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Laura Wiess

Author of Such a Pretty Girl

5 Works 1,556 Members 90 Reviews 4 Favorited

About the Author

Also includes: Laura Weiss (2)

Image credit: Author Laura Wiess

Works by Laura Wiess

Such a Pretty Girl (2007) 883 copies
Leftovers (2008) 307 copies
How It Ends (2009) 193 copies
Me Since You (2014) 92 copies
Ordinary Beauty (2011) 81 copies


2007 (6) 2008 (5) abuse (43) ARC (8) books-i-own (6) child abuse (11) coming of age (7) contemporary (8) drama (5) dysfunctional family (7) family (24) fantasy (5) father (7) fathers (4) fiction (83) friendship (18) incest (27) jail (6) Kindle (6) love (9) novel (5) own (14) pedophile (5) rape (31) read (11) read in 2007 (5) read in 2008 (11) realistic fiction (17) relationships (7) revenge (13) romance (6) sexual abuse (33) teen (19) teen fiction (5) to-read (190) unread (8) wishlist (7) YA (58) young adult (87) young adult fiction (14)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Wiess, Laura
Legal name
Laura Battyanyi Wiess
20th Century
New Jersey, USA
Places of residence
Pennsylvania, USA



When I first started reading this book I was a little put off. The father of the mail character is a cop and things go horribly wrong while he is trying to talk a guy out of committing suicide with his infant son. Obviously the guy jumps with his son in his arms, we then get the fallout from that tragic event. The dash cam video is released and Rowen (main character) has to deal with the backlash from that at school and around town. Her father is suspended from the force pending an investigation and during that suspension he becomes depressed.
The story is told from Rowen's POV and while it is a sad story, you get some perspective of just how much a strangers suicide can affect people.
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chaoticmel | 16 other reviews | May 18, 2024 |
They promised Meredith nine years of safety, but only gave her three.

Her father was supposed to be locked up until Meredith turned eighteen. She thought she had time to grow up, get out, and start a new life. But Meredith is only fifteen, and today her father is coming home from prison.

Today her time has run out.

I finished it in one sitting at my job (I'm a receptionist at my university's library) so all I really do is catch up on my reading. This book from the first sentence up until the very last, really captivated me. Weiss has a very fluid, familiar voice that I haven't come across in a long time. This book made me so very angry, and so overjoyed at the same time. I clung so close to Meredith, hoping that she could stay strong to see it through until the end. The relationship she had with Andy was a little strange to me, but I wasn't very surprised by it considering the lack of interest her terrible mother has taken in her life. I HATED her mother and father with a passion. She's one of those women that can't survive without a man and given the chance will choose him over her child, each and every time. Her father is just a sick and evil man, and I really looked forward to the end he got. However, it's a tad bit unrealistic to sexually abuse several children (including your own) and only get 9 years in prison. Maybe if the father was never sent to prison or was cleared for all charges due to lack of evidence or some other bullshit that usually happens in cases like these, the plot may have been a bit more realistic.

Laura Weiss, thank you for writing this book, as it makes those around us more aware of the dangers of child abuse and how rampant it runs in our world. I'm currently starting Leftovers and I know I won't be disappointed!
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junjibby | 36 other reviews | Feb 25, 2024 |
The first chapter, told from Helen's viewpoint as she remembers watching Hanna grow up and how their lives drifted apart, made me tear up. And that pretty much sums up how I felt about this book in general.

I wasn't depressed by the novel, or unduly unhappy after reading it, but so much affection could be felt between Helen and Hanna that it made me miss my grandmother (who died a year and half ago, but who battled Alzheimer's for years before that). A lot of what Hanna feels--in regards to the changes in her 'Gran's' behavior and mannerisms, though different from what changed my grandmother, resonated strongly within me.

Other pieces of How It Ends, such as Hanna's relationship with her boyfriend and the communication block that seemed to be in place between herself and her parents, spoke less to me. In regards to her parents, there seemed to be a loss of understanding between Hanna and her parents. In one scene Hanna questions her mother about what she would do if she caught her husband cheating on her.

And I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't her easy, "Divorce him."
"You would break up our family?"
"I can't stand that you just said that," she said, grabbing a bottle of Italian dressing by the neck and shaking it like she was trying to kill it. "If your father cheated on me, then he made the decision to risk every single thing we had together, knowing that this would destroy us, so no, Hanna, it wouldn't be me breaking up the family, it would be him."

