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Such a Pretty Girl

Such a Pretty Girl

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Such a Pretty Girl

évaluations:
4/5 (124 évaluations)
Longueur:
178 pages
2 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Jan 2, 2007
ISBN:
9781416531463
Format:
Livre

Description

A darkly compelling novel about a young woman who must defend herself against her abusive father. “In the character of Meredith, Laura Wiess has created a girl to walk alongside Harper Lee’s Scout and J.D. Salinger’s Phoebe. Read this novel, and you will be changed forever” (New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice).

They promised Meredith nine years of safety, but only gave her three.

Her father was supposed to be locked up until Meredith turned eighteen. She thought she had time to grow up, get out, and start a new life. But Meredith is only fifteen, and today her father is coming home from prison.

Today her time has run out.
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Jan 2, 2007
ISBN:
9781416531463
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Laura Wiess is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Such a Pretty Girl, chosen as one of the ALA’s 2008 Best Books for Young Adults and 2008 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers, and Leftovers. Originally from Milltown, New Jersey, she traded bumper-to-bumper traffic, excellent pizza, and summer days down the shore for scenic roads, bears, no pizza delivery, and the irresistible allure of an old stone house surrounded by forests in Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains Region. Email Laura Wiess at laura@laurawiess.com or visit http://www.laurawiess.com for more information.

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Aperçu du livre

Such a Pretty Girl - Laura Wiess

possible.

Chapter One

They promised me nine years of safety but only gave me three.

Today my time has run out.

I sit on the curb at the back of the parking lot near the Dumpster. The waste from the condo complex bakes in this cumbersome green kiln and the stench is shocking, heavy with rancid grease and sickly-sweet decay. The association’s tried to beautify the Dumpster, painting the rusty sides a perky green and relettering the faded RESIDENTS’ USE ONLY sign, but the battered lid thwarts them, as it’s warped from rough use and no longer seals the stewing fumes neatly in the box.

Perfect, I mutter and take a drag off my cigarette. Blow a couple of smoke rings and tempt the crusading, condo cowboys to rush from their air-conditioned dens and snatch the forbidden smudge stick away.

But they won’t. They keep their distance now, afraid my taint will rub off.

These adults who ache to interfere—convinced their quality-of-life ordinances and PC patrolling make them a village-raising-a-child—are the same people who picketed and wrote scathing letters to the editor to prevent my mother from renting a second condo in the front of the complex for my father’s homecoming.

It didn’t work, of course. My mother’s attorney protected my father’s rights and threatened to sue the complex owner if housing was denied. The owner caved, the condo was rented, and the neighbors were left reeling, hobbled by their own laws.

I wish I could have found him a unit closer to ours, but this’ll have to do for now, my mother had said earlier, spraying CK’s Obsession along her neck and thighs. And besides, it’s only temporary until we can live like a family again. Her cheeks were pink, her voice breathy with anticipation. He’s really looking forward to it, Meredith. Being home with us, I mean. It’s what’s kept him going. I hope you can appreciate that.

I watched her and said nothing. Silence was the key to self-preservation.

Now, where did I leave my…oh, there it is. She crossed to the bed, slipped off her robe, and smoothed the lace trim on her white La Perla panties. The matching bra was for show only, as she was almost flat on top. And as far as this whole adjustment period thing goes…personally, I would have let you spend the weekend at your grandmother’s like we’d planned so your father and I could have had a little time alone first, but that’s not what he wanted. Frowning, she examined the delicate, rhinestone heart stitched onto the front of the panties. "Hmm. This better not make a bump under my dress. He wants us both here for him and I think that says a lot about forgiveness and a fresh start. We’ve all sacrificed, Meredith. I hope you understand that, too."

I studied my thumb. Bit off a hangnail. Dead skin, so no pain. Not bad.

"Just stay down, will you? She poked at the glittery heart, not seeming to notice my lack of response. Oh, for…I don’t have time for this. If it sticks up, I’ll just have to cut it off. Impatient, she slid into her dress and presented me with her back so I could zip the new red mini. It was a size two from a Lord & Taylor window display she’d designed at the mall and probably not intended for a thirty-nine-year-old with a stranglehold on her fading youth. Careful. This is silk."

