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Pretty Is    by Maggie Mitchell order for
Pretty Is
by Maggie Mitchell
Order:  USA  Can
Henry Holt, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Pretty Is, a debut novel, by Maggie Mitchell is a winner. Mitchell's unique plot carries the story along with the reader wondering what is coming next.

We meet Lois and Carly Mae after they have been abducted by a man they named Zed. Both, precocious, pretty, and twelve years old, are taken to a cabin in the woods to live a carefree life of no school or disapproving parents. They grow to like their change in life style and realize that Zed is not going to hurt them.

After six weeks, they are returned to their families with hidden trauma. They are left with definite psychological scars and battle them every day. Lois becomes an English professor, writes a book under a different name and is stalked by a student who threatens to disclose her twelve year-old past. Carly Mae uses the name Chloe and becomes an actress, appearing in any role she can. Again, she, like Lois, chooses not to divulge the secret of that summer.

These two women have not seen each other since their kidnapping. They are not sure if they want to pick up where they left off. We see into each of their souls and wonder how their real-life counterparts can live with the injustice done to them.

Zed is a fleeting part of the tale. And we never are allowed insight into his motives for what he does. He just lingers in Carly Mae and Lois's memories, causing disruptions in their lives. Life can be hard enough without being burdened by an episode each of them would rather forget.

Pretty Is proves to have a very provocative plot. One that makes the reader wonder how they might react under the same circumstances. Cheers to a new name to watch for on the book shelves.

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