(first published May 1st 2011)
Ros has a secret crush on Jonathan. Jonathan is massively hung up on Freya (even after she dumps him). And Freya? Well, Freya is a beautiful enigma. Even more so when she goes missing without a trace . . . PRETTY TWISTED is narrated in alternating chapters by Jonathan (16) and Ros (14) who meet online at a time when things are going sour for Jonathan. His stunning girlfriend, Freya, is away at college and they are growing apart - consequently, he is struggling with his own sense of identity. Ros is also experiencing some problems - one of her friends is dating an older man whose strange behaviour gives Ros cause for concern. Meanwhile, the local news has been reporting some kidnappings of teenage girls. So when Freya dumps Jonathan, then seems to disappear off the face of the earth, he enlists Ros' (somewhat reluctant) help in tracking down the girl he still loves. With danger lurking around every corner, their stories become inextricably linked in a way nobody could have predicted . .
I should have known just from the text on the front of the book that it would be pretty unrealistic in response to the whole scenario that had been painted out in words. I know that the point of a book is to twist reality and to make it so much more, but when the sense of reality really does seem to be taken out of context in a way that means you actually have no awareness of what is going on you cant help but feel that actually the athor had no idea what was going on either. I have read books about missing girls before and they usually all end up pretty dramatic, the police go searching a suspect is arrested, others have gone missing and are found dead or never found at all. But this jjust seemed to be so different. It was a whole week before anyone pointed out that she had gone missing and two people who had never met face to face met and were close enough to the people that they said they would be. There just seems to be a lot there that makes you go heh cos that would really happen in real life. The fact is if a girl of 16 goes missing for a week someone would have reported it sooner, it wouldnt take a week for someone to point out that she was missing and surely she would not have been so stupid to leave things lying around that others could hack into anyway. It just makes you think in a way that makes you pick the book apart rather than enjoying it.
As for the whole two people from the internet meeting up, yes it can and does happen. I myself have met people off the internet that have been who they have said they wre, but at there age, of 14 and 16, I was barely allowed on the computer without the parental restrictions on and I know that this is still the same for a lot of people there age, so why would two teenagers suddenly have there own computer in there bedrooms that they can only use? it all seems a little unbelieable to me because the truth is that is very unlikely to happen. The most realistic part of the novel for me was the parents reactions because you know that it is how they would react were it to occur in real life. I am after all twenty two and I still get the whole meeting people of the internet safety speech that requires me to promise that I do not either go alone or without telling someone who I am meeting and where. For me, yes, the parents were the most believable part because they just felt very real. You could see that they were just concerned and caring parents of teenagers that seemed to make them worry and that is the same for a lot of the teenagers out there.
I can see this perhaps being the sort of book that young teenagers are meant to read with the view and concept that it will scare them from doing such stupid things, but for a young adult, no I would say this is not the sort of book for them. There was just to much to pick apart and it was all predictable anyway. the fact that three strange men came into the whole novel seemed to suggest they had something to do with Freya and that they would be linked somehow and someway to the other girls that had gone missing. for me the book was just so unrealistic and I really did not enjoy it as much as I perhaps my younger sister did, but then she is 14 so perhaps it is more relatable for someone of her age? Someone a bit more naive of the dangers that there are out there in the big wide world. I wish I could have the acception of giving the book a higher rating but for me this deserves nothing more than a its ok rating of two stars. there was just nothing thriving and alive about this book for me. It was cliche and predictable which meant you knew the ending before you had even finished and gotten past the beginning. its not a novel I have intentions of picking up and reading again and its not one I would necessarily recommend to others either.