Friday, 25 May 2012

Review: Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein

  Title: Pretty Amy
  Author: Lisa Burstein
  Publisher: Entangled Publishing
  Publication Date: May 8th 2012
  My rating: 3 stars
  Reviewed by: Jasprit

“It’s easy to believe
that someday I will feel just like A.J unlocked from his cage.
That the bars I’ve put around me will fall away.
That I will feel like that little girl again,
finally and beautifully free”

When I first saw the cover to Pretty Amy I thought it would be a light fluffy easy going read, but once I picked up I realised it went much deeper than I originally thought. Amy has been looking forward to her prom for a while now, on the night she gets dropped off to her friend Lila’s house she’s jangling with nerves. It could be her biggest night of her life, an unforgettable night. And yes it does become that but for all the wrong reasons. Amy, Lila and Cassie don’t end up going to prom but caught with pot in their possession by the police, they’re taken to the station, where they’re eventually allowed to go home further pending their trial. Dealing with disappointed parents doesn’t compare to the rest of the stuff they have to deal with. They’re suspended from school, so will miss the final week, banned from their own graduation and the icing on the cake? Amy’s mum states that she will have to pay for her lawyer out of her own money, so she has to get a job! How could what was meant to be the night of her life? Quickly spiral out of control? But Amy is given a sort of reprieve, her lawyer Dick could probably prevent her from going to jail but she has to dob her only friends in instead.

What I liked about this book;
Amy was such a strong character, with all the crap she had to put up with, the constant pressure from her parents, her lawyer and her therapist to dob her friends in she battled on against everyone’s better judgement. She displayed a stubbornness and stood her ground, despite them constantly pushing her buttons and even using shock tactics. At times I usually felt hugely sorry for Amy, despite all the bravado she was a lonely girl who had no one; she wasn’t allowed to contact Cassie or Lila, her old friend Joe didn’t want to know her anymore, she didn't feel comfortable opening up to her therapist and each time she talked to her mother they would get into a shouting match. Her only friend was her bird A.J. the only person that wouldn’t pass judgement on her. But then sometimes you wanted to clock Amy from her stubbornness. Yeah I understand that they were the only friends she had, but if her friends were put in the same situation would they do the same thing for her? But I definitely preferred Amy’s character to her mothers. Honestly I don’t really know what to make of her, I think she did care about Amy but she just had a funny way of showing it. She couldn’t understand Amy’s sarcastic temperament, she was at times way over the top; insisting to Amy’s principle that she had to attend Amy’s graduation even though Amy was not allowed to go? And slashing and burning her mattress because she thought it contained heroin? All Amy wanted was her mother to be there for her;

“her only job tonight was to tell me I was beautiful
that I was her beautiful baby girl all grown up, but she couldn’t even
do that”

I adored Amy’s dad, he was relatively calm and laid back but quite under the thumb of his wife. I also adored Joe, Amy’s former friend; it was heart breaking reading their scenes together because all he wanted was Amy how she was before, before she met Cassie and Lila, but had Amy changed so much and was it too late change back?

Despite the “dark cloud” hanging over Amy; the mistake that had been made and the choice that still had to be made, the story was laced with humour which certainly did lighten things up. I loved Amy’s snarky humour and her sarcastic comments, I looked forward to her meetings with her lawyer, therapist and when she went to work to see what she would come up with next.

Overall Pretty Amy is a bittersweet coming of age story which I surprisingly enjoyed. You’re probably wandering what does Amy finally do in the end? Does she make the right decision? My lips are sealed you’ll just have to find out for yourself.

A big thank you to Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read this book.

Be sure to pop by on Tuesday as Lisa Burstein author of Pretty Amy will be dropping by with a guest post.


  1. This sounds like an amazingly real book! I love how unexpectedly deep it is and Amy's mom terrifies me already. I love that this book is tough and not all perfect and cutesy like most novels. It sounds great. Thanks for the amazing review, Jasprit! I want to read this soon!

  2. I really liked her dad too he was really great! I super hated her mom though. This was very different from what I expected so I didn't like it as much as was hoping but it's still a good story!

  3. I can definitely see how Amy's stubbornness would be both a good and bad thing when reading about her. I always gravitate toward someone with a stubborn streak because I have one a mile wide, but at the same time I often want to reach in and throttle them at times:) So glad this one had a bit more depth than you were expecting Jasprit, beautiful review!

  4. I really want to read this one so I'm so pleased you enjoyed it. It's defo one to buy soon. Donna xoxox

  5. Lovely review, Jasprit! I'm glad to hear there is depth to the story, but also equally pleased to know that doesn't overshadow the humour. It definitely sounds like a good read! :)

  6. O_O I figured this would be pure fluff! I had no idea it was such a complex story, with actual depth. It's my own fault for judging a book by its cover again, I suppose.
    It sounds really interesting and I'm looking forward to the upcoming blog tour.
    Fantastic review, Jasprit!

  7. Everyone keeps saying the same thing about this book: That it's darker than they expected and surprisingly complex. I'm actually even more intrigued by that fact because then it's in no danger of becoming a vanilla read without depth, but I'm also glad that there are still some great funny parts in the story too! And I loooooove the mention of an awesome dad -- I love awesome dads in books! :')

    Amazing review, J! You're totally teasing me with that because I really DO want to know what Amy decides to do in the end! I guess I'll have to read this book, right? ;) <3

  8. I was also very surprised about the direction this book went. I was really expecting it to be a fun, light novel, but it turned into a character facing an uncertain life story.

    I love reading your opinion on Amy, her controlling mother, Joe and the other characters. I really liked Joe and wished he was in the story more.

    Fantastic and true review!

    A.J was so cute. <3

  9. I agree this was a big surprise, Not a light and fluffy read, .I really struggled with Amy for most of the book I felt sorry for her, yet she frustrated me. In the end she managed to redeem herself and I was kedt thinking about it. A strong read for sure.

  10. Ah, I LOVE realistic YA! These stories always make me smile, no matter how snarky the main character! And in the end, there is always hope and promise of the better future . <3 Poor Amy, seems like she hangs out with people she shouldn't. This reminds me a bit of Forgiving Trinity by Liz Reindhardt. :)

    Totally fantastic review, Jasprit! <3

  11. Everyone seems to really like this one! I thought it would be light and fluffy everyone says it surprised them in that regard. I will have to try it out soon. Great review, Jasprit. :)

  12. I am so with you on the cover, when I saw it I thought "Ag! Another girl in a puffy dress on the cover, I bet it's no good" but then I started reading reviews and I totally changed my mind! Your review has convinced me that is really is good and reminded me I should track it down ;)

  13. When I first saw the cover, I was convinced that it was going to be a cute, light and fluffy kind of read. Then, I kept seeing these reviews popping up mentioning was a much serious book. I'm still very interested in the book, especially since the main character seems like someone who's strong-willed.
    Beautiful review, Jasprit. :)

  14. Such a wonderful review! I've been interested in this one ever since it's release and I always thought it would be a fluffy, light read so I'm quite surprised that it's the opposite, would love to give it a go though!


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