4 Muffins Book Reviews

Review of ‘Pretty Is’ by Maggie Mitchell

I receive this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I have been so excited to start it for ages, but I’ve always picked up books ahead of it because I wanted to read them more at the time. I’m so glad I finally picked this book up, it was a great and very interesting read.

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book


‘Pretty Is’ by Maggie Mitchell

Everyone thought we were dead. We were missing for nearly two months; we were twelve. What else could they think? -Lois

It’s always been hard to talk about what happened without sounding all melodramatic. . . . Actually, I haven’t mentioned it for years, not to a goddamned person. -Carly May

The summer precocious Lois and pretty Carly May were twelve years old, they were kidnapped, driven across the country, and held in a cabin in the woods for two months by a charismatic stranger. Nearly twenty years later, Lois has become a professor, teaching British literature at a small college in upstate New York, and Carly May is an actress in Los Angeles, drinking too much and struggling to revive her career. When a movie with a shockingly familiar plot draws the two women together once more, they must face the public exposure of their secret history and confront the dark longings and unspeakable truths that haunt them still. Maggie Mitchell’s Pretty Is beautifully defies ripped-from-the-headlines crime story expectations and announces the debut of a masterful new storytelling talent.

My Review

Pretty Is falls under the category of thriller suspense, and explores the themes of motives behind why we do things. Set in America, across a few different states, the events are told through the narratives of 2 girls, both of whom were abducted by a man by the name of Zed. There is a massive intertextual section toward the middle of the book, which brought a lot of context to what happened in the past lives of these girls, even though it was contextualised as literary fiction. The plot becomes a lot more fast paced, especially after the intertextual section where the plot line really begins to develop.


There are two main characters who are involved in the plot line, who are the two abducted girls; Lois and Carly May (although both have changed their names or adopted pseudonyms throughout the story). I definitely preferred Lois over Carly May, possibly because I could relate to er more, and I found Carly a bit too self obsessed, mainly because of how her character was written and developed. Overall, the characters were very well developed and the characterisation was incredible! The story definitely kept me guessing as well, and the characterisation was a big part of that, especially with Sean’s character and the way he acted throughout the storyline. My favourite part of the book was the tension between Lois and Sean on the bridge, as I felt that was a massive development in his personal storyline. This particular scene was written very well, making sure the tension was kept consistent throughout that scene and every scene involving those characters from the after. Despite this, there wasn’t really anything in the story that sparked any emotion in me.



Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in thrillers, especially with a heavy emphasis on suspense.

My Rating: 4 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):


The Book Depository

  Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)

By bookmuffin

I like books and tea. MA Children's Literature student.

2 replies on “Review of ‘Pretty Is’ by Maggie Mitchell”

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