Such a Pretty Girl depicts a community where the tension doesn’t simmer; it’s explosive. The only way to protect the community is to provoke the offender into re-offending, and Meredith offers herself up as the sacrificial lamb. She’s in no way reluctant, though she must battle her fears to complete the task.
The romance is believable: victims, survivors banding together, trying to cope with their tortured pasts…and now their troubled present. Paralysis and religion thread their connection with conflict and salvation. The theory of a “victim soul” is fascinating.
Meredith’s mother is representative of unfortunate women with internalised – and maybe externalised – misogyny, who only value themselves if they have a man. It’s sad, frustrating, and definitely frightening that Meredith’s mum puts herself before her daughter.
This is a true psychological thriller, which I read in one sitting in the dark, wee hours of the day. It’s sinister, scary, and fully engrossing, and cements Laura Wiess as one of my new favourite writers. She’s an expert at crafting layered, hard-hitting stories. Both books I’ve read by her (the other is Me Since You) are five-star quality, which I highly recommend to fans of contemporary, realistic young adult fiction.