I eased up the zipper and lingered, one knuckle brushing the warmth of her neck.

Time, Meredith. She pulled away and shook her hair, poked her feet into scarlet mules, and smoothed the dress from hipbone to hipbone. No lumps, no bumps. Perfect.

I wandered over to her bureau and recapped the cologne as my mother continued her nervous chatter.

I used this same shade of red in the WELCOME HOME! banner, the flowers in the living room, and the new guest towels, you know. In decorating, you want to tie everything together to create the impression of continuous harmony. I put touches of color in your father’s condo, too. I think he’ll be pleased. Oh, and I took three steaks out to thaw so now is not the time to go into that silly vegetarian kick. She glanced my way and shook her head. "And please, put on something decent before we get back. This is a celebration, not a wake. No overalls and no more gray. I mean it. Try to look cheerful for a change. She skimmed on lipstick and glanced at her watch. Time to run. Tonight’s going to be wonderful!"

Wrong, I’d wanted to say as she swept out in a blur of red silk. Tonight is when the obscene becomes the acceptable.

My father has been gone for three years. Long enough for the town to finally stop shunning us and for his victims to get counseling. Long enough for me to lose one social worker to pregnancy and two more hollow-eyed, twitchy ones to career burnout. Long enough for my mother to have been granted a divorce, had she ever applied for one. But she hasn’t. Nor has she ever stopped visiting him in the Big House.

Today will be her final pilgrimage, and thanks to Megan’s Law, everyone in town knows it.

My father’s release date was given to all the local cops, school administrators, and youth group leaders. They got handouts with his name, photo, physical description, the crimes for which he was convicted, his home address, and license plate. The law says they aren’t allowed to share the info with anyone else, but of course they did—who wouldn’t?—so now we’re marked for life. His picture is even posted on the New Jersey Sex Offender Internet Registry.

My mother ignores it all; the hostile undercurrents, the whispers and disparaging looks, the grim disgust in my grandmother’s face, and the dogged blankness in mine.

Sharon Shale, my mother, does not see what she doesn’t want to see.

She never has.

And for the last three years, she hasn’t wanted to see me. At least not in private, when no one else is watching. She’s always half-turned away, ahead of or behind me, tossing out words without watching to gauge their effect, cluttering my wake with complaints of attitude, dirty dishes, or stray eyebrows plucked into the sink. She acts like my scars are on the outside and I’m too disturbing to look at head-on.

So I leave proof of my existence behind me like a snail trail with the small hope that years of talking at me will someday soften her enough to talk with me, that she’ll finally pull the knife from my chest and say yes, we are better off without him. That what happened wasn’t my fault and from now on she will thrust herself between me and danger, and shout NO.

Hands shaking, I fish a fresh cigarette from the front pocket of my bib overalls and try to light it off the old one. My chin trembles, the butts joust, and the burning head gets knocked off into the gutter at my feet.

I grind it out. Jab the unlit cigarette back into the pack.

Look up to see my mother’s BMW pulling into the driveway.

A man sits shotgun.

My father.

Chapter Two

The driver’s door opens and my mother pops out. She looks around expectantly and spots me hunkered on the curb instead of hurtling toward them, whooping, Welcome home, Daddy! Annoyance crimps her smile. Meredith, she calls, waving me closer. Look who’s here! Her scarlet nails glow orange in the sunset. Come say hello!

I can’t. Breathing hurts and I want to run. His head turns toward me and my gaze jumps away, fixes on the fists filling my pockets. I count the rigid knuckles lumped beneath the faded denim. Four is my safe number. Eight is double strength. I smell terror in my sudden sweat. Oh God, please don’t let this happen.

Meredith, my mother says again, and there’s steel beneath the honey. "I’m talking to you. Come here and say hello to your father, please. Now."

It’s the bitchy now that punctures my paralysis. Now he’s here. Now she’s happy. Now I’m supposed to act like nothing ever happened.

