Sunday, March 24, 2013

Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein

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 the girls get stood up for prom and 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. Even 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.

 Lisa Burstein is a tea seller by day and a writer by night. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University and is glad to finally have it be worth more than the paper it was printed on. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her very patient husband, a neurotic dog and two cats.
She wrote her first story when she was in second grade. It was a Thanksgiving tale from the point of view of the turkey from freezer to oven to plate. It was scandalous.
PRETTY AMY May 2012 Entangled Publishing THE NEXT FOREVER January 2013 Entangled Publishing DEAR CASSIE March 2013 Entangled Publishing

This book was the absolute bomb. I've never related to a character before quite like I did with Amy. So many of the same struggles and self doubts. Lucky for me though things weren't great and we definitely had our troubles and bouts with abuse, my family was much more supportive. I would never have been put in the positions Amy was forced into. Amy's parents were- well, pretty horrible.
Still, I have to say, I don't know how you got my file Lisa Burstein, but you basically took my senior year, threw a couple of twists in and made it heartfelt and much more entertaining.
So much of this story was exactly what high school is like for most of us. Trying to fit in, find your place, yourself and just survive each day.
I can't tell you much else without giving something away. I know- I say that a lot. But I refuse to spoil. You have to get the full effect and the only way to do that is to Read. The. Book.
What I can tell you? I hated Lila. She's a mean girl, but not wholly without her reasons, and the only popular one of the three.
I loved Cassie. Ok, there's a bit of her in me too. The side I showed to the world. The tough girl with a smart mouth. The one that never gets pushed around and never cries. Together they may still be social outcasts, but they're like the three musketeers. Where one goes, they all go. Inseparable... or are they?
Pretty Amy was one helluva wild ride. These girls have a lot fun and then get put through the ringer. They're forced to face frightening consequences and pushed to turn on each other. There is pressure from everyone and all sides. And what Amy has to endure as a result of her loyalty is heartbreaking. In an effort to do the right thing, Amy finds out who her friends are, to trust her instincts, and what she and her family are really made of.
I loved every bit of Pretty Amy. I loved Amy. Her sweetness and vulnerability. Her sass. And her view of the world. So like your average teen that feels just that, average, ordinary and overlooked.
Lisa's writing is exceptional. She touched my heart and sensibilities. She made me want to reach into the pages and hug Amy and tell her everything would work out and be ok. She made me care. And more than anything she made me feel like I was never really alone in what was such an awkward and often unhappy high school existence.
So thank you, Lisa. For taking the risk and crafting an entertaining, yet real story. For creating such believable and relatable characters. For giving girls that were like me a voice.