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Publisher's Summary

A fiercely inspired fiction debut in which two young women - an actress and an academic - face what really happened the summer they were 12, when a handsome stranger abducted them.

"Everyone thought we were dead. We were missing for nearly two months; we were 12. What else could they think?" (Lois)

"It's always been hard to talk about what happened without sounding all melodramatic.... Actually, I haven't mentioned it for years, not to a goddamned person." (Carly May)

When precocious Lois and pretty Carly May were 12 years old, they were kidnapped, driven across the country, and held in a cabin in the woods for two months by a charismatic stranger. Nearly 20 years later, Lois has become a professor, teaching British literature at a small college in upstate New York, and Carly May is an actress in Los Angeles, drinking too much and struggling to revive her career. When a movie with a shockingly familiar plot draws the two women together once more, they must face the public exposure of their secret history and confront the dark longings and unspeakable truths that haunt them still.

Pretty Is beautifully defies ripped-from-the-headlines crime-story expectations and announces the debut of a masterful new storytelling talent.

©2015 Maggie Mitchell (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc. 

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderfully written

What did you love best about Pretty Is?

The complexity of the characters and the beautifully written layers of the story.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Pretty Is?

When the women meet decades later and finally talk about the abduction. The tension was palpable yet sometimes unexpected.

What does Tavia Gilbert and Nicol Zanzarella bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Two things. One. having the 2 women read gave Lois and Chloe such distinct voices. Two. I read the book first and have a tendency to race through sections when I get excited by a part in a book. Listening to a book doesn't allow that and I listened to every word unfold like it's meant to. Tavia and Nicol brought Lois and Chloe to life and gave me a deeper understanding of their characters and the book.

If you could take any character from Pretty Is out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Not fair to only let me pick one!!! Zed. I find myself wanting to get a few answers for Lois and Chloe.

Any additional comments?

Absolutely an intriguing book that took the harder course and showed how damaging living under the threat of danger can be, even if no overt violence occurs. The book explores how confusing and haunting those 6 weeks in a cabin still were decades later to the 2 young women who lived through them. Exceptional writing and insight. Well done

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Found the story a little confusing

What was most disappointing about Maggie Mitchell’s story?

The story lacked substance. The kidnapping never drew a real conclusion and the story felt the same.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great book but...

The ending kept me hanging. Kept waiting for a big reveal but it never came

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not finished...

What a great story & details but the book just ends. It is almost as if the author got writers block. It was so full of possible twists but just fizzled. The author has great potential but unfortunately failed to drive it home in this book. I sincerely hope there is a sequel.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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The ending is an utter disappointment!

When the story ended I had to triple check to make sure I didn't accidentally skip over the final chapter. Without giving anything away the story is all about what happened and nothing as to why. The kidnapper and stalker go to great lengths to commit their crimes but the reader will never know why.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Meh

In this book, we meet Lois and Carly May, who, at the age of 12, were abducted by a man they called Zed. They were held captive for two months, but not harmed, and actually desperately hope for Zed's attention and approval.

The book flips back and forth between then and now, between either girl's perspective. How had that experience changed them? What kind of adults have they become? Have they kept in touch? Would you?

The author's writing is intriguing and enticing. There's that level of mystery that leaves the reader wanting to know more. The overarching question being "what's the motive"? What was the motive then and what is the motive now? As their past brings the women back together again, we find out how much those two months of their childhood have shaped their life.

There were definitely parts of this book that I really liked, but then there were more that I could not connect with. This is a story within a story within a story. Lost yet? yep. I usually love a layered novel, but the back and forth of time and character voice made it difficult at times to enjoy. And while I usually love the underlying mystery to keep me intrigued, here it just didn't fit for me. I'm still left scratching my head after finishing the book.

Both narrators did an excellent job at bringing the characters to life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Exceptional debut!

Would you listen to Pretty Is again? Why?

Yes. A second listen would allow me to savor the author's prose and spend more time contemplating the very real tension associated with the protagonist's efforts to understand the signal event that shaped their young lives.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I identified with some aspects of both characters so I can't say that I had a favorite. Lois's need to clarify and shape events in a vain attempt to demonstrate her control over them by means of writing a novel of the experience and attempting a sequel was very understandable. And Chloe's name change and efforts to escape her past by creating many different pasts and futures as a movie actress ultimately proved unsuccessful but very relatable. I liked them both for their flaws and their strengths.

Which scene was your favorite?

I liked the tension established in the scenes with Zed, those in the girls' moemories and in the novel. I also thought the author's development of Lois as she increasingly loses her control over reality while dealing with Sean and his presence as Gary in the sequel was very well done.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I could easily have chosen to listen all at once but decided to listen while driving and sitting in parking lots or my garage. Of course it was often hard to turn the story off - hence the parking lot and garage stays.

Any additional comments?

It isn't often that I feel compelled to write a review of a book that I hear on Audible but in the case of the debut novel, Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell, I am eager to say that it is an exceptional one! The author deftly explores the psychological complexities inherent in the ongoing struggles of the two female protagonists as they attempt to come to terms with the signal event that occurred during the summer they were twelve. As the Audible summary suggests and as others have noted, the story alternates in voice and time and involves the kidnapping of Lois and Carly May by an enigmatic stranger and that event's influence on their lives. Mitchell infuses the novel with a tension and an eerie sense of foreboding that plays out in the eventual intersection of the girls' lives seventeen years later when the voicing of their shared memories proves inescapable. Mitchell's characters are richly textured, and the thoughts and actions of the women as they each seek to understand how their lives were forever shaped that summer are very recognizable and relatable to the thoughtful reader/listener. The two voice actors each do a superb job capturing the intensity of their character's emotions and maintaining the right pace for the novel's action. yThe novel is richly deserving of the many praises it has received from both its literary reviewers and its readers. I found it to be a wonderfully engaging read that I savored to the end and one that was an equally satisfying listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Terrible Book

This books lacked a story and depth to the characters. It was incredibly boring and predictable. I kept hoping something realistic would happen and I did not like any of the characters.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Incomplete. Ends because it has nowhere to go

It seems the author just almost had an idea for a book and gives up in the end, utterly defeated. Skip this one.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Predictable

The ending was very predictable. Waiting for an exciting end. Then, the book ended. Narrators wera little too "stiff."