by Karin Slaughter
Published: September 29, 2015
Your mother and I had always been secretly pleased that you were so headstrong and passionate about your causes. Once you were gone, we understood that these were qualities that painted young men as smart and ambitious and young women as trouble.
I am unsure why I don’t read more thrillers. I almost always love them and read them very quickly. Maybe I’m too concerned about expanding my horizons by reading other genres, but when I read a thriller like Pretty Girls, it reminds me why I like them so much. I loved this book. It is extremely descriptive in terms of gory details about what has been done to the victims, so if you are squeamish, keep that in mind. I’m a fan of books of the darker variety, so I was fine with it. It can be pretty gross though.
Pretty Girls is about two sisters that never really dealt with their third sister vanishing more than 20 years ago. They both lead completely different lives and no longer talk to one another. They end up coming together when the husband of one of the sisters is murdered and they start uncovering a whole bunch of family secrets.
I was wary when I started that it was about violence towards women since that has been done so many times, but the more I read, the more I came to realize, it was not only about that. The general theme throughout the book was about putting a face and name to the victims instead of focusing on the killer. There were quite a few times when Slaughter had one of the characters talk about how the media and people would victim blame after a time or no longer remember the good about the victim, but only added bad things about the victim (true and false items).
I was impressed with the character development in the book since it usually isn’t strong in a standard thriller that is more plot-driven. At first, I empathized more with one sister, Lydia, who had struggled with her sister’s disappearance and had fallen victim to drug use. She was getting her life back on track for her own daughter and long-term boyfriend, but she was barely getting by. It was not as easy to empathize with the other sister, Claire, since she was a type-A, perfect trophy wife, but I started to like her when I learned that she had been arrested after taking a tennis racket to the knee of her tennis partner that was blaming victims for getting attacked and/or kidnapped. That really made me laugh. There were also parts of the book where the sisters’ father was writing letters to his missing daughter, telling her about his life and his marriage to her mother. It was really sad, but also really sweet to read about the parents that were obviously in love, but had struggled with this huge loss.
Many times, my mouth would actually drop open with a plot twist. I don’t think I saw any of them coming. There were some plot twists that I did not completely buy at first since they seemed too convenient, but as I kept reading, they were explained in a way that made sense and not as convenient as I first thought. The ending of this book was very satisfying. It was gruesome, but really satisfying.