Such A Pretty Girl is a novel for young adults written by Laura Wiess. It deals with the difficult and controversial topic of child sex abuse and the failure of the legal system to fully protect victims from their abuser.
Meredith Shale is a fifteen-year-old girl whose father, Charles, molested her, and also molested a number of young boys in the local community. Although all have their statements to the police, only Meredith gave evidence at his trial, resulting in a sentence of nine years that promised to keep her safe for the rest of her childhood. That promise was broken when Charles is released early after only three years, and Meredith is again thrown into harms way as her father steadfastly refuses to abide by the rules of his parole, spends time alone in the house with her, and claims to have been dreaming about their reunion since his incarceration. Having quickly realized what is required of him in order to gain early release, Charles feigns sorrow and repentance only to revert back to his former self as soon as he is free. Welcomed home with open arms by Sharon, Meredith's mother, the family are shunned by the community who do not want a child molester in their neighborhood and who view Sharon as an enabler. With the support of her friend Andy, another of her farther's victims, her Grandmother Leah Louise and the police officer who arrested her father, Nigel, Meredith realizes that unless she stops her father he will continue to molest children. She is also strengthened by the prayers of Andy's mother, Paula.
Although the novel ends on a positive note with Meredith ridding the community of her father, it also raises as many questions as it answers and highlights the leniency with which child molesters are treated and how easy it is for them to manipulate the system that fails to adequately protect victims from abusers in their family.The author researched a great many cases but drew from the character of Meredith who came to her as if she was a real-life girl stuck in a hellish situation. The novel was highly acclaimed and critics have put Meredith Shale alongside Harper Lee's "Scout" and J.D. Salinger's "Phoebe" in importance as a female protagonist.