Thursday, March 1, 2012

Review of Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig

PrettyCrookedBasic Info:

Release date: March 13, 2012

Pages: 358 (hardcover)

Interest: Debut author, Robin Hood-like thievery

Source: Debut Author Challenge ARC tours

Rating: **** 4 stars

Summary (from

High school sophomore Willa and her artist mother move to Arizona where Willa starts attending an elite prep school after her mother finally sells some paintings, and Willa attempts to even things out by stealing from the rich students and giving to the poor ones.


Willa has been living in small trashy apartments with her mom her whole life.  Suddenly, her mother is successful as an artist and they start over in a new community with a nice house and money!  Willa is almost immediately accepted by the popular girls (“the Glitterati”), and thinks that life can’t get any better.  Then, she starts to see how the scholarship girls at the school are treated because they can’t afford all of the trendy clothes.  She also realizes that she doesn’t know or like her new best friends at all.  Here comes the Robin Hood plot: Willa decides to steal from the rich, undeserving, kids at her school and help out the less fortunate.

A little cliché at times, and often predictable, but a fun read.  Some reviews I’ve seen criticize Willa for her way of evening the playing field, and her not having more sense.  Really, at sixteen, I don’t think any of us are at our brightest…

I wasn’t sure what to think when I read the prologue.  I’m so used to movies like Ocean’s 11, 12, and 13, the Italian Job, and books like Ally Carter’s Heist Society.   I’m used to rooting for the thieves, and then catching myself later and saying, “wait a minute, isn’t stealing wrong, illegal, etc.?”  Pretty Crooked started you out knowing that Willa was likely to be caught.  While this put me off for a minute, it wasn’t what I’d expected, I wanted to know how she got to the point of stealing, and running from the law.  Really, that’s the draw of the book. 

So, if you are looking for clever, successful criminals, read Ally Carter.  If you want a story of the haves and have-nots, with a cute, cocky, persistent boy, and a protagonist who’s still learning about herself, then read Pretty Crooked.  There are some loose ends to the story that definitely set it up for a sequel, but no looming cliffhanger.

Content issues: teen drinking, I can’t recall any swearing

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