Best friends Evie, Krista, and Willow are just trying to make it through their mid-twenties in New York. They’re regular girls, with average looks and typical quarter-life crises: making it up the corporate ladder, making sense of online dating, and making rent.
Until they come across Pretty, a magic tincture that makes them, well…gorgeous. Like, supermodel gorgeous. And it’s certainly not their fault if the sudden gift of beauty causes unexpected doors to open for them.
But there’s a dark side to Pretty, too, and as the gloss fades for these modern-day Cinderellas, there’s just one question left:
What would you sacrifice to be Pretty?
I was really intrigued by this book, especially after reading the chapter sampler that ‘Books and the City’ kindly gave me at the spring blogger event
. It didn’t sound like anything I’d read before so it was very excited to try something new.
The book is as fascinating as it sounds. The writing style is great, it’s sharp and packs a punch, it’s a lot darker than most of the books I read and liked that about it. I’m used to very cosy and warm writing (which i equally enjoy), so it was a great contrast.
Set in New York this book is part women’s fiction and part something else. I can’t quite put my finger on what though…realistic fantasy? Obviously the Pretty potion couldn’t happen in real life, but the setting was set in the world we know. The potion was almost fairy tale or maybe fable is a better way of putting it, as there was lessons to be learned.
Obviously body image and beauty standards is one that comes into question, but also covers feminism quite heavily. It’s very topical as while in today’s society we are more socially aware, we still have publications that have numbers articles a week or month about who looks like they’ve gained a few pounds, or dared to go outside without make up.
The three characters are all flawed (as are we all), both as regular and pretty, but while I found myself wondering what the hell some of the characters were doing at times (Krista especially), I was enthralled in the story that I could barely put this down.
Evie started out as the most likeable character but possibly changed the most throughout the book, and until very close to the end it was for the worse. However I think that Evie wouldn’t recognise the person she changed into, both physically AND on the inside. Yes she was still a fierce feminist, but she failed to see her reliance on the potion to land her idol as a girlfriend as slightly ironic compared to her disdain at things such as makeup. We can do desperate things for love sometimes, but the potion seemed to make her forget all sense, though it’s easy to see that from an outside perspective.
It was great that in her professional life she was trying her best to make a difference, but I think she should have realised that no matter what she says, they aren’t going to change. That is a defeatist attitude I realise and if it is just one person standing up maybe things won’t change, but there are strength in numbers and the book makes you stop and think.
Krista is one crazy character and probably my most disliked initially. She was inconsiderate and her antics means she didn’t help herself in any shape or form. Krista was always doing crazy things, whether it’s missing auditions for shopping or having some fun with an award statue, she was impulsive and that’s who she was throughout most of the book. However I think she possibly ended up the character I had the most fun with and she definitely seemed to grow the most as a person.
Willow I would love to get to know more, she was very withdrawn and incredibly sensitive and insecure. Her story was heart breaking at times and I kind of want a Novella on each character as follow ups!
This book was a surprise when I first heard about it, and I’m glad I had the chance to read it. Smart, fresh and an incredibly engaging read from the beginning till end.
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review