Anger saves me. I plant my palms on the curb and push myself up. Smooth my baggy overalls and black tank. Unhook my hair from behind my ears. The halves swing forward to curtain off all but my nose. My eyes burn and heat envelops my face.

The passenger door opens.

One sneakered foot is planted on the driveway. The other joins it.

The Nikes are blindingly new. Size twelve.

My mother has been shopping for him.

The jeans are also new. If I allow my gaze to travel higher—which I won’t—I’ll see the solid gold baseball charm on a chain that my mother gave him for his eighteenth birthday nestled in his coarse, whorled chest hair.

My front teeth throb as the memory of the charm bangs against them.

Hello, Meredith.

The voice is quiet, kind, hoarse with history…and it destroys me. A sick, writhing knot of old love and despair lays me open worse than the first time and the force of it almost takes me down. I lock my knees, trying not to sway. This was not supposed to happen. I spent years steeling myself, reliving every rotten moment over and over again to make myself immune, hiding from nothing so there would be nothing hidden left to cripple me, and I thought I’d made it, but now, with one simple greeting, I’ve already lost.

No, Daddy, no. Don’t.

Meredith, he says again, soft and almost pleading, a voice I know, a voice that sends the nausea churning in my stomach straight up into my throat.

I swallow hard and lift my chin in reply. It’s all I can manage and more than he deserves.

Well. My mother plants her hands on her hips, peevish. Is that the best welcome you can come up with? Why don’t you come over here and give your father a hug?

Hug him? Touch him? How can she even suggest it?

It’s okay. Don’t push her, Sharon. He slams the passenger door and stretches, glances around the ominously silent court. Blinds twitch and a shade goes down, but he doesn’t seem to notice. Nice place. Peaceful. We have the rest of our lives to get reacquainted. Right, Chirp?

My head jerks up, the curtain of hair parts, and for one piercing moment the predator and the prey lock gazes.

He winks at me before turning to my mother. Don’t worry, she’ll come around. Three years is a long time to be out of a kid’s life.

Not long enough! I want to shout, but I am mute, rooted in place as my stomach cramps and my defenses stumble in dazed disorder. He found me so easily. Resurrected my old nickname and broke right through. Does he know it? I don’t know. So far I’ve only given him silence and surprise, so maybe he isn’t sure. I have to count on that, have to believe I still have a chance to survive this.

Yes, it is, my mother says, shooting me an exasperated look and shouldering her purse. Why don’t we go in out of this heat, Charles? I have some steaks defrosting—

No you don’t. I come alive, reminded of my sabotage, and force myself up the lawn toward them. The grass is cool in the shade so I sit and make a show of removing my sandals. My feet are filthy from walking barefoot. I hitch up my pant leg and scratch my stubbly shin, making certain my father notes my horrible hygiene. I hate being dirty, but I know that he hates it more.

Yes I do, my mother says, frowning. I took three steaks out before I left.

And I threw them away, I say, and nod at the Dumpster. They smelled bad.

What? All of them? She is astonished. Meredith, how could you?

They were rotten, I say with a careless shrug. Probably loaded with E. coli, too. It’s the stuff no one sees that does the most damage.

My father rubs his forehead, dulling the sweaty sheen above his brow.

So you threw them away, my mother says, as if repeating it is the key to undoing it. Sixty dollars’ worth of steaks! How could they be rotten? I just bought them the other day!

Go smell for yourself, I say. They’re right on top.

She won’t. He might, just to reassert his authority. I hope he does. The steaks are there, unwrapped and carefully laid out on top of a split garbage bag soggy with liquefied waste.

"Meredith, I don’t…you know I…my God…" She’s breathing hard, embarrassed and furious, caught between the harmonious, happy homecoming and letting me have it.

