Thursday, March 15, 2012

REVIEW: Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig

Title: Pretty Crooked
Pages: 358
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (Imprint of HarperCollins US)
Publication Date: 13th March, 2012
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley (for review)

Summary (Goodreads):

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?

Pretty Crooked is a novel I picked up on Netgalley, and unfortunately, I didn't love it as much as I thought I would. It's been described as a modern-day Robin Hood story--this concept sounded intriguing, but to be honest, it didn't really work for me.

The first half of Pretty Crooked was probably the better half, I'd say. We meet the protagonist, Willa. She was pretty much your average girl, just trying to fit in with the popular, rich girls, that is, until she realises that they are a little bit evil.

I can't really explain why I didn't enjoy it, but it probably has to be linked to Willa. I was expecting a really sassy, humourous personality in our MC, and there was parts where I was like, "Here she is, this is the girl I've been waiting for," and then: nothing. Don't get me wrong, I thought that she was right in terms of wanting things to change and actually going out there and doing something (we need more female protagonists on contemporary YA who don't sit back and watch), but she didn't do it in the right way. Some of the choices she made even I could see were really silly, and the risks for some of them were enormous. 

I didn't think the whole Robin Hood, steal-from-the-rich-give-to-the-poor idea was very well executed, although I appreciated the attempt. In my eyes, Willa was nothing like Robin Hood, and even though she tried to do a good deed with her heart in the right place, it didn't feel like she achieved anything but (perhaps) a criminal record. It all just felt a bit shallow--stealing expensive items from the wealthy teenagers to sell and then use the money to purchase more expensive, designer items for the less well-off kids? Doesn't reaaaallly help.

Another thing I have to mention was the bullying part. In Pretty Crooked, there was a small group of girls who were being bullied by the popular girls, and I was looking forward to seeing how Ludwig would convey that. I was disappointed when it became a pretty minor subplot, especially when the author had the opportunity to really get things started and gives us a some real words of wisdom. Had the main plot of the book been the bullying issue instead of the Robin-Hood thing, I probably would've enjoyed it more because I thought that was a more pressing affair and I would be interested to see how Willa would sort THAT one out.

I liked Ludwig's descriptions of Paradise Valley. I've never been to Phoenix, Arizona (although I'd love to), but I could almost picture the shinyness in my head. There were some lovely quotes and the details about the area are probably my favourite aspect of the book.

When I started Pretty Crooked, I expected a story that was light-hearted and fun, with some strong messages weaved in, but instead I found a read that left me a bit annoyed in places, and one I thought didn't portray the 'morals' as well as I hoped it would. Sadly, it's not a book I'd personally recommend, but I know that a lot of people really enjoyed the novel, so head on over to Goodreads and check out their reviews before you decide whether or not you want to read this. Also, I thought this was a standalone, but judging by the blunt ending, there will be a sequel. The end left me slightly confused and not much was resolved so...I have no idea about what could possibly happen in book two.


1 comment:

  1. The concept of this sounds really great, but it's a pity you didn't enjoy it. I hate when I can't connect with the main character.


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