Pretty Amy by Lisa Burnstein 3.5 Stars
Pretty Amy is a wonderfully told coming of age book about a senior in high school, Amy, who gets in trouble on the night of her senior prom with her two best friends. The book follows Amy over the course of her summer, and the difficult inner turmoil that she goes through as she loses her two best friends while trying to figure out who she is without them in her life. The book is full of awkward moments, difficult decisions, teenage angst and lots of sarcasm/wit.
I think Pretty Amy is a refreshing story. First, the story, for the most part does not fixate on on a "romance" instead the author focuses on Amy and the changes and issues that she faces the summer before college. Generally, I think most girls can relate to this story. For most people High School wasnt bad but it was great either, everyone struggles with trying to fit in, and figure out who you are. I really like the fact that Amy struggled with figuring out who her friends are/were throughout the course of the book and has trouble deciding what she her self really wants.Amy lacks confidence and has a low self esteem, her character overall is relate able and interesting, and I found myself wanting to know how the summer would be resolved.
I also found myself annoyed with the character, at her lack of maturity, but felt that it was fitting given her age (I have the pleasure of hindsight, and I am well aware that I acted similar at that age so the author hit this nail on he head!). I also like the relationship she has with her parents. Not every parent is a great one, or an absent one, most parents it seems just try to do what they think is right, and Amys mom is no different. It is interesting to see the difference in relationship with her mother and father and it was easy to relate. I agree with the "Jewish Mother" aspects that the author throws it, it really is like that! (Haha)
I had trouble figuring out as I was reading where exactly the book was going. I knew the purpose of the book, but I frequently felt as though Amy was not "growing" as a character that much. However, I also think this was necessary for the character to be able to hit bottom, one must hit bottom before being able to realize the mistakes of life and to begin to move forward.
I felt that this book was extremely relatable on many fronts, but there were a couple of weird moments that I wasnt sure why they were included, for instance her job, which I found uncommon, and given her background unlikely. I really enjoyed the authors writing style. Her conversational style felt just right, it was not forced and flowed, which is extremely difficult to do when trying to be snarky or sarcastic, but Lauren did a fantastic job of making it realistic.
My biggest frustration with this book however is the legal aspects that the author took. As a lawyer who has worked with the juvenile system, I disagree with the depiction that she drew. The legal system would not have worked like this and I was very angry with the last 25% of this book on this issue. Secondly, I felt as though I was still waiting for Amy to grow up. The ending does show that she grew somewhat it was also a little bit of a let down that she didnt have more of a complete transformation. (it was anti-climatic)
I enjoyed reading this book, it was a nice afternoon read! And while this book may not have been my personal favorite, that doesnt mean that the story wasnt well written, interesting and great overall. I really did enjoy it, and I recommend it for the 15-22 age range.