Title: Pretty Crooked
Author: Elisa Ludwig
Publication date: March 13rd 2012
Imprint: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 368 (hardcover)
Genre: YA fiction
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 haves 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 thefts at Valley Prep and the Glitterati begin to seek revenge, could Aidan wind up being the person that Willa trusts most?
Pretty Crooked is an entertaining, fast-paced story about high school drama, inequalities, prejudices, bullying and of course love and friendship. At first glance, it seems to be your average YA story with likeable characters, glamour and hot guys, but you need to read between the lines in order to see it’s more than that.
Elisa Ludwig’s story shows how easy it is to judge people based on their skin colour, their past, their clothes or their wealth and how unfair our society is. Willa’s new friends, the Glitterati are rolling in money – they have wealthy parents, glamorous homes and everything they need. Everything. Literally. Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky as they are. At Valley Prep (Willa’s new school) people are being discriminated based on what they wear, where they came from or how much their parents earn. Which, in a way, applies to what we experience everyday, doesn’t it? That’s why Willa, the main character, decides to even things out and give money to the less fortunate ones at school – by stealing from the Glitterati. The story could have got really cheesy, and maybe it did start off a bit cheesy (and a bit slow-paced for my taste) if I’m completely honest, but it turned into a gripping and very exciting book by the end.
The characters are very well written – Willa is extremely likeable – witty, fun and even a bit sarcastic. There are two male characters, Aidan and Tre. Aidan is portrayed as “the flirt” and I thought I wasn’t going to like him but I was wrong. Just like most of the characters, he grown on me by the end. Tre was my favourite throughout the whole story so I would’ve liked him to appear more often, though.
Another thing I really liked about Pretty Crooked is that it’s current. There are continuous references to current artists or films, like Lady Gaga or Freaky Friday which most youngsters are familiar with, so the story doesn’t seem outdated. Similarly, the language Ludwig uses is great – it’s something teenagers would use nowadays, which works perfectly in the story.
Mean Girls meets Robin Hood, Pretty Crooked is a young, cool, and current read for anyone who is looking for an exciting and charming read. There are some unanswered questions at the end and I was really looking forward to finding out what happens, who this mystery man is, but it’s another reason why I’ll just have to wait for the sequel. There’s only one thing I know for certain: it’s worth the wait.