"Years ago, in the town of Saxon Falls, young Kelsey Willard disappeared and was presumed dead. The tragedy left her family with a fractured life—a mother out to numb the pain, a father losing a battle with his own private demons, and a sister desperate for closure. But now another teenage girl has gone missing. It’s ripping open old wounds for the Willards, dragging them back into a painful past, and leaving them unprepared for where it will take them next.
Bureau of Criminal Investigation agent Mark Foster has stumbled on uncanny parallels in the lives of the two missing girls that could unlock clues to a serial killer’s identity. That means breaking down the walls of the Willards’ long-guarded secrets and getting to a truth that is darker than he bargained for. Now, to rescue one missing girl, he must first solve the riddles that disappeared with another: Kelsey Willard herself. Dead or alive, she is his last hope."
Pretty Girls Dancing was a book that I was instantly pulled into from almost the very first page. It wasn't an easy read by any means due to the subject matter but it was very compelling and hard to put down. One of the things that this author did really well was make me think even if it wasn't always comfortable to do so. There was this moment where Kelsey's mom thinks about how if she knew that she had limited moments with her that she might have appreciated them more (I'm paraphrasing here but you get the gist) - and doesn't that just hit you in the gut? Because how easy is it as a parent to get overwhelmed or swept away by life and not appreciate the every day moments with your children? I know that it struck me and is something that I will keep turning back to in the next few weeks. The mystery portion of this book was done so well! I loved that as the reader we were left wondering about Kelsey's fate while also worrying about Whitney who had just recently disappeared. The book is told in multiple viewpoints - from Janie (Kelsey's sister), Kelsey's Mom and Dad, the main detective on the case, and then Whitney herself. Whitney's chapters were honestly the hardest to read. This might be considered as a slight spoiler but we get to witness exactly what she is going through while missing. Plus, there is this constant layer of tension and danger as I was forced to wonder what next and would she be found in time. The suspense and tension in this book was constant throughout but those last one hundred and fifty pages - well it was just intense! I stayed up way too late on a work night but it was completely worth it. This isn't a book that I will be forgetting about soon and an author that I cannot wait to read more of!
Overall, I really enjoyed my time with this book and am so excited to have found this author! It wasn't always an easy for me to read as a parent but it was just so compelling that I couldn't put it down. I love that this author has a bunch of other books for me to check out and look forward to! I've been reading a lot of thrillers and mysteries as of late - this is a book that really stood out and was different than the others I've been reading. Don't get me wrong - it is a mystery but I just felt that it was also something more. A book that makes me think and self evaluate as a parent is a really good read in my opinion. I can easily recommend this book to other readers but especially to mystery and thriller fans.
Bottom Line: A suspenseful and thrilling read that will stick with me for a while!