Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Review: Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig

Title:  Pretty Crooked  
Author:  Elisa Ludwig
Genre:  Young Adult Thriller
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Format:  Kindle via NetGalley
Release Date:  March 13, 2012

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 anything, 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? (Summary courtesy of NetGalley/HarperCollins)

After living a life of barely scraping by, Willa is suddenly living a life she never imagined; money, popularity, parties and gorgeous guys. As she eloquently puts it, she was thrust into the “epicenter of Valley Prep social life.” Her new friends, nicknamed the Glitterati, are the power group at her new elite private school. And some how, Willa has managed to make her way into their inner circle. But life isn’t as great as it would seem as one of the popular people; Cherise, Kelly and Nikki are actually not very nice, in particular Kelly and Nikki. After the Glitterati start tormenting Valley Prep’s scholarship students, Willa decides things need to change. And that she is the one who needs to help make that change.

While I enjoyed Pretty Crooked and I thought that the plot had a fun premise, it required more suspension of disbelief than I think I was able to muster. Willa’s decision to start stealing from her rich friends is a HUGE jump from her decision to just help them. I was amazed at the ease in which Willa made the decision to become a thief; she really seemed to have no qualms about it at all. In fact, she seemed to get a kick out of it. I didn’t love the message Ludwig pushed through either—that what you wear is more important than your personality. Once the scholarship girls started receiving their gifts from Willa, their lives changed. I would hope that an entire school full of kids wouldn’t be as shallow as they are portrayed in this book. It seemed a bit unrealistic to me.

I also felt that Ludwig needed to do a bit more research as well. I live in Arizona, so I’m a bit familiar with the layout of the state. So I know that you don’t go “up” to the University of Arizona from Paradise Valley, you go down. A little bit of research into the juvenile justice system would have been a good idea; some of the parts involving it were very unrealistic and rushed. 

Overall, I enjoyed the book. With a few changes and a bit of research, I think it could have been even better. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

My grade for Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig:

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