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Pretty Is: A Novel Audiobook, by Maggie Mitchell Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Maggie Mitchell Narrator: Tavia Gilbert, Nicol Zanzarella Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2015 ISBN: 9781504618090
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A fiercely inspired fiction debut in which two young women—an actress and an academic—face what really happened the summer they were twelve, when a handsome stranger abducted them

“Everyone thought we were dead. We were missing for nearly two months; we were twelve. What else could they think?” —Lois

“It’s always been hard to talk about what happened without sounding all melodramatic … Actually, I haven’t mentioned it for years, not to a goddamned person.” —Carly May

When precocious Lois and pretty Carly May were twelve years old, they were kidnapped, driven across the country, and held in a cabin in the woods for two months by a charismatic stranger. Nearly twenty years later, Lois has become a professor, teaching British literature at a small college in upstate New York, and Carly May is an actress in Los Angeles, drinking too much and struggling to revive her career. When a movie with a shockingly familiar plot draws the two women together once more, they must face the public exposure of their secret history and confront the dark longings and unspeakable truths that haunt them still.

Pretty Is beautifully defies ripped-from-the-headlines crime-story expectations and announces the debut of a masterful new storytelling talent.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A daring psychological thriller…I could not turn the pages fast enough. A wickedly good debut novel.”

    Elin Hilderbrand, New York Times bestselling author

  • “[A] stunning, multilayered debut…What a satisfying novel, with its shifting perspectives and competing stories and notion that our relationship to the truth changes with time and distance.”

    New York Times

  • “Both a skewering of America’s JonBenet Ramsey–style fixation with little girls in peril and a fascinating glimpse at the intensity of female friendship…Psychologically rich, with haunting detail, Mitchell’s work is a disturbing, insightful look at our deep fears.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Mitchell’s debut combines psychological suspense and literary fiction with well-drawn, believable protagonists who alternate as narrators. The story is strongest when we go inside the young women’s minds as they grapple with their shared past.”

    Library Journal

  • “An interesting and unexpected exploration of the aftermath of an abduction that left invisible scars…The voices of the two women are distinctive, each sharp and witty in her own way. A satisfying, unusual novel.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “A thrilling, literary psychological adventure that examines how pivotal moments can echo throughout our lives.”


  • “Mitchell’s fresh, spectacular, and bristly heroines illuminate this story of a crime survived. Pretty Is promises mountains of suspense, while offering a transfixing look at the urge to give voice, to make art.”

    Amity Gaige, author of Schroder, a New York Times Notable Book

  • “The best book of its kind I’ve read since Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin…A powerful plot that keeps the tension bubbling and the reader’s attention rapt, written by a natural-born storyteller blessed with emotional intelligence and sheer deftness of language. Pretty Is is a real thriller of a novel.”

    Fay Weldon, author of Habits of the House

  • “By turns poignant, funny, and terrifying, Pretty Is mines the contradictions of the heart with fascinating skill. The relationships in this novel are ones you have not seen before.”

    Leslie Daniels, author of Cleaning Nabokov’s House

  • A BookPage Book of the Day
  • A Pop Sugar Best Books Selection for 2015

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About the Author

Maggie Mitchell has published short fiction in a number of literary magazines, including the New Ohio Review, American Literary Review, and Green Mountains Review. Originally from upstate New York, she now lives in Georgia with her husband and cats.

About the Narrators

Tavia Gilbert is an acclaimed narrator of more than four hundred full-cast and multivoice audiobooks for virtually every publisher in the industry. Named the 2018 Voice of Choice by Booklist magazine, she is also winner of the prestigious Audie Award for best narration. She has earned numerous Earphones Awards, a Voice Arts Award, and a Listen-Up Award. has named her a Genre-Defining Narrator: Master of Memoir. In addition to voice acting, she is an accomplished producer, singer, and theater actor. She is also a producer, singer, photographer, and a writer, as well as the cofounder of a feminist publishing company, Animal Mineral.

Nicol Zanzarella is an Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator and a theater and television actress. She has appeared in productions of Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, The Winter’s Tale, Cousin Bette, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, and many others.