by Karin Slaughter
Release Date: September 29th 2015
2015 William Morrow
Hardcover Edition; 400 Pages
Genre: Fiction / Suspense
Source: Review copy from TLC Book Tours
4 / 5 Stars
More than twenty years
ago, Claire and Lydia's teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace.
The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be
more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta
millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to
make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak
of their shared loss—a devastating wound that's cruelly ripped open
when Claire's husband is killed.
The disappearance of a teenage
girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century
apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving
sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that
destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the
possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.
Pretty Girls is one of those books where I really thought the themes in the novel were much more thought-provoking than the actual suspense or the plot. Yes, there were a couple of twists that I wasn't quite expecting, enough at least to keep the book interesting enough to read, but it was the threads running through it that I enjoyed quite a bit.
First of all, I do need to mention that I wasn't overly fond of Claire at the beginning of this novel. I thought she was vain, arrogant, and just plain unlikeable; unfortunately, as the novel progressed, it took quite a while for me to empathize with her as she just seemed to live in a fantasy world that quite frankly drove me nuts. Although I came to understand why Claire felt this need to escape so much, and felt the need to always be protected by others, it still drove me crazy, and I was constantly thinking to myself that she needed to grow a backbone. That being said, her moments of anger were quite uncharacteristic and actually made me like her more, the anger not the actions, as she seemed more human and not so statue-like. With all of this, I have to admit that I wasn't overly crazy with her reactions and how things panned out towards the end as it was a bit over the top for me. For all of these years, she lived in blissful ignorance, and that is something I don't understand at all; how is it possible to miss the signs that the person you are living with is completely psychotic? It's something that really made me question a few things and how far people will go to avoid facing what is right in front of them because they don't want to see the truth.
I thought the plot was quite interesting, especially the parts that described the sisters' lives and how things were different after Julia's disappearance. I thought the author did a great job showing the breakdown of the family unit and how each person coped differently to the stress in their lives and how it affected them throughout the years. There were quite a few threads for the author to play around with here and I thought she did a good job keeping them tightly woven into a story that was believable and a bit scary, considering the police involvement. Who do you trust if you can't trust the people who are supposed to help you? Although some of the plot was a bit predictable and it was quite easy to figure out who the sketchy people were, the plot twists were interesting and even I wasn't sure if the ending was going to be a good one or not. For those who are not into the violence, this book does tend to border on the graphic in some areas, so this may not necessarily be the read for you.
Pretty Girls was an enjoyable book, although I will admit that I liked the first part of the book a bit more than the second half, simply because I liked it when the sisters finally came back together after twenty years in order to do some snooping over Claire's husband and I found that shocking and interesting. The concept of discovering that someone you dearly loved is not who you thought they were is definitely not a new concept, but the author managed to make it her own and make it interesting. There were some plot points that, for me, did push a bit too far, but the novel is well-written and most of the characters were interesting. I wasn't overly crazy over the last third of the novel as it felt overdone and was too dramatic, but not in the best way possible, for me. There is definitely a lot to recommend in this one, but while I found it interesting, it didn't really keep me on the edge of my seat like I hoped.