pretty things by janelle brown | book review |
Two wildly different women–one a grifter, the other an heiress–are brought together by the scam of a lifetime in a page-turner from the New York Times bestselling author of Watch Me Disappear.
Nina once bought into the idea that her fancy liberal arts degree would lead to a fulfilling career. When that dream crashed, she turned to stealing from rich kids in L.A. alongside her wily Irish boyfriend, Lachlan. Nina learned from the best: Her mother was the original con artist, hustling to give her daughter a decent childhood despite their wayward life. But when her mom gets sick, Nina puts everything on the line to help her, even if it means running her most audacious, dangerous scam yet.
Vanessa is a privileged young heiress who wanted to make her mark in the world. Instead she becomes an Instagram influencer–traveling the globe, receiving free clothes and products, and posing for pictures in exotic locales. But behind the covetable façade is a life marked by tragedy. After a broken engagement, Vanessa retreats to her family’s sprawling mountain estate, Stonehaven: A mansion of dark secrets not just from Vanessa’s past, but from that of a lost and troubled girl named Nina.
Nina, Vanessa, and Lachlan’s paths collide here, on the cold shores of Lake Tahoe, where their intertwined lives give way to a winter of aspiration and desire, duplicity and revenge.
This dazzling, twisty, mesmerizing novel showcases acclaimed author Janelle Brown at her best, as two brilliant, damaged women try to survive the greatest game of deceit and destruction they will ever play.
“Don’t take too much; don’t get greedy. Take only what won’t be missed. And only steal from those who can afford it.”
Firstly, can we all just take a moment to admire the beautiful cover! I’m not going to lie. It was one of the reason that convinced me I needed to have this book. Cover aside, this is my first novel by Janelle Brown and it truly did not disappoint.
Pretty Things is a slow-burner, character-driven novel. At almost 500 pages, there were moments that felt too slow to me and wished it was just a tad bit shorter; however, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was well-written and does keep you intrigued from beginning to ending.
The story is written as alternating POVs from Nina, a con artist, and Vanessa, an Instagram influencer, which will always be a plus for me because it tends to capture my attention more. Nina uses her Instagram primarily as a way to track her targets and learn the ins and outs of their life. She has been tracking Vanessa for quite some time, so when Nina’s mother fall ill and needs a heaping amount of money for treatment, Nina decide it is time to insert herself into Vanessa’s life. What happens next is a story of deception, betrayal, and loyalty.
Now might also be the time for me to tell you that I personally would not classify this book as a psychological thriller. While there are plot twists and tension that will have you turning the page like there is no tomorrow, I think it’s more appropriate to classify it as a literary suspense. The suspenseful moments are woven throughout the story leaving you to try and anticipate the ending. The story plays on more than just the plot of con-artist and social class difference. It is a multi-layered book. You get to see the impact social media has on a person when they broadcast every moment of their lives, it brings awareness to the fact that you don’t need anyone to validate you, and through all the backstabbing and lies, it shows what forgiveness can do for you.
Overall, I found Pretty Things to be a gripping story with many twists and turns. I did have some minor questions and though I do wished it was a tad bit shorter, I absolutely enjoyed this story and the emotional yet suspenseful roller-coaster it took me on. I am so ecstatic that Nicole Kidman will be starring and producing Pretty Things.
“When you’re documenting everything that you do, you stop living life for yourself and start living it as a performance for others.”
Title: Pretty Things
Author: Janelle Brown
Publication Date: April 21, 2020
Goodreads: Pretty Things
Have you read Pretty Things yet? If so, have you started thinking about some cast members? Drop your guesses in the comments!