Emily Liebert is an author who has been on my extremely long list of authors to check out for quite some time, so I was pleased to see Pretty Revenge, her latest thriller, available for review. It’s a fast-paced and gritty revenge novel, and I’m so glad I decided to give it a try.
Kerrie O’Malley can tell you exactly when her life veered off course. She can also tell you who is to blame for it, but for eighteen years, she hasn’t known how to get back on track. Then, while watching TV one afternoon, inspiration strikes, setting Kerrie on a quest for the vengeance she’s been waiting so long to enact against the person she holds responsible for every bad thing that’s happened to her since the long ago night when everything she loved went up in flames.
It all started with Kerrie deciding to help a neighborhood girl out by offering her a place to stay after what seemed to be just another fight with her parents. Kerrie and Jordan aren’t friends, but Kerrie has admired Jordan’s grace, beauty, and popularity with both boys and girls for a couple of years, and wants nothing more than to be noticed by the older girl. But that night ends in tragedy, and the two girls don’t have contact with one another until that fateful afternoon when Kerrie sees Jordan’s face on TV and knows the time has finally come to get even.
Jordan seems to be living the good life. She’s left her humble beginnings behind, and is married to a wealthy banker in New York City. She now goes by the name Jordana Pierson, and has recently opened a wedding planning business, responsible for putting together some of the city’s most extravagant wedding receptions. Her life is everything Kerrie has always dreamed of having for herself, and now, she has devised a plan to bring Jordana to her knees.
Kerrie moves to New York and begins a new life for herself under the name Olivia Lewis. She manages to get hired as Jordana’s assistant, putting her in the perfect position to sabotage the life the other woman has worked so hard to build. Of course, this doesn’t end up being quite as easy to pull off as Kerrie expects, but she’s nothing if not resourceful. She’s waited far too long to get even with Jordana, and she’s determined that nothing will get in her way.
I love the way Ms. Liebert allows the reader to get to know both women. The story is told in alternating chapters, so we’re able to see things from both points of view. When I first started the book, I was expecting to really dislike Jordana. After all, she ruined Kerrie’s life and then left without a backward glance, but as the story progressed, I realized things weren’t nearly so cut and dried. Both Kerrie and Jordana are complex women with secrets they’ll do almost anything to protect, and it was impossible to know who the villain really was.
As is often the case with revenge-based thrillers, Kerrie’s plan isn’t completely believable, and I found myself needing to suspend my disbelief during certain key scenes. It’s not that things couldn’t play out the way the author wrote them, but some aspects of the plot felt a little too convenient, so I’m guessing your ability to enjoy the story as a whole depends on your willingness to sit back and enjoy the flow of the narrative without taking it too seriously.
Pretty Revenge may not be the best thriller I’ve read this summer, but neither is it the weakest. Its compelling characters and snappy dialog make it a great companion for a lazy afternoon at the beach, and I’m happy to recommend it to those looking for a quick, engrossing read.