Okay, what if one day, you forgot the past three years of your life? What if, suddenly, you found yourself with the body of a seventeen year old? What happened? Where have you been? And why do your parents keep saying that you have been missing for the past three years? That is the premise of Pretty Girl Thirteen, a heart wrenching YA novel by Liz Coley. As anyone who has read my novella, Best Forgotten knows, partial or selective amnesia is a topic that I find quite interesting. Consequently, I was quite interested to see how this one pans out.
It could have been better, it could have been worse.
There is some really gut wrenching stuff in here that was quite hard for me to read. As I found out more and more of what happened to Angie and how her amnesia took place, as well as some of the events in her life that preceded it, I felt quite sad. Multiple personality disorder is a subject that isn't often discussed YA fiction and some of the experimental treatments (i.e. probably not performed in real life,) that Angie takes to 'erase' three of her six personalities quite difficult to read about. There seemed to be other medical inaccuracies in the book as well--how could the doctors who performed a very thorough examination of her not have noticed that she had given birth to a child? But all of that said, the novel remains interesting and the characters likeable. I appreciated the way that Angie made choices that were best for her and not those that would have made her popular among her peers. The point the author of was trying to make is how a teenage girl could find a way to survive in the most horrific of circumstances and the aftermath of her survival and that makes for interesting, though not perfect, reading.