Published: May 6th 2011, Macmillan
Pages: 275 pages, paperback
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads): 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...
My review: I've read a number of reviews of Pretty Twisted, some positive and some negative, however, my opinion on the book lays somewhere in the middle. Overall I did enjoy the story and thought it certainly had an interesting plot; unfortunately I'm not sure it was executed quite as well as it could have been.
The subject matter in Pretty Twisted feels very current and I think the story will definitely grab the attention of teen readers because of that. I only wish Jonathan and Ros hadn't met in a chat room as that made the whole thing feel outdated. Maybe if they'd met on a social networking site it would have been a little more realistic.
The mystery side of the story was really great and had me gripped from the outset. I really enjoy a good mystery and this one was very well written. I think this is the strongest element of the book for sure and is what kept me reading, more so than the characters or the writing itself, which was okay but nothing special. I had no real problems with the writing but there were no beautiful passages of description, no funny one liners, nothing that stuck in my head.
The characters themselves were a little lacklustre and I wish we got to know Freya a little bit more. She doesn't get a lot of page time in the story but she's such an important part of the book it would have been nice if Blaxill had shown us more of her personality; if readers really had a chance to bond with her it would make the stakes feel a lot higher and make for a more exciting read.
Moving my few grumbles aside Pretty Twisted is definitely worth picking up. I did enjoy it and I liked that it was unique; I've read quite a few Internet-oriented books this year but nothing quite like this one. It's a quick, entertaining read that will certainly grab a lot of younger fans.
First line: 'We were shown into the police-station waiting room.'
Read if you liked…: Blood on My Hands - Todd Strasser
Total: 14/20 (B)