Series: Pretty Crooked, #1
Genre: Contemporary YA
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release date: March 13, 2012
Trailer: WATCH ME!
Summary: 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?
What’s that you say? Did you say, “Robin Hood retelling?” Why, yes. Yes you did. PRETTY CROOKED, the debut by Elisa Ludwig, is a retelling of Robin Hood, with our favorite champion of the poor played by high schooler Willa Fox, recently moved to Paradise Valley, Arizona, aka Moneysville. I loved the sound of PRETTY CROOKED, guys. I have a big weakness for anything Robin Hood related, and this one sounded promising. And it delivered on that promise…a little bit. PRETTY CROOKED is a quick, fun read, but there also seemed to be something about it that fell a little flat for me. Let’s talk it out.
So, Elisa Ludwig‘s debut is centered around Willa Fox, a young girl who’s lived a pretty nomadic, low-key life with her artist mom. Until recently, they’ve lived basically paycheck to paycheck, but Willa’s mom as just sold a bunch of her paintings and basically hit the artist lottery. In Paradise Valley, Willa and her mom are finally living like the other half lives, and Willa is attending that CRAZY snooty, super-expensive school, Valley Prep. She befriends a group of rich girls called the Glitterati (ugh), and while they at first seem friendly and Willa feels fortunate to be accepted into their circle, she soon finds out that some of them are pretty much horrible. The targets of a lot of their rumors and disdain? A group of scholarship students from the wrong side of the tracks. These are the girls Willa steals for. Also, there’s Aidan, the hot boy who crushes on Willa. So, Willa’s stealing from the rich kids and her mom’s behavior gets super shady. Good things will surely be on the horizon, yes?
PRETTY CROOKED was one of those books that I liked well enough to finish, but I wasn’t often dying to read it. I know that must sound like HIGH PRAISE, but I don’t mean for it to sound negative. I liked Willa. She had a spunky personality, and a good, if slightly misguided, moral compass. Aidan was charming for sure, and I’m intrigued by him; he’s TOTALLY got secrets. And Willa’s mom is up to something SKETCHY (art pun for the artist unintentional), which is interesting. That mystery–and a few others–are left open-ended, to be continued in the sequel. Elisa Ludwig does some good things with her characters and her story.
That being said, I also found a few of PRETTY CROOKED‘s aspects a little wanting. I wish that I had felt a little more spark between Aidan and Willa. For all that they are THE couple in this book, I felt like Aidan was often MIA. I didn’t a great sense of him as a character. I also thought that a few of the Glitterati–Nikki in particular comes to mind–were really one-note. Perhaps I would have felt more connected to them if they had a little more depth. Finally, to be honest, I was a little surprised about the fact that there will be a sequel. I can see why and how Elisa Ludwig separated things, but I would have liked things being wrapped up a little bit in PRETTY CROOKED as well.
Guys, I can’t ever turn away from a Robin Hood story, and I’m glad I read PRETTY CROOKED by Elisa Ludwig. It wasn’t super fabulous, but it was good, and I’m curious enough to see what happens next. It’s certainly a fun enough read, especially if, like me, you have a soft spot for thieves (WHO DOESN’T, I ask you?).
THANKS SO MUCH to the wonderful people at Harper Collins, and the lovely ladies at Lit Logistics, I have a copy of PRETTY CROOKED to give away to one of you! HUZZAH!
Win a finished copy of PRETTY CROOKED by Elisa Ludwig!
- Be at least 13 years old.
- Live in the US or Canada–sorry rest of the world! 😦
- Respond to my, “HEY! You won Pretty Crooked! Do a happy dance!” email within 48 hours or someone else will be happy dancing instead.
The giveaway closes at 11:59 PM on THURSDAY, JULY 12!! Winner will be selected at random and emailed.