Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein

I stumbled upon this title on Twitter a few months ago. As I plan to broaden my reading genre preferences, I decided to give this book a try. I don’t think it’s available locally, so I bought it from Book Depository.

Here’s the summary from the back cover of the book:

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 their dates stand them up for prom, and the girls 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.

It’s evident that Amy’s insecurity and low self-esteem mainly have to do with the pressure from people she’s surrounded with. She feels that she’s being deprived of having a choice and freedom – merely doing things what others tell her to do. Tired of this routine, she thinks that going the wrong path would be the key, that this crucial decision will make her feel belonged. After all, according to her, being rebellious gives her freedom and more happiness.

And that’s where Lila and Cassie come into picture. By discovering their true personalities, I can already sense that they’re bad influencers. Amy, on the other hand, thinks otherwise. She can be who she is with Lila and Cassie because both of her friends can think highly of themselves while Amy can just be plain and ordinary. I really don’t understand why Amy allows this thing to happen to her. But throughout the course of the story, readers can actually see that Amy has confused feelings. Being the dynamic person that she is, Amy starts to change as the story progresses. Will she become meaner? Or will she go back to her good old self? That’s for you to find out!

Lila and Cassie remind me of the worse version of Mean Girls movie. Cassie may still seem tolerable despite her bad attitude, but Lila is the worst. She’s so superficial and vain and self-centered, so much so that I want to slap some sense out of her. It’s obvious that she takes advantage of the weak – definitely not a role model.

Moving on, this is the first time I’ve read a book with smoking, a little bit of drugs, and the what-nots being natural and normal in a person’s life. I may not be in favor of this book to be read by younger readers, but I guess this is also one way of getting a glimpse of the other side of reality we often choose to ignore and perhaps learning from it as well.

Overall, it’s a good book, but I didn’t enjoy it the way I expected to. Some parts are a bit predictable and I had a hard time getting into the story, hence the reading slump I experienced during the span of reading this book. However, one way or another, I like how readers can look into Amy’s mind because that way, they can understand her thoughts and feelings. Despite not being like Amy, I can still understand her situation and what she’s going through. She may be angry at the world, but on the other hand, I also understand her parents’ concern over her. At least I get to explore the bad side and contrast it with a good side to balance it out. I’m actually satisfied with the ending and I can say that this book gave me an open mind and bigger perspective about my surroundings.

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About Rhin

Expression through words. Finding contentment in the simple things in life. Embracing opportunities. Daring to live her dream. View all posts by Rhin

2 responses to “Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein

  • Tin

    Sometimes I catch myself feeling surprised whenever I read books about teens whose high school life is pretty wild. I am currently reading Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver and there are also drugs, cigarettes, and booze involved in the story.

    But I agree with you that when you read about people and experiences completely different from you and your own you get to develop an open mind. 😀

    • Rhin

      Yeah, I’m not really used to reading a story with a lot of smoking, drugs, and the like. But this is still tolerable than Fifty Shades of Grey that I’m reading at the moment.

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