Review of Pretty Thing by Jennifer Nadel

Published: 5th February 2015
Publisher: Little Brown
Pages: 256


When fifteen-year-old Becs meets Bracken, she is convinced she’s found her soul mate. So what if he’s much older? He understands her, she feels free with him and when he holds her she feels safe. But is she? Young women in the area have been sexually assaulted. It’s the talk of the school. And when Bec’s best friend Mary-Jane becomes his latest victim, the true dangers hit home: just as Rebecca is starting to wonder about her future with Bracken – poor M-J rapidly shrinks away from life…


Thank you to Little Brown for kindly sending me a review copy.

Immediately, the drama of the narrative hits you. Becs commanded the plot from the very first page with her distinctive, strong voice despite only being fifteen years old. When Becs meets Bracken in a pub, her love for him is straight away – typical teenager though, right? Neither of them mess around and the connection comes from both sides and could easily be sensed off a mile off.

“No rewind or delete buttons in real life.”

The incident which happened to Mary-Jane (best friend to Becs) was utterly vile and there’s more to the story than you first think. My first thought was that it was Bracken – I’m just going to throw that out there but then the bus driver didn’t seem all that great… Becs and her father didn’t have the best of relationships; she wants to be a free spirit whereas he wants to keep her under lock and key.

“I’ve met someone, I whispered to her.”

The plot wasn’t clearly set in 1976; minus the not-so-many song conversations every now and then. I would have thought it was in the now and there was no clear distinction but it wasn’t really needed as the characters and plot were so strong.

Becs and Bracken move very quickly and I had to keep reminding myself that he always knew that she was 15. There’s a particular scene in a restaurant which really took me by surprise – I’m not sure if it was general shock or too much shock… When they’re in bed for the very first time, Bracken says “I don’t want you to do anything you’re not ready for,” and I had to laugh because not once did he ask Becs if she was ready or not. She hurts but tells herself that it’s ok because she’s in love and the person you love will never hurt you…

“I’ve bled too. Only I made slightly less of a mess.”

It’s not always sunshine and daisies in the narrative; towards the end, it does proceed to get a lot darker. There are plenty of tears, shocks, confusion, broken hearts, family, as well as fake and true friends. Becs seems to fly through the days, only thinking of Bracken and forgetting about her studies and what anyone thinks of her.

When the ending neared, two people were dropped out of Becs life suddenly, without her even knowing and there was no explanation. The narrative ended on a note which I can not begin to think about… It was incredible but WHY END IT THERE? Jennifer’s writing is addictive, truly gripping and I strongly recommend that if you enjoy Young Adult books, you’ll devour this in 24 hours just like I did.

Twitter: @JNadel_Greens