Close Your Pretty Eyes Paperback – 7 Nov 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
Eleven-year-old Olivia has been in care since the age of five, after being taken away from her violent mother, and it's left her a miserable ball of rage. But now she's being fostered by a kind new family - can they make it work?
Within a few pages, my heart was already breaking for Olivia. She's been through so much, and is so scared all the time she doesn't know how to react to things and it comes out as fury and tantrums. But despite what she thinks of herself, and how she acts sometimes, she's not a bad kid. I honestly think Olivia might be the most three-dimensional main character I've EVER read, she comes alive so well, and although she's wise beyond her years about many things, she's also very much still a kid. The ghost story entwined with the main plot is seriously creepy at times too. I'm not one for dark books usually, but none of the violence (often in brief flashback) is spelled out graphically, and there's a great deal of warmth in the book too. The writing is also brilliant, and I cared so much about Olivia I was completely gripped by the story. Highly, highly recommended.
I read this book in one sitting and I will admit there were tears threatening to escape rather frequently. Now, while I loved Olivia I didn't always like her, at times she's really awful but that makes her so believable. She's angry and pushes people away because if there is one thing she's learned is that no one ever stays. I know what that's like, so to me Olivia was utterly convincing as a character.
Olivia believes she has super powers, which is why she hears the ghost in her new home and nobody else can. She can't sleep because it's not safe. Between Olivia's emotional minefield and the events at the house you really are in for an emotional roller-coaster.
Close Your Pretty Eyes had a good story but it's Olivia that makes this book wonderful.
I have an inkling that she was in care or a foster parent or something, I am sensing a slight theme, like the Jacqueline Wilson for teens!
The characterisation of Olivia, the main character, is incredible. She is not a likeable person and during the course of the book she does some truly horrible things, but despite this you find yourself wishing for the best for her and hoping for a happy ending. She is a complicated character but all her flaws are rooted in the way she was treated in her past by her mother and subsequent foster parents - this all unfolds through the book, cleverly interwoven with the story of current events. You are presented with a lot of history but it never feels like you have been taken out of the story to learn it - it is seamlessly worked through in such a way that you understand Olivia's feelings and actions even if you can't agree with them.
I particularly loved the fact that Nicholls chose to use a real person from history as the ghost - the research she had clearly done meant that the danger Olivia felt in the presence of the baby farmer's spirit was alarmingly real. Even though you were never quite sure if the hauntings were truly happening or if they were merely the workings of a frightened and damaged child's over-active imagination.
It is this uncertainty that makes the book so chilling - the ghost story about murdered babies is creepy but Olivia's story of trauma, abuse, mistrust and fear is even more horrifying. And completely believable.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very note worthy story telling. A compelling read for young adults.Published 1 month ago by samantha harris
I'm not the target audience (because I'm 50) but I really loved this. The main character was so real she leapt off the page, and I read it pretty quickly because I found it hard... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Deb
This gripping, but sometimes harrowing, story begins as Olivia arrives at her sixteenth home. Our strong-willed, eleven year old narrator has been in care since she was five years... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Jan
I really liked this although I was a bit confused by the ghost story parts. I couldn't work out if it was real or in her head.Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
Close your Pretty Eyes is a brave and bold book because the protagonist is immediately dislikeable and at times difficult to identify with. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Rhian Ivory
'Close Your Pretty Eyes' is a very strong book in the horror genre. With great emotion, all ages above 10 will enjoy reading a writer of enormous power and strength. Read morePublished 14 months ago by pianoplayer69
Harrowing tale, reaches into the inexplicable mind of someone in a really bad place.Published 16 months ago by Alex Mellanby
Wow what a lot of knowledge about foster/ abused children. You sum up their anger, emotions and feelings of despair perfectly . Read morePublished 19 months ago by ruth dunn