Pretty Amy- 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.

Amy, a seemingly depressed and confused senior, feels as if her life doesn’t really matter. She’s simply a nobody. So when Lila and Cassie, two of the coolest girls in school, adopt her as their new best friend, Amy latches on to them like a life preserver. If associating with Lila and Cassie, getting drunk and smoking cigarettes makes her cool to everyone else, then so be it. Amy’s self-esteem is so low that she would do anything to make herself feel pretty and cool.

On the night of their senior prom, the three girls get stood up by their dates. Intending to get back at them, the girls end up in jail. Now, Amy is banned from associating with Lila and Cassie ever again, and she must undergo a series of therapy sessions and volunteer work to try and keep herself from getting convicted. In a story of depression, hope and finding oneself, Pretty Amy reaches out to troubled teens and families, and shows them that life really does get better if you just put in a little effort.

At one point in our lives, every single one of us experiences a time where we just feel that everything is falling apart around us. While the situation and emotional feelings are different for everyone, I’m sure we can all agree on one simply fact. It sucks. For me, this story was very personal, as it took me back to my own teenage years and showed me what my life could have ended up like. I found myself consuming every word, and I did not want to put the book down. The messages that were released in this novel were breathtaking, and I wish I had had the opportunity to read this book when I was younger.

When I first started this book, I found that I had a huge problem with the parents, namely the mother. Above all else, I have no patience for bad parenting, and I felt myself thinking that Amy was being attacked. Soon, though, this feeling slowly started to go away. I tried to place myself in the mother’s shoes. Her daughter was wasting away her life, would not talk to her and was facing drug charges. I think that if I had a daughter, I wouldn’t be able to handle that very well either. Soon I began to feel empathy for the mother, something that I never would have done even a few years ago. I became very proud of myself for being able to look at the bigger picture.

I really loved how all of the characters were pushing for Amy to get better. She just wanted them to go away and let her be, and they refused because they knew she would never get better that way. Although I loved the characters, I did NOT like the character of Connor. In fact, I hated him. I found it completely disrespectful that he ignored her religion and tried to act like her parent. Being five years older than Amy, I did not feel that he had the right to invade her life like that. I also was not ok with the parent’s making her move into Connor’s house. I found myself really uncomfortable with the whole situation. Also, Connor and his wife tended to act like they were in their forties or fifties, instead of their twenties.

I really enjoyed this book. I think that it gives a great message to teenagers and adults alike. I would highly recommend this book to anybody, especially teenagers or parents who are going through a rough time. I know I said it before, but I really wish I had had the chance to read this book when I was younger. I feel that it would have given me a better outlook on life, and I feel that it will still do that to the children of today. Props to Lisa Burstein for creating such a beautiful story, and I am definitely looking forward to reading more from her.


Publication Date: May, 2012

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Rating: [rating: 3.5]

Teaser Quote: “Her prayers were answered by the lights and sirens of a police car coming up behind us. “Fucking police,” Cassie said as they pulled us over. I looked at the enormous bag of Brian’s marijuana on the seat next to me. Crap. We definitely should have stayed in the bathroom.”