Review: Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein

Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein
304 pgs.
Published May 15th, 2012 by Entangled Publishing
Source: Publisher
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 their dates stand them up for prom, and the girls take matters into their own hands—earning them a night in jail outfitted in satin, stilettos, and Spanx—Amy discovers even a prom spent in handcuffs might be better than the humiliating “rehabilitation techniques” now filling up her summer. Worse, with Lila and Cassie parentally 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.

Amy is one of those teenagers that so many can relate to in some way or another.  She struggled to fit in and find ‘her people’ only to find herself in big trouble as well as discovering they perhaps weren’t theher people’ after all.   Did you struggle to find your place in high school?  I know I did.  I wasn’t really so much like Amy, but yet I found myself connecting with her on many different levels and kind of getting where she was coming from.  
Amy gives out this feeling like she’s numb.  She had to deal with getting in big trouble and can no longer see or talk to her friends.  Her control freak mother is all over her case, she has to get a job, she has to volunteer, and she has to see a shrink.  Things have most definitely changed for her and now she has to worry about getting sent to jail as well.  She doesn’t know what to think, what to feel so she walks around in this state of numbness with her anger coming through at times.  I didn’t feel this overwhelming love for Amy because she gives off this cold vibe.  She’s angry and hurt and she’s just not sure what she feels or wants to feel or what she’s going to do about it.  So no, I didn’t love her.  But as I read I grew to understand her and as she grew as a character and found some of her true self inside her and began to come out of her shell of numbness and anger I did start to love her.  But she wasn’t the easiest person to actually really like.  This was one I had to really focus on putting myself in my 17 year old shoes.  To remember back to when I was a teenager and how I felt.  How angry I felt and alone and totally misunderstood.  And once I did that, I felt a more true connection to the story and to Amy.
This book wasn’t full of action and romance.  It was about feelings and emotions and family and friends.  It was about finding yourself and not being what you think others want you to be, or what you think you need to be.  This book is about finding your way.
I definitely recommend this book to fans of contemporary YA.  There’s some themes and language I would recommend for more mature readers.  Just remember the main character is a senior (well, she graduates in this book) so that gives you an idea of content.
I give this 4/5 stars.
Disclosure:  I received this book for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.
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  1. When reading Contemporary, I prefer “Seniors” and I was looking out for this one since quite a while. So happy to hear you liked it!! So adding it to my list!

  2. I’m glad that though you didn’t really connect to Amy much in the beginning, she grew on you over the course of the story and came to mean something to you by the end. I’m fine not connecting to a character initially as long as it happens eventually! Fabulous review Candace:)

  3. Thanks a lot for your honesty – great review! :) I have an eARC of this one and have yet to read it and after reading your review I’m looking forward to it even more. I’m curious to find out what I’ll be thinking of Amy. :)

    Fictional Distraction

  4. Oh this sounds like a great read. I love when authors actually make a teenage character act their age. This does sound like an emotional roller coaster of a ride but sometimes those are really refreshing. Getting in touch with a book on a deeper emotional level is something I never complain about :)

    Thanks for the amazing review!

  5. Great review Candace! I seem to find it harder and harder to connect with the younger characters. Maybe I’m getting to old. But if I like them, I still like the book. I’ve seen this one but honestly couldn’t tell what it was about. I don’t think it’s my kind of contemporary.


  6. This is only the second review I’ve ever read for this book, but it’s such a beautiful and convincing review! :) I love how emotionally strong this book sounds. Even though it doesn’t focus much on the romance, Amy’s growth as a character and the not-your-average-but-still-very-contemporary storyline sounds like the kind I would love to read. I’d rather have realistically complicated characters than perfect ones any day. They may not be as easy to like, but they’re easier to connect to (at least as a teenager)!

    Beautiful review, Candace! More intrigued, I am! 😉 <3

  7. I actually just started this one last night and like you I’m not loving Amy but I think if I grow to get her I will. I like the story though.

  8. Definitely sounds like a teen reaction–going cold and shutting down. I remember getting so mad and then I’d just shut everyone out. I was big on slamming doors (until I slammed it so hard one time, it got stuck. That was humiliating!).

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