Pretty Crooked

Elisa Ludwig

Publisher: Katerine Tegen Books
Publication Date: Mar 13, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Source: Netgalley

Willa’s secret plan seems all too simple: take from the rich kids at Valley Prep and give to the poor ones.

Yet Willa’s turn as Robin Hood at her ultra-exclusive high school is anything but. Bilking her “friends”-known to everyone as the Glitterati-without them suspecting a thing, is far from easy. Learning how to pick pockets and break into lockers is as difficult as she’d thought it’d be. Delivering care packages to the scholarship girls, who are ostracized just for being from the “wrong” side of town, is way more fun than she’d expected.

The complication Willa didn’t expect, though, is Aidan Murphy, Valley Prep’s most notorious (and gorgeous) ace-degenerate. His mere existence is distracting Willa from what matters most to her-evening the social playing field between the have and have-nots. There’s no time for crushes and flirting with boys, especially conceited and obnoxious trust-funders like Aidan.

But when the cops start investigating the string of burglaries at Valley Prep and the Glitterati begin to seek revenge, could he wind up being the person that Willa trusts most?

Goodreads Summary

Willa has moved around numerous times in her young life. Pretty much every fall semester she is in a different state, attending yet another new school. She has the “new girl” routine down pat. One day her mom announces that she’s sold a bunch of her paintings to an art gallery and are now flush with funds, so she’s decided to move them to Paradise Valley, AZ so Willa can attend an elite private school. This will be their last move, and Willa is excited to make friends that will actually last longer than a year.

Willa’s first day of school starts off rough when she is almost run over in the parking lot by one of her classmates. She must have done something right in another life, however, because the first girl she meets is one of the most popular girls in her grade and a part of the Glitterati: a group of the richest, most well dressed kids in school. She is accepted into the group, and Willa can’t believe she is one of them. She lives in complete bliss for awhile as part of the popular group, until the Glitterati start showing their true natures. Not everyone at Valley Prep is rich and can afford to follow current fashion trends, and the Glitterati have made it their personal mission to bully the girls that don’t quite make the cut. Willa can no longer tolerate the bullying, and devises a plan to steal from the rich, and give a little power back to the poor.

I am disappointed with Pretty Crooked. One of the main ideas of the book are the moral issues of bullying and peer pressure. It happens in schools everywhere, regardless of whether it’s a rich prep school or an inner city public school. It’s tough and real, and I’m happy that Willa wanted to make a stand. It’s the way she went about it that rubbed me wrong. She wanted to fight an injustice with another injustice, and her reasoning behind the decision was flimsy and shallow. Willa had no prior record or history of doing anything illegal, and so her first thought is to start stealing? It didn’t make sense, and it seemed so out of character for the Willa I knew up until that point. The whole Robin Hood premise didn’t come together well at all. And, frankly, I feel like even the smallest comparison is kind of an insult to his legend.

There were a few other minor story lines going on, some issues with Willa’s mom and some top secret prank that the boy she was crushing on pulled. It was a little frustrating that neither of those story lines were resolved. We still have no idea what the heck is up with Willa’s mom, nor what the super secret prank was that finally got Aidan kicked out of Valley Prep. I also felt that the ending was awkwardly done. It ends suddenly, but then we’re given an epilogue that is a continuation of the same scene the book ended in. Uhh.. random. The ending also leaves room for a next book, but I’m not real clear on what the direction or the purpose of the series would be. I wish I could say more on that subject, but it ventures too far into spoilery territory so I’ll keep my lips sealed.

My Summary: Pretty Crooked really didn’t work for me. Willa was an okay character until she went slightly crazy and started stealing things. The book pretty much went downhill after that. It didn’t even have a good romance to entertain me and get me through all the other junk. There wasn’t even any good flirting! Gah. Overall, this probably won’t be a series I’ll continue with and while I thought the concept was interesting, it just didn’t come together well.

My Rating: C



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