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Oo-de-lally, Oo-de-lally, Golly, What A Day

Forever Young Adult Presents: A Review of Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig

Oo-de-lally, Oo-de-lally, Golly, What A Day

BOOK REPORT for Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig

Cover Story: Chick Litcious
BFF Charm: Nay
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Easy Breezy
Bonus Factors: Thievery 101, Rich Kid Parties
Relationship Status: Slumber Party Pals

Cover Story: Chick Litcious

You guys! I actually don't hate this! SURPRISE! I mean, first of all, we have an ENTIRE BODY, complete with head. Second, the image is completely representative of the book, both in plot and in feel. If you were looking for something fun and fluffy to read, wouldn't you gravitate towards this cover? Mission accomplished, designers! Also, where can I get those killer heels? You know, for the next time I need to break my ankle while making a quick but memorable escape?

The Deal:

After Willa's mom achieves every painter's dream (aka sells some paintings), she and Willa move to a fancy suburb in Arizona, complete with a big house, a posh private school and new, upscale friends known as the Glitterati. It doesn't take long for Willa to grow accustomed to the shopping sprees and mansion keggers, but her conscience won't let her forget that other girls aren't so lucky. After she discovers that the Glitterati are using the internet to bully girls from the wrong side of the tracks, Willa vows to make things right by sharing the wealth... literally. After learning some pick-pocketing tips from Tre, a friend with an allegedly shady past, Willa makes like Robin Hood and begins to steal from the rich to give to the poor. The only problem is, she's starting to enjoy her life in crime... and she's not sure she can stop.

BFF Charm: Nay

Willa drove me BATSHIZZ INSANE. On almost every page, she made me pull a Sassy Gay Friend. ("WHAT are you doing. WHAT. WHAT. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?") I mean, yeah, her intentions were good, but there are PLENTY of ways to help people that don't involve illegal activity. I kept wondering why she didn't, oh, I dunno, just tell off her biotch friends and then report their bullying to the principal. Sure, it's not as thrilling as stealing mean girl money and then using it to buy awesome clothes for less fortunate students, but it also won't lead to possible JAIL TIME.

Obviously, the book wouldn't be nearly as fun without the Robin Hooding, but I never connected with Willa enough to understand the giant mental leap between "I want to help some girls who are being picked on" and "I'm going to steal shizz so that these bullied girls can finally have expensive outfits!" And I just can't give a BFF charm to someone who would rather pursue a career in thievery than stand up to a bunch of worthless Plastics.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

On her first day at Valley Prep, Willa meets Aidan Murphy, the super hot, super privileged "bad" boy of the school. He's charming, witty and desperate to get kicked out of school. I liked Aidan, but I kept hoping for some sparkage with Tre, Willa's pick-pocketing mentor. Not that YA needs another love triangle, but Tre just seemed more interesting to me. There were some cutely awkward moments between Aidan and Willa, but sometimes their dialogue was just a tad too snappy to feel authentic.

Talky Talk: Easy Breezy

Ludwig writes in a light, playful style with quick pacing and a sprinkling of emotion. Packed with fashion references and cute humor, this book is definitely literary candy, and Willa's acts of stealing result in a fun, if fleeting, sugar rush.

Bonus Factor: Thievery 101

Not that I'm interested in becoming a thief (orange looks terrible on me), but I found Willa's lessons with Tre totally fascinating. In fact, I honestly would not have minded if the entire book was about How To Rip Off Oblivious Rich Teenagers. Also, from now on, I am keeping my purse zipped up at all times.

Bonus Factor: Rich Kid Parties

Near the beginning of the book, Willa goes to a party at the head of the Glitterati's sprawling mansion. There's insanely posh food and a band and tons of fancy alcohol and a hot tub and it sounded AWESOME! Sure, the hostess, Kellie, is totally evil, but that's exactly WHY you should eat all of her food and drink all of her alcohol. You're taking ADVANTAGE of her. Willa just... didn't understand this.

Casting Call:

I just started watching Dance Academy, and I am in love with this actress. So maybe she could actually get me to like Willa?

Alicia Banit as Willa

Thank you, upcoming Beautiful Creatures movie, for making me aware of this fine male specimen:

Jack O'Connell as Aidan

Relationship Status: Slumber Party Pals

This book totally brought the fun to our sleepover! We played dress-up and gave each other make-overs and gossiped about boys, and let me tell you, this book can play a fierce game of Truth or Dare. We didn't have any sleeping bag heart-to-hearts, nor did we really click on a friendship level, but the next time I want to TP somebody's house, I'm totally asking this book for some stealth tips.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a review copy from Harper Collins. I received neither money nor cocktails for this review (dammit!). Pretty Crooked 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).