Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Review: Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig

From 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?

My Rating: 3 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Elisa Ludwig’s Pretty Crooked was an entertaining story that I thought was relatively good while reading it. After reflecting upon it however, I realized that perhaps I overestimated how great it was.

The Robin Hood connection was what made me request Pretty Crooked; but I didn’t like how Willa chose to help the scholarship kids (aka the Busteds because they’re bussed in from a poorer neighbourhood) or her motivations for stealing from the Glitterati. Instead of standing up to her so-called friends, Willa steals from them and justifies it by saying they’re getting what they deserve for cyberbullying. She then buys outfits – yes, this is her way of helping the less fortunate! – for the Busteds and leaves them on their doorstep. Sure, having a flattering outfit can boost your confidence; but at the end of the day, it doesn’t solve the underlying problem of bullying. Also, considering that Willa only manages to buy one outfit for each person that she helps before she gets caught, her method of helping really doesn’t help in the grand scheme of things because I doubt the Busteds plan on wearing the same outfit every single day for the rest of the school year. (Personally, if someone bought me something fabulous to wear, the last place I’d be wearing it is to school.)

Although Willa was a bit stupid for thinking that she could help the Busteds by stealing rather than by not being a passive bystander, I can kind of see where she’s coming from. I think it would be easy for a lot of people to get sucked into the lifestyle that the Glitterati maintain and not want to give it up if they grow up poor and suddenly find themselves as one of the affluent.

Despite the outrageous plot, I actually got annoyed with Pretty Crooked near the end when there was just too much going on and not enough resolution. For example, throughout the book, Willa’s crush Aidan (who came off as a spoiled rich kid) is trying to get expelled and Willa's mom is secretly seeing a man. By the end, Aidan achieves his goal but how he does so remains a mystery – much like the role of the man Willa’s mom is seeing. I understand that Pretty Crooked is the beginning of a series, but it would have been nice if Ludwig had tied up some of those loose ends.  

A book that you can enjoy as long as you don't think about it too much, Pretty Crooked is released by Katherine Tegen Books today! 

Comments About the Cover: It doesn’t really give off a Robin Hood feel, but I still kind of like it because it represents a part in the book. The girl however should be disguised covertly rather than being dressed fashionably. 

In exchange for an honest review, this ARC was received from the publisher (HarperCollins) for free via NetGalley. 

9 comments:

  1. I'm sensing the same frustration and reaction with each review that I've read for this book. I had no idea that this was a Robin Hood retelling, but given your frustrations (which clearly mirrored my own most of the time) I'm going to skip this one. Do you think you'll pick up the next book?

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  2. Great review !I was a bit annoyed about the lack of resolution as well I wanted answers about her mother!! I still liked the quirky plot even though it was a bit far fetched though. :)

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  3. I like the Robin Hood idea but I've gotta agree that buying outfits doesn't really affect the problem. I think I'd be as frustrated as you with this one. But it does sound cute in many ways. Thanks for the review!

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  4. We had really similar reactions to this one Zahida! I enjoyed it for the most part, it was fun and entertaining, but I did wish Willa would have approached the situation differently. And the end was somewhat inexplicable. I think if I had known it was a series the ending wouldn't have flustered me quite as much, but it was just so abrupt that I thought I was reading a corrupt ebook file:)

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  5. Sometimes stories that don't require too much thinking are great and work pretty well as fillers in between your heavier stuff, but based on the reviews I've been reading for this one, I don't think I could handle Willa or her reasoning. Stealing to buy designer clothes, even if it is for the 'needy' is so ridiculous, I don't think I could hack it.

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  6. "Personally, if someone bought me something fabulous to wear, the last place I’d be wearing it is to school." <-- LOL I'd be the same way! x) But I'm really sorry that, looking back on this, a lot of those things didn't work for you! I kind of wished that Willa could've done more to stop the bullying too, but I was caught up in the cuteness of it all haha! ;)

    Awesome honest review, Z! Even if those parts really bothered you, I'm glad that you still enjoyed this book because it WAS super entertaining to read if you didn't think too much about it! :)

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  7. Oh, I was SO not a fan of this book, hah. I enjoyed the first half until she started stealing outfits for the "needy" and then I was like...whaaa? Are you kidding?

    I'm glad you liked it a bit more than I did. Probably not too hard to do, though. ;)

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  8. Haha, your review made me see some huge plot holes that I missed. I just realized that she only bought one outfit for like two people each. I did like this book because it was fun and light, but the ending was awful. Strings were completely loose and it was just like the last twenty pages were gone. Love the review! <3

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  9. I haven't read Pretty Crooked yet but from the summary I would have thought that Willa would do more to help the Busteds. It still sounds like a fun read and I still might give this book a try.

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