Tuesday 21 February 2012

So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman

Pages - 320
Published by Century, an imprint of Random House in February 2012
Book kindly sent by publisher for review.

All three of us walked in our sleep.
Later, I would think about what happened, I would tell myself she was sleepwalking. Acting out a nightmare. Sleepwalking ran in our family. Dreaming while walking. Dreaming while talking. I know this is not an answer. The real answer is too simple. 

Amazon Summary
When nineteen-year-old local waitress, Wendy White, disappears, the small town of Haeden, New York, is shaken to its core. Nothing like this has ever happened in this rural idyll and the police make little headway with the case, assuming that Wendy most likely ran away. But, six months later, Wendy's tortured body is found in the nearby woods. And she has only been dead a matter of days...
Local reporter, Stacy Flynn, desperate for a big story, knows that Wendy's case could be her big break. But, with little help from the local police, she's forced to investigate alone - though no one in the town is willing to talk about it.
Told from various perspective's - Wendy's, Stacy's and high school student Alice's - this compelling tale of murder, revenge and violence builds slowly and eerily to a shocking and unforgettable conclusion.
You have got to be made of granite, not to be affected by this book. This is probably the most disturbing story I have read in a while and not likely to be one I forget. It will have you stepping up your own personal security and may just give you sleepless nights. This book will upset you, it will spin your emotions out of control like a tornado of turmoil. 

It took me a while to get into the story. The various perspectives and jumps backwards and forwards in time has me a little confused to begin with. I wasn't sure who was to blame for Wendy's disappearance and found myself giving the evil daggers to the wrong person. As the story unfolded, and each layer was removed like the extra wrappings in Pass The Parcel, I found myself gasping as I realised what had actually happened. I actually felt quite sick when I worked it out at the same time as one of the characters. 

It took me a while to warm to Alice. I was actually a little fearful of what she was capable of. By the end of the book, I was carrying her on my shoulders like a mascot. Someone who appeared so cold and calculated was actually someone who could easily identify right from wrong and fix the wrongdoings. She realised she had chosen to block out what was actually happening and did something about it. Justice is required and Alice wears it like a second skin.  Flynn was an amazing character too, strong minded, she knew she was right, but no one would listen. 

This book showcases a small minded town. A town where many people knew something was going on but didn't do anything to stop it. Many of the town folk were involved but kept quiet. It really does make you feel uncomfortable. 

This is the type of book you could sit down and read again a second time and read it as a completely different story with your newly acquired knowledge. As I flicked through the first few chapters, I picked up on the subtle signs I missed the first time. It made me annoyed that I hadn't read it carefully enough the first time to pick up the information I needed. 

This is a cleverly written compelling book that is very disturbing. I had to push myself to read on, because I knew it would upset me. An important book that should be read.


  1. Great review. Really like what you say about a second reading would be a completely different read - I love to be able to reread books but always worry for books like this that it would be hard to reread when you know the outcome.

    1. I really do think you would see so much more than you did with the first read. You would know who to trust within the book.

  2. I have a difficult time with some subject matter, but I do believe that books like this are important to write. Thanks Viv :)

  3. Oh my gosh Viv. This sounds disturbing yet unputdownable. I'm adding it to my wish list.

  4. Honestly, I am a bit worried about the jumpy parts. I just do not like that.

  5. This book is an excellent example of Girl Power!

  6. I have had this on my wishlist for ages and you just made me want it even more! great review!


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