Never mind, Shar, my father says, crossing around the front of the car and patting her back. His hand is awkward and although she turns from me and leans into him, he doesn’t lean back. He worships youth. She chases it, but can never be young

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Ce que les gens pensent de Such a Pretty Girl

4.1
124 évaluations / 31 Avis
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Avis des lecteurs

  • (4/5)
    Sad story but great inspiring ending. It was a good read.
  • (5/5)
    Haunting and sad, but an amazing read for something way outside of my comfort zone
  • (1/5)
    this was fairly boring and awful. did not like much
  • (3/5)
    This was a dark, gut-wrenching book focusing on a horrific issue. Fifteen-year-old Meredith was a very sympathetic character, hard as nails on the outside, but on the inside she was broken, hurting and full of fear. I just wanted to hug her and find a place for her where she felt safe. Her parents, I loathed passionately! Her father, obviously, for his sick abuse, and Meredith's mother for being so shallow and refusing to believe her daughter. When she told Meredith that her father had "just made a mistake" I wanted to slap her, hard!! In fact, the only adults I liked were Nigel, the cop on the case, and her maternal grandmother. At least Meredith's welfare was their number one concern. However, there was something missing in this book. At times I was put off by the revolting creepiness of the father, and I felt that the dialogue didn't always ring true. Also, the ending came abruptly and was just too contrived for my liking.
  • (4/5)
    Meredith, a 15-year-old, is petrified when she learns that her father is being released from prison for child abuse, and at the same time, her mother is thrilled.This story had me intrigued right from the start until the very end with its predator and prey scenario. It was told in very realistic terms, yet not with all the nitty-gritty details. For the most part, the characters were believable, as well as most of the plot. My one complaint is that there were a few times when I wasn't sure what time period Meredith was describing - now or back when she was a young child - little confusing. Other than that, it was a solid, good read. I will be seeking out more novels by Laura Wiess.Originally posted on: Thoughts of Joy
  • (4/5)
    Because of the subject matter Such a Pretty Girl was hard to read and I found myself setting it down to take breathers while reading. I liked Mer and Andy's characters and relationship. I HATED the mother as much as I hated the father. I wish there was some sort of poetic justice that the mother faced along with the father. Overall, the book was well written and although the subject matter is hard to read it's real and raw and left me and meant to leave you feeling uncomfortable.
  • (5/5)
    Fifteen year old Meredith is terrified. Her father abused her when she was just 11 years old, along with other young boys, and was supposed to be in jail for 9 yrs. Instead, he managed to get an early release from prison after just 3 yrs. Her mother is thrilled, as she loves him more than her own daughter, and insists Meredith accept him back into their home. All Meredith wants is to be left in peace, and have her father live far away from her. However, her father is closer than ever, and is not about to let Meredith forget that he missed her. Meredith can never forget what he did. Wiess creates a riveting tale of a young girl desperately trying to live a life that has been denied her, and an unrepentant child molester who needs to be stopped - one way or another.
  • (5/5)

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

    very beautiful short novel. written poetically and had an amazing ending.

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • (5/5)
    ??❤️❤️ good book
  • (2/5)
    I thought that this book was okay. It caught my attention well enough for me to just sit down and read it in about 90 mins straight. But I kept on expecting more. And then I was at the end.
  • (4/5)
    Really well written. Really makes you feel like it's happening to you. And really hones the feeling of being molested. Bravo! Very dark, depressing, and disturbing book.
  • (4/5)

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

    Narrated by Angela Rogers. Fifteen-year-old Meredith dreads the return of her father after three years in jail. She thought she was safe from his sexual abuse but he’s out on good behavior. Her mother is thrilled by his return, excited to have the family together again and dismissing his transgressions as simply mistakes. Only Meredith can see he hasn’t changed. Despite the emotional support she gets from her grandmother; her cop neighbor Nigel; and her boyfriend Andy, another of her father’s victims, Meredith knows only she can be the one to stop her father from preying again and get him put away for a long time. The audio narration reflects Meredith’s deep-seated anger, fear and paranoia.

