Monday, April 13, 2020

Review: The Prized Girl by Amy K. Green

The Prized Girl
by Amy K. Green
Release Date: January 14th 2020
2020 Dutton Books
Kindle Edition; 384 Pages
ISBN: 978-1524745103
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

Days after a young teenager named Jenny is found murdered, her small town grieves the loss alongside her picture-perfect parents. At first glance, Jenny’s tragic death appears clear-cut for investigators. In the murder of a former pageant queen from a safe and loving family, the most obvious suspect is a fan who got too close for comfort. But Jenny’s sarcastic, older half-sister Virginia isn’t so sure of his guilt and takes matters into her own hands to find the killer.

But for Jenny’s case and and Virginia’s investigation, there’s more to the story. Virginia, still living in town and haunted by her own troubled teenage years, suspects that a similar darkness lay beneath the sparkling veneer of Jenny’s life. Alternating between Jenny’s final days and Virginia’s determined search for the truth, the sisters’ dual narratives follow a harrowing trail of suspects, with surprising turns that race toward a shocking finale.

My Thoughts
The Prized Girl is one of those books where a review is really difficult to write: I liked the writing style of this author but really did not connect with any of the characters and thought the plot line could have used some work.  

The story is told through two POVs, the murdered Jenny, and her sister, Virginia. While I thought using the two points of view was interesting, and the author definitely did a credible job meshing the two, unfortunately, I just could not connect with either of their stories.  Jenny just came across as spoiled and Virginia, well, I just couldn't empathize with her at all.  I get that Jenny was dealing with a mother who seemed to have some issues of her own (I don't want to say too much as it will give away some parts of the story, but she was just thirteen years old), and I know that 13-year-olds can definitely be rebellious and try to act much older than they are, but these girls seemed to be at a level much older than their years.  And I've seen a lot of stuff teaching high school for almost 30 years.  The author seemed to be really focused on the sexuality of these girls as if it is the only thing that is running through their adolescent brains.  So, basically Jenny's time line gives us an insight into what she was into leading up to her death, while Virginia's gives us insight into the investigation after Jenny's death.

The formula to this story definitely isn't original: the picture-perfect life of a beauty-queen superstar isn't perfect nor does she have the perfect family, despite outward appearances.  First predictable check.  Young perfect girl begins to rebel against her mother because she decides to quit the pageant scene. Predictable check two. Young girl begins to try different things and starts sneaking out of the house at night. Predictable check three. Parents don't get along and have another rebellious daughter. Predictable check four.  And the list goes on.  And naturally, perfect younger daughter doesn't get along with rebellious older daughter.  Yup, we've seen this formula many times before.  The author did make a lot of it interesting, until I learned about Virginia's past and why she was the way she was; NOPE, nope, nope, nope.  I am definitely not going to be sympathetic whatsoever to that scenario, it is abuse.  So now you're probably wondering why I finished the book? I got curious as to how the author was going to finish the book.  And was I satisfied?  Not at all, but was I surprised, no.

The Prized Girl for the most part was well-written, although I do have to say the last part seemed to be quite a bit messier than the rest as if the author didn't quite know how she was going to end the book.  Now, the book did have a lot going for it, and there are probably a lot of readers who may like this book, but it was not for me.  To be honest, I think readers who are not as familiar with this genre may like this book better than those who read this genre extensively.  I just couldn't connect with the characters, and really disliked Virginia throughout the book so that didn't help.  Would I read another book by this author? Yes, I would give her another chance as I really liked her writing style and there were some really clever moments in here.  


  1. great review. i do read a ton of mysteries, so i get where you're coming from. i do love that cover and i know when i see trees it usually doesn't have a happy story
    sherry @ fundinmental