Pretty in Punxsutawney by Laurie Boyle Crompton

Published: 29 October 2019 (print)/29 Oct 2019 (audio) Goodreads badge
Publisher: Blink/Blink Audio
Pages: 304/6 hrs and 51 mins
Narrator: Maddison Lawrence
Format: Audiobook
Genre: Young Adult
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

A Groundhog Day meets Pretty in Pink mashup that tells the tale of a shy, introverted high school girl who must relive the first day of school over and over again until her first kiss can break the curse … she hopes.

Andie is the type of girl who always comes up with the perfect thing to say … after it’s too late to say it. She’s addicted to romance movies–okay, all movies–but has yet to experience her first kiss. After a move to Punxsutawney, PA, for her senior year, she gets caught in an endless loop of her first day at her new school, reliving those 24 hours again and again.

Convinced the curse will be broken when she meets her true love, Andie embarks on a mission: infiltrating the various cliques–from the jocks to the nerds to the misfits–to find the one boy who can break the spell. What she discovers along the way is that people who seem completely different can often share the very same hopes, dreams, and hang-ups. And that even a day that has been lived over and over can be filled with unexpected connections and plenty of happy endings.

I love time loops stories and seeing them executed well is always satisfying. I enjoyed the different approach Boyle Crompton has taken with this novel. The 80s teen movies, the character motivation, and the exploration of the expected high school life versus the real experience is a great change from what I’m used to in American stories.

Andie is a great character; she is flawed but hopeful, and you can tell she has a good heart despite her misgivings. There is a wonderful message of being herself instead of who anyone else wants her to be or who she thinks she should be which is encouraging and her use of the time loop was interesting and unique.

Books and movies set in the USA always focus on cliques and group teens together into stereotypes like goths, cheerleaders, footballers etc which never happens in Australian books or in real life. But what Boyle Crompton tries to do is break down the barriers and shows the characters, and the readers, that those old stereotypes – like those from the 80s movies – aren’t always the real story.

With all the references to the old films there is a sense of Andie trying to be her own main character and get the movie romance and high school experience she is after. I enjoyed the different groups she infiltrates and Boyle Crompton isn’t shy of having Andie do loop after loop as she learns her lessons.

Seeing Andie grow is wonderful, especially when that initial growth doesn’t break the spell so there’s plenty more self-improvement to come. Time loops don’t always have to have a completely morally inept character, and Andie isn’t a bad person, but her misguidedness makes her blind and selfish and it’s always great seeing characters change for the better and make those around them better in the process.

The ending is sweet and hopeful, the story full of important lessons and realisations that make it a great book for any teen. The fact Andie is starting a new school and goes in this hard and strong is an interesting approach, especially since every day could be her last day in the loop but I think Boyle Crompton’s attention is focused more on making Andie a better person, widen her understanding of the world around her and gain some perspective rather than dealing with the consequences of what happens after the loop is over. It’s a classic 80s coming of age movie in book for with its own unique charm.

You can purchase Pretty in Punxsutawney via the following

 Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust | Audible