Pretty Thing

Publisher: Corsair

Nadel's first YA novel is set in 1976 (a playlist of music is appended!), but apart from the references to LPs, tapes and kaftans there's little to distinguish its subject matter from a twenty-first-century novel about a girl's first sexual experience, which is graphically described.

Becs is fifteen, and her willing liaison with Bracken, twice her age, which would now be categorized as grooming, results in pregnancy, and changes her entire outlook on life. Nevertheless Nagel compares Becs' experience with that of her best friend Mary-Jane, whose encounter with a flasher leaves her permanently and devastatingly traumatised. Becs is forced to make decisions about her future with which readers will empathize, but ultimately we are left with no clear outcome.

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