Pretty Things by Janelle Brown
This novel was heralded as one of the best of last year, and it was easy to see why. It grabbed me early on and kept me riveted to the pages.
The story revolves around a woman who makes her living by paying close attention to the feeds of young, rich Instagram influencers. She figures out some of the expensive items they possess and has a great way to steal and fence them. She lives by a code that seems to work for her. She steals only a few things from each person and never the most expensive of the lot.
She comes up with a plan to rob a family that had done her wrong in the past. With the help of her boyfriend, they create characters and backstories to infiltrate the a young socialite’s life. And it works.
I don’t want to give away any more of the story but I do want to share a few passages that spoke to me as I read it.
The Almighty Phone
The DJ drops a bass beat. The dancers cheer. They lift their phones toward the sky and vamp and click, because if this is a church then social media is their scripture; and that tiny screen is how they deify themselves.
Live for the Moment
I don’t really do social media. When you’re documenting everything you do, you stop living life for yourself and start living it as a performance for others. You’re never in the actual moment, just the response to the moment.
School is the Longest Con of all
He has a good ear for articulation and the patience required for the long con. And isn’t that what a college education is, after all? It’s the longest con of all: a promise that leaves your pockets empty and rarely deposits you where it says you’ll land. But maybe Lachlan’s talents are more suited for one-on-one tutoring—intense and focused and intimate. The way he’d once tutored me.
Pretty is Only Skin Deep
Nothing is ever as pure as it seems at first glance; there is always something more complicated to be found if you peel back the unmarred surface of pretty things. The black silt at the bottom of the pristine lake, the hard pit at the center of the avocado.
Move Beyond Surface Beauty
People don’t take the time to really look at each other anymore. We live in a world of surface imagery, skimming past each other, registering just enough to assign a category and label before moving on to the next shiny thing.
Anger is a magnificently blinding force. Once you step inside its scalding beam, it’s impossible to see past that light. Reason vanishes into the darkness beyond. Anything you do in fury’s service feels justifiable; no matter how petty, how small, how nasty or cruel.
Give It a Shot
I enjoyed this novel. It didn’t end how I expected it to, but come to think of it, I’m not sure how I expected it to end anyway. I just enjoyed the ride.
My Annual Reading Log (2021) – coming soon!