**I received this book from Around the World ARC Tours for review**
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Reminiscent of the Elizabeth Smart case, Pretty Girl-13 is a disturbing and powerful psychological mystery about a girl who must piece together the story of her kidnapping and captivity.
Angie Chapman was thirteen years old when she ventured into the woods alone on a Girl Scouts camping trip. Now she's returned home…only to find that it's three years later and she's sixteen-or at least that's what everyone tells her.
What happened to the past three years of her life?
Angie doesn't know.
But there are people who do—people who could tell Angie every detail of her forgotten time, if only they weren't locked inside her mind. With a tremendous amount of courage, Angie embarks on a journey to discover the fragments of her personality, otherwise known as her "alters." As she unearths more and more about her past, she discovers a terrifying secret and must decide: When you remember things you wish you could forget, do you destroy the parts of yourself that are responsible?
My Thoughts: This book deals with some very uncomfortable, brutal subjects. That being said, it was a very compelling, emotional story.
Imagine being 13 and being with your best friend at Girl Scout Camp. Everything is going great for you. You have had your first kiss by the guy you like just a few days before, school is great, your friends are awesome. Now imagine the next thing you know, you are walking home in clothes you don't remember, no recollection of how you got where you are and when you open the door to greet your parents, they are shocked and emotional to see you. Not to mention that they keep telling you that you are now 16 and three years have passed.
That is what happened to Angie. She has no clue what happened to those three lost years. Angie sees a shrink to help her and they diagnose her with Dissociative Identity Disorder. From there, we are taken back in time to relive those three missing years through Angie's alters.
I don't know a lot about DID. We did some research into in in college but yeah, that was awhile ago for me. I found it absolutely amazing how the body protects one from the traumatic things happening to them. In this book, the reader gets to live alongside Angie as she figures out how to communicate with her alters and how to merge them into one person...herself.
This book is absolutely heartbreaking! There are no words to describe the horrors that this child is made to endure. While the book isn't graphic in it's details of what happened to Angie, it is brutally honest and doesn't sugarcoat what happened to her in any way either. It left me with nightmares at night of this happening to my own daughter. It is every single parent's worst nightmare.
There were a couple things that I didn't like about the book. Mostly in the beginning though. When Angie walks through her door, her parents are obviously surprised to see her and they call the detective who has been working on the case. He comes over and speaks with her at length with no tape recorder, no other detectives or officers, she doesn't go to the hospital right away to check for injuries (although she does goes...just not right away). I have been a victim of a crime and while it was no where near to this extent (thank goodness!!), I have a little bit of understanding how things work. I was never, ever interviewed alone with no cameras or tape recorders going. It seems like a small thing and as you get more into the book, it really was a small thing but it was just one of those things that didn't seem realistic to me.
Also, what happened to Angie as a younger child, before being kidnapped, was off a little. I mean, what happened to her wasn't off but how it was dealt with was not right. The shrink is a mandatory reporter and would have had to have reported this separate incident. The police/detectives would have HAD to have done an investigation. Whether you, as a 16 year old, want to press charges or not, in this case, there would have been absolutely no choice. Again, I've been there, done that.
Other than those two things, I found this story riveting and emotional. It was most definitely NOT a feel good book but it was one that I am glad I read. It was fascinating and held my interest from the very first paragraph.