When I read Watch Me Disappear I was struck by Brown’s gorgeous prose, but found myself wondering what might happen if she pushed herself just a little further and tightened up her characters a bit more. I am thrilled to report that she does just that in Pretty Things, combining razor-sharp character arcs with poignant, thought-provoking questions to give readers one of the most unputdownable novels I have read in several months. She unites themes of poverty, privilege, mental illness and the influence of social media in tight, clever ways that elevate the mystery at the heart of her book, rather than weighing it down ... Brown excels at immersing readers in both women’s heads, allowing us to relate to them equally to the point that every situation, tense encounter and furthering of the plot becomes elevated by moral grayness, ambiguous motives and brilliant combinations of privilege and power. This is a smart novel, clearly influenced by the social media age, but it is also an emotionally resonant one that will leave you thinking not only about what you choose to post online, but why you have chosen to post it ...
While that alone might be enough to call this book a must-read, it is Nina and Vanessa who make it unforgettable. It is rare for an author to present hero and victim so equally, but here Brown reminds us that we are all complicated, layered and flawed, and the pace at which she reveals her characters’ motives is breakneck and endlessly compelling ... I am absolutely on the edge of my seat anticipating her next book. She gets better and better every time, and it is thrilling to be able to watch her talent grow.
Brown’s fourth novel...is a riveting tale of secrets and deception ... Moving back and forth between Nina and Vanessa’s perspectives, the story is a slow burn that comes to an explosive conclusion ... With flawless suspense, masterly storytelling, and a plot that hits all the notes of our Instagram world perfectly, this novel is a must-read.
Brown...offers a glittering, high-stakes drama, stacking childhood nostalgia against the power to reinvent oneself in the age of social media. Packed with plot twists, this casts a deep spell for fans of the 2013 book-turned-film The Bling Ring.
Despite a catchy opening, the stakes fade and the narrative flags during Nina and Lachlan’s overlong ruse, and long flashbacks and shifts in perspective drag out what quickly becomes a predictable storyline. There’s promise here, but many readers will find their interest waning.
... you’ll hate everyone in this book. That is surely Brown’s...intention as she’s the one making them natter on this way. She also makes them vomit much more than is normal, whether it’s because they’re poisoning each other or because they’re just so horrified by each other’s behavior. Definitely stay to see how it all turns out ... Fiendishly clever.