and take matters into their own hands—earning them a night in jail outfitted in satin, stilettos, and Spanx — Amy discovers even a prom spent in handcuffs might be better than the humiliating “rehabilitation techniques” now filling up her summer. Even worse, with Lila and Cassie parentally banned, Amy feels like she has nothing — like she is nothing.

Navigating unlikely alliances with her new coworker, two very different boys, and possibly even her parents, Amy struggles to decide if it’s worth being a best friend when it makes you a public enemy. Bringing readers along on an often hilarious and heartwarming journey, Amy finds that maybe getting a life only happens once you think your life is over.
My Favorite Lines:
"You do a poll and I would say that most people would choose to be somewhere else, doing something else, and if they really had the option, being someone else."

"There's nothing sadder than faded red, because it always seems like it's trying so hard to be red again."

""It really isn't, " I said, feeling my throat catch, close up.  Feeling the rest of the words I didn't want to say fall back down it, the letters scrambling in my stomach like Scrabble tiles."

"I'd wanted the words to be perfect.  It seemed like they should be profound or something for as long as everyone had been waiting to hear them, but all I could say was yes.  I guess sometimes saying what you mean is enough."  

Why I Loved It:  There is no fluff in this book.  And in all honesty, the story is not about a romance.  Which was strangely refreshing.  The closer Valentine's Day gets the less thrilled I get about romance.  *It's because books have ruined me.  I may have to make that the topic of my V-Day post*  The book was dark and depressing and frustrating and emotional with a humor that I wish I had the ability to create on paper.

Amy doesn't do prom the way most of us do it.  Her two friends and herself got stood up on the night of prom, and then they end up getting arrested.  That arrest seriously turned her life upside down, mostly because her mom saw it as a cry for help.  Amy was sent hurtling along to find a path that was hers and no one else's.

I think in a way, this book is so powerful because we all have inner Amy's.  Granted, most of our inner Amy's don't lead us to jail for drug possession.  But many of us suffocate under the stifling label that is average.  Middle children probably suffer even more.  Amy hates just being average and awkward, being invisible among the masses.  She wants something to make her special.  Being a bad girl with Lila and Cassie represented being unique to Amy.  There are few of us that have not done something stupid just because we longed to be unique.  Or to stand out to someone.

The book delves into how Amy adjusts to this new life including a crappy job, a therapist, and a lack of connection to her friends.  She is surrounded by people that want more for her life.  The problem is so many times, people don't feel they deserve more.  Amy is like any teenager that hits a bump and decides that is the end.  Life.  Over.  And this book depicts that life reality with a clarity full of soul and *sometimes a tad dark* humor that I quite enjoyed.

The mother in this book.  Yeah she was one of my favorites, even if she drove me nuts.  There are some mothers than can be like that, making your problems and screw-ups all about them.  Beware, she may drive you nuts, but that is part of the joy of reading.  Amy's decisions are frustrating and stupid and bizarrely like what I probably would have done in high school *I was a bit naive* but it was refreshing for the protagonists to act real.

Lisa Burstein's writing is uncompromisingly real with a touch of grit that all great real-life books should have.  It's refreshingly honest with the right amount of humor.  Seriously, this woman is crazy good at writing humor into her story.  I waited so long to read this book, but it was exactly what I needed this past week.

Who Should Read It:  If you are the light-hearted romance type of reader, you might want to just test the waters first.  I think anyone that loves Ellen Hopkins or Patricia McCormick would probably appreciate it.  Granted, it's not that dark or gritty.  But people who love those books have the right appreciation for real.

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