Book Review: Pretty Things
By Alexis Mercer
Last year sometime I pared down my subscriptions to things I wasn’t using all that often. Random apps that were a few dollars here, a few more there. It felt really great to be reclaiming some of the money that I had apparently been letting slip out of my electronic wallet.
One of those subscriptions was to Audible. I did listen occasionally to books through the app, but not enough to justify the monthly cost. And I had acquired quite a few “freebies” in the time I had been a member, so I decided I would cash in on all those tokens, stock my library, and end the payments.
Pretty Things, by Janelle Brown, must have been one of those “if you liked ‘x’, you’ll love THIS book” because I truly have no idea how I came to choose it. But this past September when I was in the thick of training for the half marathon I was going to run in November, I decided to switch up my listening from music or podcasts and try a book.
From the minute I started listening, Pretty Things had me hooked. The prologue includes a quote about not being able to dislike someone, even if he has wronged you, after knowing who he is. This idea has always rung true to me, and being that Brown used it to anchor the reader at the beginning, I was really hoping the rest of the book would live up to my expectations.
Did it ever.
In fact, it so far exceeded them that I had a hard time not listening to it when I wasn’t running. A few mornings I allowed myself the extra time listening in the car on my way to work when my kids weren’t with me (definitely don’t plan on listening to it around little ears). But other than that, I stuck to just while running so I wouldn’t run out of book too soon.
Nina Ross is a college graduate living in New York City turned con artist living with her ailing mother in Los Angeles. She learned the trade from her mother, but keeps the secret from her so as to protect her mom from knowing where the money for her treatments are coming from. Lachlan, Nina’s boyfriend, is also a con artist. Together they scam the rich and famous: those too wealthy to be much affected by their losses.
Vanessa Liebling is a privileged heiress who grew up with absolutely everything and anything she could want. Or did she? Her sheltered life is shattered when her brother and mother both struggle with mental illness, but Vanessa forges on with her social media influencer life, outwardly projecting perfection.
Nina, Lachlan and Vanessa’s lives come crashing together in an unexpected and intriguing way at Lake Tahoe. The twists and turns of the tale kept me guessing until the very end.
There was 1 hour, 49 minutes left on the audible track as of this morning. The suspense had been building and I knew that I was going to run until I finished the last chapter. So off I went on a trail run in the snow, anxiously awaiting the outcome of the story.
At one point late in the book I audibly gasped and then started laughing at the unexpected change of events (yes, while running….alone….I’m sure the squirrels were amused). It was that good.
Now I find myself wondering if I’ll subscribe to Audible for another month or two so I can purchase more of Janelle Brown’s books. The fact that I could run for actual hours to hear more of her tale leads me to believe another of her books would be worth the renewed subscription.
Just so long as I remember to cancel again after I purchase. Or I’ll be back where I started, though undoubtedly better off for having enjoyed this novel.
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