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Sweet Valley Ain’t Never Seen Twins Like This

Posh reviews Pretty Bad Things by C.J. Skuse while shielding her eyes from its cover.

Sweet Valley Ain’t Never Seen Twins Like This

BOOK REPORT for Pretty Bad Things by C.J. Skuse

Cover Story: Double Brown Bag It
BFF Charm: Yay & Nay
Swoonworthy Scale: 1
Talky Talk: Talk Dirty To Me
Bonus Factors: Legend of Billie Jean, Las Vegas
Relationship Status: Innocent Bystander

Cover Story: Double Brown Bag It

This image doesn't do justice to the blinding neon of the actual cover. While I appreciate the '70sploitation style, it's just... too much. Way, way too much. Like, I need one of those special faucets from chemistry lab because MY EYES ARE BURNING.

The Deal:

Twins Paisley and Beau Argent are only sixteen, but they've already earned their diplomas in the School of Hard Knocks. At age six, they discovered their biotch of a mom dead from an overdose and spent the next three days lost in the woods looking for their father, who was actually out committing armed robbery (and subsequently imprisoned for it). Just like Baby Jessica, their tragic story of survival made headlines, with the media nicknaming them the Wonder Twins. But unlike Jessica (who turned out pretty normal, actually!), Paisley and Beau are, like, totally effed up. Paisley's been expelled from four boarding schools, while Beau lives the meek existence of a prisoner under the greedy, watchful eye of the twins' gold-digging grandmother, Virginia. When Beau discovers a box of letters from their father, hidden by Virginia, he and Paisley set off to do whatever it takes to find their dad. And the twin's definition of "whatever it takes" is a tad more extreme than, say, Googling and flipping through phone books. We're talking serious business, y'all, like candy store robberies, house fires and deliciously criminal mayhem.

BFF Charm: Yay & Nay

Beau is super duper adorable and sweet, which means I was constantly worried about him. Like, he cries all the time and listens to French music. He might as well wear a shirt that says, "PLEASE KICK MY ASS. I AM A PUSSY." But he's got such a good heart, and, like Paisley, I wanted to rescue him away from his evil grandma. Unlike Pais, however, I would do it with a good deal more gentleness and a great deal less guns. Beau is a big ole teddy bear, and instead of dragging him around like his sister does, I would just cuddle up next to him on the couch so we could watch Amelie together.

Not to sound like your ineffectual high school counselor, but OH. PAISLEY. Girl, what am I gonna do with you? Not give you my BFF charm, that's what! While I understand that yr tough girl attitude is merely a mask to hide the pain inside, GET OVER YRSELF. You're way too rash and impulsive, and you often make things way, way, WAY worse than they need to be. At first, I kinda dug yr sass, but by the end, all you got from me was an eye roll (which I"m sure bugged the shizz out of you).

Swoonworthy Scale: 1

There's about three pages of romance in this book, and they don't end well, so... yeah. Let's just get our kicks out of the twins' crime spree.

Talky Talk: Talk Dirty To Me

With each chapter, the narrative switches between Paisley and Beau's point of view, and both of their voices are straight up and in yr face. Paisley's perspective in particular is gritty and dark, and neither of the twins mess around with superfluous language-- except, of course, for profanity (which I would argue is often v. v. necessary).

While the inner monologues felt relatively authentic, the story line itself is pretty over the top. If you enjoy it for what it is (ok, what I think it is)-- a cracked out action satire-- then you'll enjoy the ride. But if you're looking for something realistic, well... did you SEE the cover?

Bonus Factor: Legend of Billie Jean

I AM SO EXCITED THAT I GET TO USE THIS MOVIE AS A BONUS FACTOR. In fact, it might be the main reason I'm glad I read this book, because the twins' evolution from f*ck-ups to criminals to teenage heroes is straight outta the Billie Jean handbook. They're not nearly as cool as she is, but hey, who is? FAIR IS FAIR!

Bonus Factor: Las Vegas

Since Pais and Beau's dad, Buddy, was last seen in Sin City, the twins spend a lot of time exploring the Strip, hoping to find a clue or catch a glimpse of their father. I personally love the gaudy, flashy allure of Vegas, and it was awesome to experience the city as an unabashedly excited newcomer again, esp. cos I could enjoy all of the touristy activities without having to pretend to be jaded about them. ("Ok, I GUESS I'll ride the NYNY roller coaster. BUT I'M ONLY DOING IT IRONICALLY.")

Casting Call:

Paisley is super pretty, blonde and totes sharp. So of course I had to go with:

Emma Watson as Paisley

As for Beau, who has a sweeter face than my main Peeta pick, William?

William Moseley as Beau

Relationship Status: Innocent Bystander

I enjoyed the antics of Paisley and Beau, but there is no way in hell I would get involved with this book. Like, I wouldn't even drive the getaway car, because this novel is a tad too volatile and unpredictable. I'm glad I got to be an eye witness, because seeing it in action was pretty cool, but if this book asked me to be an accomplice, I would say no. Actually, that's a lie. I would say yes, and then be like, "Oh! I gotta go... use the restroom." And then I would RUN AWAY because this book is crazy toons and so not worth five years in prison.

Wanna take yr chances with the twins? I've got a copy to give away! Leave a comment (make sure to enter your email in the email field) and I'll pick a winner at random.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Chicken House. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Pretty Bad Things is available now.

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).