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Book Review: Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein

Amy is fine living in the shadows of beautiful Lila and uber-cool Cassie, because at least she’s somewhat beautiful and uber-cool by association. But when the girls get stood up for prom and take matters into their own hands—earning them a night in jail outfitted in satin, stilettos, and Spandex — Amy discovers even a prom spent in handcuffs might be better than the humiliating “rehabilitation techniques” now filling up her summer. Even worse, with Lila and Cassie prenatally banned, Amy feels like she has nothing — like she is nothing.Navigating unlikely alliances with her new coworker, two very different boys, and possibly even her parents, Amy struggles to decide if it’s worth being a best friend when it makes you a public enemy. Bringing readers along on an often hilarious and heartwarming journey, Amy finds that maybe getting a life only happens once you think your life is over.

"Unfortunately, I am only myself. I am only Amy Fleischman."(pg1)

“Pretty Amy” begins with a teenager who is afraid to speak up, she is afraid of being along, and she is very lost, she doesn't know how to be her own person. Amy turns to acting bad to get the attention that she wants because she doesn't feel like anyone cares about her. She looks for attention in all the wrong places. It isn't necessarily that she agrees with what she is doing, but she is following her friends example because she wants them to like her and still be her friend. Amy smokes, drinks, and hangs out with her friends who are considered to be the "bad" girls of the school. Her best friends are Cassie and Lila. Amy begins to dig herself into a deep hole that she can't seem to find her way out of to the light of day. From my experience and watching the experiences of others, a lot of teenagers have experienced this in life. They get so involved that they don't realize that they are slowly losing themselves. Amy keeps pushing away the important people in her life, that are trying to help her and be there for her. I could relate to Amy I. This, there have definitely been times that I've pushed away the people I love because I didn't know if I could handle them being there. I didn't think I deserved their kindness. Then one night Amy, Cassie, and Lila cross a line and without Cassie and Lila to follow, Amy is forced to face her bad decisions and decide what life is really worth. Pretty Amy is about trying to find your identity and place in the world. I'm sure we have all been there.

Lisa Burstein wrote story that a lot of people can relate too, especially teenagers. I think a lot of teenagers would enjoy this story and hopefully along the way learn some lessons. I think Amy's story has a lot of lessons that everyone can learn from. There were plenty of moments that Amy showed examples of just wanting someone to care about her, yet when they tried, she wouldn't let them in. She was a very scared girl that was used to hiding behind her friends, she didn't know how to be an individual. I got to know Amy on a more personal level as she learns that she is on her own because of the choices she has made. This was an emotional book, there were times that I could relate to Amy, you didn't need to be just like her or even know her perfectly, you could just understand specific situation that she got herself into and you could relate. Burstein brought Amy and her feelings to life that I felt like Amy and I were friends. Her pain was my pain.

“Pretty Amy” was more mature than I was expecting. I honestly thought that I was getting ready to sit down and read a sun shiny book. Boy, was I wrong! Amy’s cynical internal monologue...oh her monologue, I've had several of the same conversations in my head, I felt like yelling "Yes that is it. that is exactly how I felt." I was thankful for these parts because it made the tears fall less. Based on all the hype that i have read about this book, I was expecting Cassie and Lila to be in the book a whole lot more, but I'm glad to hear that both Cassie and Lila will have their own books. I am looking forward to Lila's book because i think it will be interesting to know her perspective and take on life.

Pretty Amy is definitely a book that can make readers uncomfortable and even shy away from the book, however I think it is worth the chance. This is coming from someone that two years ago, I would have never considered picking up this book to read. I think people should give this book a chance because you can learn a lot and I really hope that people who read “Pretty Amy,” will learn something. “Pretty Amy, may not have the prettiest story but she has a story worth reading.

I give "Pretty Amy" five bookshelves.


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