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Pretty Amy


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About the Author

Lisa Burstein is a tea seller by day and a writer by night. She received her MFA in Fiction from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University and is glad to finally have it be worth more than the paper it was printed on. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her very patient husband, a neurotic dog and two cats. Pretty Amy is her first novel. She never went to her senior prom. Burstein lives in Portland, OR.


Praise for Pretty Amy "Pretty Amy is a coming-of-age story without the comfort of padding... Lisa Burstein's debut novel traces the saga of Amy Fleishman, age seventeen. The book opens on what is one of the most significant days of Amy's life: the senior prom... When the girls get stood up for the prom, they make a woeful decision that leads to them getting arrested and facing real jail time. It's a life-defining moment ultimately forcing Amy to explore and confront who she is--and who she wants to be. Lisa Burstein dares to write a young adult story with a female protagonist that minimizes the romance, focusing instead on the character's psychological underpinnings and true motivation... Pretty Amy makes a great selection for the school market [allowing] young people to debate the actions and motivations of the characters without getting bored in the process ... " --New York Journal of Books "Lisa Burstein has one of the most refreshingly real YA voices I've read in years. If you're looking for a helluva trip that begins with an imploding prom night, cruises through the murky waters of the wrong side of the law, bad boys, tough love, and toxic friendship, and ends up with all the right surprises, please get your hands on a copy of Pretty Amy -- STAT! " --E. Kristin Anderson, Co-editor of Dear Teen Me, Authors Write Letters to their Teen Selves "In PRETTY AMY, Lisa Burstein has masterfully captured the private heart and soul of what it means--exactly how it hurts--and how vulnerable life is for teen girls. Girls who live in a constant storm fueled by self-doubt, disconnected parents, twisted friendships and normal rebellion all wrapped up in a craving need for love and acceptance. Burstein's writing is beautifully raw and hyper-real. PRETTY AMY will shock you, make you laugh, cry, yell, cheer, look in the mirror and examine your own friendships as you relate to one or more of the unforgettable characters in this story." - Anne Eliot, Author of Almost

Gr 9 Up-Lacking self-confidence, Amy Fleishman feels like a misfit at her high school-until she meets beautiful Lila and badass Cassie. Amy is happy to become the openly admitted third wheel and to go along with whatever trouble they brew up. Then on prom night, the dates that Lila arranges for them stand the girls up, and Lila breaks into her date's house. She finds and takes a large bag of marijuana, and the girls are caught with it by police. When Amy is presented with an opportunity to testify against Lila and Cassie to avoid jail time, her reluctance to save herself forces her to evaluate the path that her life has taken. The rawness of the situation is realized as she finally admits that she is "more scared to be friendless than to be locked away." This candid story serves as a cautionary reminder against the power of peer pressure and the need to consider the potential consequences of one's actions without reading like an "I told you so" lecture from an adult. Teens will be drawn in and relate to Amy's innermost thoughts-particularly the feeling of not having control over her own life. At one point, she says, "the world would still be making plans for me, whether I was present or not." Burstein carries this theme of freedom throughout the novel through AJ, Amy's beloved pet bird. Though in different ways, both Amy and AJ gain freedom in the end, making this a satisfying read.-Nicole Knott, Watertown High School, CT (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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