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • (4/5)
    beyond frightening. Gripping story of a victim of her father's abuse. Sad. Well told story, seems like it is straight from the mouth of Meredith, a fifteen year old who was raped when she was twelve by her father.
  • (5/5)
    This book is so heartbreaking. I actually found it years ago in the regular fiction section of my local Borders (may it rest in piece) and I actually have never found it in a YA section, though I classify all of Laura Wiess' books as YA and I know most people do.This book is about Meredith who was abused by her father and he was sent to prison and was supposed to in till she turned 18 and could move out on her own, never to see him again. But instead he gets out early and at 15 Meredith finds herself having to deal with her own worst nightmare.Meredith's mother is totally on her father's side, content with thinking the abuse was an "accident" and goes against the courts and allows Meredith's father to live with them. She is so ignorant about the entire situation and unfortunately that is the case with so many situations like Meredith's.Thankfully she has allies in her condo unit. A ex police officer who answered the call on Meredith's father years ago and a boy in a wheelchair whose apartment she escapes to daily. But even with places to go and people on her side she has to come home sometime and when she does she is met with leering stares and innuendos from a father she was never supposed to see again.This story was so honest, so gut-wrenching, I was captivated. It's relatively short and I read it in one day. I have reread it a few times and it is just as powerful every time. As someone who was a victim of sexual abuse I can tell you, this story could not be told better. There was never a time when I thought it seemed forced, the entire situation was written so incredibly well.The language is a bit strong but the entire situation with what exactly happened to Meredith that put her father in prison is danced around, not ever explained in explicit detail. Still, though, it's heavy subject matter and even though I am pretty laid back about recommended ages for teens I would say this is a book for ages 16 and up.I have lended my copy out to a few friends and all of them loved it and said it was one of the most powerful novels they have ever read. Definitely worth the read.
  • (5/5)
    From the first page of "Such A Pretty Girl", I was hooked. Meredith is a true heroine along with an ecentric set of neighbors. A deeply moving debut that you'll never forget.
  • (5/5)
    Wow....Read this book in one sitting. A very emotional ride read thru the eyes of a victim of incest. Recommend this book to not only kids but to parents as well. Very gripping story.
  • (5/5)
    Another great read from Laura Wiess. The story is about Meredith, whose father has been unexpectedly been released from jail. This is startling, because he was in jail because he molested her, and other kids in their neighborhood. This disrupts the peace that once was. And like her other novel that I'd read, I despised the parent(s) in this book also. Said parent was Meredith's mother, who was a character in denial with the situation that happened beforehand so much, that I wanted to smack some sense into her. But Meredith isn't alone in wanting her father to go back to jail since he certainly deserves it. She has others who support her and want him to go to jail, also. Speaking of Meredith, she is a very strong character who I enjoyed, and I was cheering her on in the story's final pages. Such a Pretty Girl is not an easy read, but is a great novel nevertheless that is very powerful. I couldn't put it down when I was reading it.
  • (5/5)
    Meredith is sitting by a dumpster in her condominium complex waiting for her father to come home from prison. In the pit of her stomach is a boulder of anxiety and fear heavy enough to weigh her down to her spot on the curb because where would she run to even if she was light enough to move. This is home. For three years she's struggled to cope with what has happened, safe in the knowledge that she'd have six more years of freedom to deal with it.All morning long her mother has chirped and fluttered about the house like a preening happy bird out of a children's fairytale because she's excited that the man who abused and molested at least five known children is coming home to her today. Everything will be perfect now. It was just a mistake. They are still family and family forgives each other's mistakes, right? The parole board did so it must be ok. He was suppose to go away for nine years but he's out in three because he's been so well behaved. He's been a model prisoner. He's so sorry and he's mended his ways. It'll be like it never happened. At least until it happens again.