Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Review: Please, Pretty Lights by Ina Zajec

Please, Pretty Lights by Ina Zajec
Release Date: July 21, 2014
Publisher: Booktrope
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Source: Copy provided for honest review
Rating: ★★★★1/2

It’s September when good girl Via Sorenson stumbles into a Seattle strip club, drunk and alone on her twenty-first birthday. Matt and Nick—best friends, bandmates, and bouncers—do their best to shield her from their sadistic cocaine-trafficking boss, Carlos. They don’t realize her daddy issues come with a forty-million-dollar trust fund and a legacy she would do anything to escape. 

She is actually Violetta Rabbotino, who had been all over the news ten years earlier when her father, an acclaimed abstract artist, came home in a rage, murdered her mother, then turned the gun on himself. Young Violetta was spared, hidden behind the family Christmas tree, veiled by the mysticism of its pretty lights whose unadulterated love captivated and calmed her.

Now, desperate to shed her role as orphaned victim, Via stage dives into a one-hundred-day adventure with Matt and Nick, the bassist and drummer of popular nineties cover band Obliviot. The rock-and-roll lifestyle is the perfect distraction—until she is rattled by true love. As Christmas looms closer, her notorious past becomes undeniable. How will she ever untangle herself from her twisted string of pretty lights?

Please, Pretty Lights is full of raw, grimy, damaged characters. The best kind, in my opinion.

Via witnesses the most horrific thing a child can see, at the age of 11. Her life changes that day and her world ends up revolving around that event. A decade later, on her twenty first birthday reality takes on her fragile shell of a life and dumps it in the gutter.

Drunk and looking for something, a release or a feeling of anything but numbness, she stumbles into amateur night at a local strip club. One night, changes her life for both better and worse.

Worse in that it opens her humble church mouse existence into drugs, sex and general debauchery. But better because it brings real people into her life. People that see her for who she is and not what she should or could be.

"I want to wash your hair."  "My hair?" "It will feel better to you than anything I could ever do with my dick," he said.

Via took some time to grow on me. At first, like any human with a heart, I felt for the little girl Via was. But it was harder to feel bad for the young woman who was constantly making really bad decisions. She grows on you though and as the layers fall away you gain such an understanding of why she is who she is. You begin to root for her, even after she lets you down time and time again.

Two characters that did not have to grow on me are Matt and Nick. They were adorably quirky from the jump. It was like insta-love for me. I am crushing on them both hard. They are far from perfect, they are perfectly flawed.

As the lives of these three intertwine and become dependent on each other, the darker the story gets. It’s a story of broken girl becoming a broken young woman and love saving her but only after it destroys her first.



It’s not the easiest book to read. It’s tragic, sad, gritty, dark and at times violent. The first, perhaps, fifty percent is quite slow but then you connect and so much happens – making it really hard to set aside.

I will say that I had some issue with the writing style. There were times were it felt frenetic. I had moments were I wondered why thoughts were thrown in where they were. Maybe it was to add to the frantic characters mindsets. I’m not sure, but there moments when I was a bit thrown.

Ultimately, my thoughts brought me to the belief that this is really a great debut. It won’t resonate with all readers. If you don’t like raw stories or you like graphic sexual experiences, this isn’t your book. If you like messed up characters, fighting to find a place in the world – then give this one a shot.


1 comment:

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