Please remember to leave your review on as well as below! Thank you <3

The Pretty Place is a dark, comedic, coming-of-age novel that illuminates the importance of mental health awareness and acceptance while reminding us all of how powerful the truth can be—even in the absence of remembrance. 

Order signed copy now!

Ivy Marshall wasn't expecting the summer before starting high school to end the way it did...

She had so many plans, from exploring the sprawling back fields of her town with her best friend, Robyn, to swimming in the muddy waters of Lake Scugog. Becoming the neighbourhood outcast when her mother became ill didn’t quite fit into her itinerary. Ivy hadn’t anticipated that the summer would bring death—so somewhere along the way, she decided it never had. 

Almost two decades later, Ivy’s buried secret still follows her around everywhere she goes, affecting every misguided decision she makes as an adult, silently weighing down each step she takes away from her little town. The Pretty Place, her childhood refuge, harbours tragedy just beneath the surface, but only there can she unearth the truth...



Descriptive narrative immerses you in Ivy's world, taking you into the heart of small-town Ontario. The Pretty Place is a slow burn building to a climax that'll have you thinking about the novel long after you've finished reading. 

Lisa Yerilin

This book took me on an emotional journey through the arduous and often times humorous throes of teenage angst. It had me wishing I was 15 again, then happy I wasn't—coupled with a gripping plot that had me turning pages long into the night!

S. Bursey

A coming-of-age story with twists that will keep you guessing until the end. 

Lesley Summerfield

A remarkable debut novel! From the onset it will have you grappling with the angst of a teenager, the tension of marriage, and the force that is the human mind. Witty, mysterious, and relentless, The Pretty Place will take you on a journey of unimaginable plight.

C. Valente

This novel is impressively complex, and it was a pleasure to read.

Lexie Hofer

This book was well written, riveting and a great read! It sure had me hooked. Living in Durham, I felt a connection to the area and the author. The story of a young girl and an unforgettable summer, the lessons learned, mental illness and alcoholism and broken fragments of life.....intriguing. I couldn’t put it down!

Rose Del Gatto

I did not want to put this book down. The Pretty Place was such a fun read as the author had me laughing out loud through all of its witty narrative despite the gravity of the story line. This book is easily relatable in one way or another, and it has a plot twist that will both lead you and leave you in suspense from beginning to end.

Angela Casey

A really great coming of age story! Every spot, sound, and smell is described with such vivid imagery that you can imagine yourself within every page of the book. Positively poetic at times and absolutely heartbreaking at others. Just when you think you may have the characters figured out, a few well-placed twists and turns come around. Will definitely be put in the pile to re-read sometime soon!

Bianca P.

This was a fantastic novel, I couldn’t put it down. Very descriptive, you feel as if you are right there with the main character. A definite must-read!!

Aileen K.



Throughout the novel, songs are mentioned to immerse the reader in the mind and happenings of the main character's story. Some songs in the playlist didn't make the final edit of the novel, while others are only included because they're ever-present in the real-life chapters of the author's day to day—especially while she writes! 

Excerpts from the novel

A snippet from Laura Leslie's second novel: "NOT EVERYTHING THAT'S SUDDEN IS UNEXPECTED" - Release date: Fall 2022

Why am I the one having to do this? I thought, as I gingerly approached the body. The room was cold and painfully clean as if someone believed bleach could scrub away the finality of death. In a way, I guess it could, couldn’t it? I’ve watched enough prime-time crime TV to know that if you planned to kill someone you better have a few jugs of Javex readily available for the cleanup. But this was different, there was no hiding the death that filled this room, no one was trying to get away with murder. The crooked sign on the metal door I’d just slipped through stated it loud and proud, “MORGUE”. A place where death inevitably congregated and medical careers went to die. A place where devastated family members went to confirm their worst nightmares and in my case, a place where those no longer related gingerly approached the body. The body. His body. Paul’s body. 

I could tell before the sheet was lifted. I was anything but cursory. I remembered his height, the depth of his feet when he lay on the ground, the tiny bumps and ridges that comprised the side-profile of his face. I remembered the width of his shoulders and the valley of his concave chest. I remembered the shell that made him Paul, even if everything within it had changed in the last year. Dissipated, fleeing from inside him as if even his former self no longer wanted to be associated with his likeness. And what was it all for? I wonder now, wherever he is, if he’s relishing in his decision, a triumph from the afterlife. Or, had his suicide been an accident, a failed attempt to garner more sympathy—a thought I wasn’t able to determine as more or less painful. 

“Stop, you don’t have to, I know it’s him,” I said as the diener reached up over Paul’s head searching for the corners of the thinly-veiled covering that kept us separated. It was as though what was under the sheet and what was over top were two different worlds. A dichotomy of reality in which the two futures presented were equally undesirable but in entirely different ways.     

The Pretty Place on Instagram