______________So I don't need to tell you what this book is about. I think you get it and if you need a moment to process it, take it. It's a heavy subject, one that shouldn't even exist in a story, in a book, in a country, in a world or even in a thought. But it does and through very meticulous weaving of past and present events, Wiess has written a road map to guide you through the awful and to help you see rape and abuse through the victim's eyes without scaring you back into the safety of your own conscious that doesn't like to admit that such a thing is even possible. Taking into consideration the magnitude of this subject, the brevity and careful, thoughtful retelling of the events in Meredith's past make it easy to take the plunge and see the book through. Wiess never intends to scare you away or beat you down with her subject matter, she intends only to help you understand. Given what she could have done, I think she handles the reader's emotions with kid gloves.This is a marvelous read worthy of immediate devouring. I couldn't put it down once I started. Be prepared to travel the full spectrum of emotion. The physical description of Meredith's father is so vivid- when she described his gold necklace against his hairy chest my skin crawled instantly and I hated him more than ever. I loathed her mother and wanted to beat her senseless with my bare hands. What a rotten, stupid, pathetic individual. And Meredith earned a "hell yes, girl" when she finally took matters into her own hands and saved her day with an almost superhero like display of strength. Meredith has a unique way of coping with what has happened to her and a very eclectic self-appointed safety net of people who's stories and roles in the book make for well timed breaks as we start to deal with Meredith's life. I loved it. It's re-readable because even without a happy ending (because can there ever really be one when we're talking abuse?) the story leaves us all set to go on with our lives. Definitely a good book hangover.
  • (4/5)
    This harrowing story of abuse and its aftermath will surely entrance teen readers, though the flashbacks make the story a bit difficult to follow at times. Meredith was raped by her father, a pedophile who also raped young boys. He is sent to prison after Meredith testifies against him. He is supposed to be in prison for nine years, but is released after three years. Meredith's mother welcomes him home and refuses to believe Meredith when she says her father is still threatening her. Poetic justice makes the ending satisfying. For mature readers.
  • (4/5)
    Meredith is a 15 year old whose father has been unexpectedly released from jail. Where he was incarcerated for molesting her and other children in their neighborhood. Her mother is one of the most in-denial people you can imagine, cruelly so - choosing her father over Meredith's safety. And so it is up to Meredith, along with a small group of supporters, to save herself. The molestation scenes are creepy and repulsive, yet also very honest. They will not go away and give Meredith peace, and she knows she will probably not get any peace. This is the story of a survivor and one who is trying to heal. Meredith has more strength than anyone in her family, and she uses that to "win" in a surprising way. This book is disturbing and gripping all at once.
  • (4/5)
    Meredith is fifteen and has already lived through nightmares worse than anything most people could even imagine. Her father sexually abused her and her mother didn’t do anything to stop it. Meredith wasn’t alone though; he abused several other young children, but it was Meredith being injured to the point of needing an emergency room visit and Meredith finally admitting to what was going on that put him in jail. Her father received nine years in prison - long enough for her to turn eighteen and move away on her own.The only problem…the justice system doesn’t always work the way it is supposed to. Because of progress during therapy and good behavior, Meredith’s father is released just three years after his incarceration. Meredith is scared to death. Her only salvation is Andy, a young man with whom she has a strange connection. He makes her feel calm when nothing else can. Andy is fighting his own demons though and plans to leave for Iowa to see a victim soul - someone who takes on the pain and suffering of another. Andy is paralyzed and he and his mother put their faith in God to cure him. He is leaving just when Meredith needs him the most. Meredith will have to find strength in herself to overcome her newest nightmare.SUCH A PRETTY GIRL is an intense and emotional novel. It will catch the reader’s attention quickly. However, there are a few details will cause the reader to question the plot. For instance, it just so happens that her father’s arresting officer is now retired and lives in the same condo complex as Meredith. Also, her father can’t live with Meredith and her mother right away, but he does buy a condo on the other side of the complex. All in all, SUCH A PRETTY GIRL is a book to read. If you’ve enjoyed Ellen Hopkins’ IDENTICAL or Elizabeth Scott’s LIVING DEAD GIRL you probably will enjoy SUCH A PRETTY GIRL.
  • (4/5)
    If you like sad books, then this is a good book for you to read. This main character has a hard life, and is just trying to get away from her father who hurt her when she was younger. They said he would be gone for a while, until one day, he is back. Read this and find out what she does to get rid of her father.
  • (5/5)
