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review: “pretty dead” November 16, 2009

Posted by Katie in reviews.
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Pretty Dead by Francesca Lia Block.
HarperTeen // Hardcover // 208 pages.
Reviewed from purchased copy.

Charlotte’s not your typical vampire. She doesn’t spend her nights fun and blood-filled, instead she goes to school like a normal teenage girl. But what Charlotte wants makes her truly unique — her mortality back. She surrounds herself with friends, but her friends keep fading away. When Emily commits suicide, Charlotte finds her world is changing all over again. She’s suddenly breaking nails, feeling emotions again…like she used to when she was a human.

I’m still not exactly sure what I thought about this one. I liked the idea of a vampire wanting to be human, but Charlotte mostly sat around and moped about it. She also didn’t have the personality that I expected such an older vampire to have — she was very much frozen at about 16 in terms of her maturity.

The supporting characters are pretty flat and I guessed the twist about twenty pages into the book. I also felt like some of the mythology was left up in the air, I still don’t know exactly why Charlotte was reverting back to her human tendencies.

What saved this book, for me, were the gorgeous descriptions and rich words used to create Charlotte’s former and current worlds. These descriptions are what kept me reading, not the characters or plot. (This is strange for me, I’m normally a character reader, but will keep turning the page if the plot is mind-blowing.)

The cover is misleading, which bothers me. The cover is what jumped out at me and convinced me to purchase the book. It’s a beautiful cover, but not exactly right for the story. It comes across as almost a vampire-Gossip Girl blend, and while you will find designer clothes in Charlotte’s wardrobe, she’s definitely not as scandalous as Serena and Blair.

I liked the quickness of the story, I liked the conclusion (satisfying, without a long, drawn-out possibility of a sequel), and I think the book will do well in libraries if you book talk it.

Amazon
SWAN catalog
Francesca Lia Block

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