(pages 252-253, How It Ends)

And then a discussion of unconditional love ensues. I think Hanna's viewpoint and her mother's (and her father's for that matter) are so skewed in opposite directions that Hanna can honestly not understand where they are coming from. But you love him, so why wouldn't you forgive him? Throughout the book she struggles with this question. She loves Seth, so she should forgive him because of that love, not because he deserves it or she truly believes he will change.

At times Hanna is an interesting character, but others she is so typically 'teenager' that I grind my teeth in frustration. Maybe because I am beyond the age where I want to hear about petty friendship squabbles or minor dramas involving clothing and nails. Helen, by contrast, is a very interesting woman. She tries so hard to be what Hanna needs, but still Hanna slips away and Helen doesn't understand why (her and her husband Lon are childless, she is Hanna's honorary grandmother). Then as she grows older and more frail everything she ever wanted to tell Hanna--about the truth of her life, about the truth of life in general--becomes vastly important, but it becomes almost impossible.

The ending left me a little hollow inside, from feeling so much tension and emotions throughout the book. Like Hanna I always want to hear stories with Happy Endings when I feel sad, or conflicted with the world. I turn to romances more often when I'm depressed then my normal standby of dark fantasy specifically because I want to read about a tormented relationship that in the end works out happily no matter what ridiculous things happen. Reading about the bittersweet solution the heroine finds to save the world at the cost of her lover, family and life...not so much.
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lexilewords | 16 other reviews | Dec 28, 2023 |
Rowan is a normal teenager. A little rebellious. A little bit overtaken by her dominant BFF. She loves her family and worries about saving money for a car, what clothes to wear, and how people at school see her. All that changes the morning that a man decides to kill himself and his baby boy. Rowan's dad was the responding officer that morning, and while he's dealt with his share of tough situations over the years, the backlash that comes from the media and public because of this incident pushes him into a severe depression. For weeks he's unable to function, becoming someone that Rowan doesn't even know. Worse than that, Rowan knows that if she hadn't been skipping school that day, her dad wouldn't have been anywhere near the bridge and the terrible thing that happened. Another person touched by this deed was Eli. He and Rowan form a bond of sorts while she's trying to hold everything together.

Then another tragedy strikes and nothing will ever be the same again.

My Thoughts:
This is my first book by this author, so I wasn't sure what to expect here. I don't know if her other books are this dark and deep, but next time I read one (and there will be a next time), I'm making sure I'm mentally prepared for it.

For the first 1/3 of this book, I was in love with it. I loved Rowan and how real she was. She wasn't a "good girl", but she wasn't a rebellious bad-ass either. She was just a teenager. She reminded me of me or any of my friends. Then holy mother of God, this book got dark. The entire last 2/3rds of the book was just death, depression, and people spiraling out of control. I honestly don't think I've read another book that had more death in it. Babies die for crying out loud (as in plural, more than one)!!

So I'm not saying that I didn't like the book. I did. Like I said, I really loved Rowan. And Eli was pretty amazing as well. But I really didn't know that we were going to have to go along with Rowan and her mother on their entire, giant grieving process. Not to be cold-hearted, but it got old after a while. I get it, you are destroyed over this.... does the whole book have to be about that?? And it might be authentic (I'm sure it is), but every time they took one step forward, they would take 3 steps back. It was really frustrating to read about. And the thing is I was really pissed at Rowan's friend Nadia for feeling the exact same way I was, so that makes me feel kind of shitty for saying it at all. She had every right to grieve and grieve however she needed to. I just didn't want to read about the same thing for that many pages.

Besides the characters and writing, I also loved the overall "ripple effect" theme. The idea that a tragedy touches so many more people than you think. The idea that tiny little things that you do can have consequences that you never saw coming. I'm not one to second guess the little stuff. You could what-if yourself to death that way... but it is worth thinking about actions and consequences.

So should you read this?? If you are in an emotional reading mood: YES!! This is a beautifully written book and it's about some really important stuff. But it's dark and sad, emotional and there's a constant heartbreak that comes and keeps on coming.

OVERALL: I enjoyed the characters and the beautiful way it was written, but it was a little too dark for my tastes. I needed something positive to happen in this book and I never fully got that. It's worth reading, but you gotta be in that deep, emotional mood.

My Blog:

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Michelle_PPDB | 16 other reviews | Mar 18, 2023 |



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