    One of the most visceral, personal accounts I have read in the past year. Laura brings you into Meredith's world, facing her worst enemy released from prison years early. Her mother welcomes home the man who molested her as if nothing happened. Meredith's tale of survival keeps you holding your breath, turning pages until the very end.For fans of this book, I recommend Laura's other book, Leftovers, and Jay Asher's 13 Reasons Why.
  • (5/5)
    I've never read a book that has touched me more than this book did. It's just one of those books that tugs on the heart strings. I've read it about three times now, and it just keeps getting better. It's so blunt and honest and perfectly written. Everyone needs a book that moves them, even if it's just a little bit.
  • (5/5)
    Here is the first thing I would like to say about this novel: don't let the fact that it is young adult fiction keep you from reading it. I am so glad I read Such a Pretty Girl despite its genre classification.Laura Wiess has written a compelling novel that deals with a painful subject. Meredith was sexually abused by her father, who has recently been released from prison. She is an anguished, wounded character struggling to overcome and as the reader, I could feel the conflict inside her: would she ultimately be victim or victor?Meredith was wise beyond her years, forced to grow up too early by her father's iniquities. Still, she felt unable to protect herself from her father, who had clearly not been successfully rehabilitated. I think a talented writer not only creates characters for the reader to fall in love with, but often also gives us one or two to despise. Wiess created a truly loathsome character in Meredith's mother. She was ignorant and insipid and from the father's first day back home, repeatedly violated the court order not to leave him alone with Meredith. She was nearly as despicable as her pedophilic husband.The system failed to protect Meredith just as abysmally as her mother did. Meredith seemed to fall between the cracks, leaving her frightened and vulnerable. Redemption would be her own doing, and that of a few people - her maternal grandmother, a caring neighbor - who were willing to get involved instead of merely looking the other way. Besides being very well-written, Such a Pretty Girl is thought-provoking. Can pedophiles be successfully rehabilitated? How effective is the sex-offender registry in its current format? Is it appropriate to take matters into our own hands when we see the system is failing to protect children? Are we even willing to?
  • (4/5)
    When Meredith testified to have her dad sent to jail, he was supposed to serve 9 years. This meant Meredith had 9 years of safety and could move away when she turned 18. She never thought that her dad would get out in only 3 years for "good behavior". So Meredith is stuck at home with a mother that doesn't believe her and a father who is about to get out of prison. She has two friends in which she can confide; the wheelchair-ridden, Andy, who is her best friend and the guy she is in love with and there is also a retired cop in the same apartment complex, Nigel, who wants Meredith's dad put back in jail. Each friend is trying to help her in the only way that they know how. There is also her grandmother, Leah Louisa, who is the mayor and wants Meredith to live with her. But, if Meredith lives with her, will she be able to save others that is at her father's grasp?This book is a gripping and powerful novel. All of the characters are so realistic that it is scary at times. There are also flashbacks in the book that are just as enthralling and telling of the story and how it got to where it is. Even though this book is honest, it's not too graphic. You understand why Meredith tries to run away. Then, when she comes back to help save others, you appreciate her. She's just a scared 15 year-old trying to take on more of the world than anyone should, much less someone her age. Laura is an amazing writer and is treading in water that is rarely touched. She did a wonderful job making you believe these characters. This is an earnest book that should be picked up!
  • (5/5)
    A constantly moving book about a young girl and her struggle against pressure from her mom to accept back her father who had raped her and others although some questions are left unanswered
  • (4/5)
    This book could easily be read in one sitting - it grabs you right away when you learn that Meredith is in immediate danger from her father who has been released from prison three years too soon. It's gruesome and terrifying and also terribly important to have in a school or public library.My main disappointment in the book was the ending. I don't want to spoil anything, but I thought the last line was unbelievably "happily ever after" in a story that couldn't possibly be that way.
  • (5/5)
    This is a quick read that really stays with you! The terror is so real. Disturbing book that rings true.
  • (4/5)
    I couldn't put it down. The tension of having to live with a parent who has abused you was something I could feel as I read. The book was so realistic, I couldn't believe this girl could ever triumph over this powerful force in her life, but I cheered her on and hoped mightily for her success