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Review: Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess

in a sentence or so: Meredith's dad was put in jail three years ago for molesting children, her included. today is the day he gets out on parole, 6 years early, for good behavior. he's coming home, and her time has run out.

Meredith has been living with her mother and with the shame, embarrassment and fear of her father, the child molester. once he was a beloved coach and mentor of her hometown, now there is hardly a soul in town that hasn't heard about the victims and his offenses. Meredith has been trying to escape the constant harassment by spending time with Andy, the boy across the condo complex, and his mom. Andy is in a wheelchair, but how and why he is in the wheelchair is much more complex than a simple accident.

the entire book is dripping with anxiety and an overwhelming sense of discomfort. even before Meredith's dad comes home (which turns up the heat on the skeezy/anxiety factor), there is a sense of urgency, fear, and uncertainty. the small comforts Meredith is able to find - such as counting in fours, spending time with Andy and his mom, escaping to her grandma's (the mayor) house - are making her feel less and less at ease when she realizes her dad will offend again. it's simply a matter of who and when.

this story takes place over just a few days. but man, are those days packed with struggle and pain. the themes of love & pain and hurt & hope run through as a uniting factor. the desperation of Meredith is made worse by her mother, who is hopelessly attached to Meredith's dad, no matter what.

much like a Lifetime movie, this book has a powerful story in an okay format. the writing isn't fantastic, but it's emotional and thoughtful. there are some inconsistencies with character and plot, but overall, the message is intense and worth hearing. you will absolutely feel for Meredith and absorb her raw emotions as they pulse through the pages.

fave quote: "And I don't want to hurt anymore. I want to be someone who makes it through" (120)

fix er up: i didn't really understand the ending, but i think the main story was the important part anyhow, not the character wrap up.

title: such a pretty girl
author: laura wiess

genre: edgy, problem novel