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Extended Audio Sample So Much Pretty Audiobook, by Cara Hoffman Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,677 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Cara Hoffman Narrator: Aimée Bruneau Publisher: Dreamscape Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2011 ISBN: 9781611200607
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Set in a rural community steeped in silence and denial, So Much Pretty explores all parents’ greatest fear, that their child will be hurt. But it also examines a second, equally troubling question: What if my child hurts someone else?

The disappearance and murder of nineteen-year-old Wendy White is detailed through the eyes of journalist Stacy Flynn and a host of other richly drawn characters, each with their own secrets and convictions. After Wendy’s body is found, Flynn’s intense crusade to expose a killer draws the attention of a precocious local girl, Alice Piper, whose story intertwines with Wendy’s in a spellbinding and unexpected climax.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A haunting suspense novel.”

    Entertainment Weekly, "The Must List"

  • “Stylishly written, closely observed, and bracingly unexpected, So Much Pretty leads the reader into the treacherous psychology of denial, where the details of an event are already known, deeply and intuitively felt but not yet admitted to, reconciled, or revealed.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “In her fearless first novel…Cara Hoffman demolishes our illusions about country life by addressing the problems of poverty, domestic abuse, teenage violence, and environmental damage that are threatening to destroy the small communities of rural America…For all the passion in this intense narrative, Hoffman writes with a restraint that makes poetry of pain.”

    New York Times

  • “Dark...eerie...potent.”

    New Yorker

  • “Delivers a skillful, psychologically acute tale of how violence affects a small town.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Hoffman ambitiously mines fertile, controversial ground and asks a lot of tough, unanswerable questions; the most heartrending is simply ‘Why?’”

    Boston Globe

  • “The way investigative reporter Hoffman navigates the line between what is spoken and unspoken and portrays a community’s desire to address any crisis but the one next door makes So Much Pretty a staggering read.”

    Huffington Post

  • “A captivating tale of life and death in a small town...Hoffman’s careful weaving of each story line is seamless...outstanding.”


  • So Much Pretty looks searingly at the questions of justice and revenge. Many readers will find some of the answers shocking.”

    January Magazine

  • “Hoffman is a journalist who has reported on rural and Rust Belt poverty, environmental politics, and violence and adolescents. The theme of her first novel is innocence lost and idealism gone wrong…The pace quickens as Hoffman brings the story to its dark and chilling conclusion. Verdict: This gripping novel asks readers to judge whether a horrible crime can ever justify a terrible act of revenge. It will engage individuals and book groups interested in debating this tough topic.”

    Library Journal

  • “Hoffman’s debut novel takes readers to the unsexy world of rural New York and a farming community with more than one secret…The author tells the reader over and over that the women in this story are strong and, in the end, she proves it…Hoffman wanders into the cow pasture a little too often, but the intersection of the lives of two smart young women with a shared consciousness turns what could have been a boring tale into something worth reading.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “At the beginning of this unusual and compelling book, Aimee Bruneau struggles a little with the emphases of sentences, a weakness that is occasionally distracting. As the story gathers power, though, she drops into gear, and narrator and story become a thrilling combination…These elements work together in quite unexpected ways and rachet toward a stunning climax. Bruneau effectively builds sympathy for her characters and sustains the listener’s deftly managed misapprehension about where the plot is going.”


  • An Entertainment Weekly “Must Read”

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carm | 2/17/2014

    " Highly recommend this book. An enjoyable read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patricia Gligor | 2/5/2014

    " I enjoyed reading "So Much Pretty" by Cara Hoffman. The story takes place in a small town in upstate New York. Stacy Flynn, an investigative reporter who recently moved to Haeden from Cleveland to investigate environmental issues, finds herself drawn into the investigation when a young woman goes missing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sharon Maerten-Moore | 2/2/2014

    " I probably would have given this book 4 stars as it was pretty engrossing, but it was also pretty implausible. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynn | 1/31/2014

    " Disturbing. On many many levels. Moralistically questionable. So much...... stereotyping,..... Of everyone. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lindaellen | 1/23/2014

    " I had a hard time getting into this book, but then found I couldn't put it down. The story is told in several voices and lots of layers. The writing is excellent and the story suspenseful, but I can't say I loved the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 K. Taggart | 1/15/2014

    " This is a curious book to me. After reading it, I wasn't sure if it is terribly written or brilliant. While I didn't enjoy the content of the story, I liked that I wasn't sure what to make of it overall. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Anne Fitzgerald | 1/11/2014

    " If there could be negative stars given for a book, this book would get them. I strongly dislike this book. For the reason why please read what Laila wrote because she said everything I wanted to say and she wrote way better than I could have. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 JWA | 1/10/2014

    " Parts of this book were slow going, but overall I liked it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Moira Russell | 11/12/2013

    " Basically R-rated Jodi Picoult. Except I don't think even Picoult would write an ending that fake and stupid. Read The Women's Room or The Basement instead. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stacy | 10/27/2013

    " You go, girl. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heaether | 9/20/2013

    " Wow, wow, wow! This was one the most amazing books I have read on violence towards women. The multiple perspectives were confusing at first, and the reader is never given a conclusive answer on what happened, but the overall effect is chilling and oh so powerful. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather Welch | 8/31/2013

    " I found the book difficult to get into. There were so many characters and so many points of view that I had to keep up with. I particularly did not feel like the ending gave me closure nor was justice served for poor Wendy White. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sheri Mccrork | 2/3/2013

    " This was hard go get into and the multiple points of view and jumping around in the timeline made it harder to follow. The story itself is disturbing. Left me feeling sad and sick to my stomach which I guess is good because it left me feeling SOMETHING. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tanaura Seon | 4/20/2012

    " I was less than enamored with this well reviewed book. It left me feeling vaguely disappointed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bronwen | 2/15/2012

    " I didn't mind the writing style, but I felt that the story line involving Claire, Gene, Con, etc., was boring. I see how it enhanced the plot overall, but it was boring and its tone seemed a little smug and self-righteous. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sherry Berkin | 12/26/2011

    " Very creepy and disturbing (I almost couldn't sleep one whole night) but really held my attention. It's about a young woman who goes missing in a small town but the cops and town turn a blind eye. I can see this happening in real life, which is so sad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicole Adamowicz | 7/1/2011

    " Horrifying and fantastic at the same time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jackie | 6/4/2011

    " It was compulsively readable, but I'm not sure how I felt about it. The subject matter is difficult. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jeanne | 5/22/2011

    " Pretty good read. A bit hard to follow until near the end. Definitely worth reading but not one I can highly recommend. "

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About the Author
Author Cara Hoffman

Cara Hoffman is the author of the critically acclaimed novel So Much Pretty. She teaches writing and literature at Bronx Community College and lives in New York City.

About the Narrator

Aimee Bruneau is an actor, director, professor, narrator, and student of theater. She earned her MFA in acting from the American Conservatory Theater. She has worked for theaters in Chicago, San Francisco, Savannah, Seattle, and France. Her audio narration earned her a spot as a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award in 2010.