Pretty Crooked (Pretty Crooked #1)
Published: 13th March, 2012
Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Contemporary, Retelling
Age: Young Adult
From: Purchased via Amazon third party
Pretty Little Liars meets Heist Society in this exciting and flirtatious book about a high school girl whose innocent game of Robin Hood spirals way out of control.
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?
What I liked: Okay, I know what Willa does is completely illegal, and theft in general is a bad thing to do but I really liked the reason why Willa did it. While when she arrives she doesn’t realize that she’ll fall in with the “In” crowd she seems to adapt really easily to being part of the Glitterati, which seems to be the elite of the elite in this school. Funnily enough, glitterati is an actual word which applies to wealthy/famous people who go to fashionable events and in a way that fits the Glitterati group of VP. As time passes certain situations in the school make Willa realizes that someone needs to stand up to them. Why she thought she needed to take it upon herself to not only stand up to the Glitterati but also to even the playing field between those who have everything and then some and those who don’t have all that much is beyond me. Yet, there was a certain thrill and anticipation about whether she would be caught while reading her moments where she thieves things from people. I liked Tre too, even though the Glitterati basically diss him quickly. Tre was a good guy, even if he wasn’t a squeaky clean person. Aiden himself ended up bringing more questions about himself than answers and I want to know if one of them is answered in the second book, I look forward to seeing if so!
What I didn’t like: While I liked what Willa tried to do, I feel like she went about it in the wrong reasons. After she figured out who really runs the website that slanders so many of the other students I thought she should have gone to someone who was higher in power and told them because that is, honestly, the sensible thing to do to try and stop the cyberbullying that was happening. Also, I still can’t figure out where the scene in the prologue goes for certain since it seemed important but later on seemed skipped.
Overall Review: I wasn’t expecting the story I read, or the characters I met being so much better than I expected. Willa ended up showing that in reality she’s an unreliable narrator, and I actually enjoy unreliable narrators for some reason. Willa even realizes what she does is wrong, but alas addiction is a powerful thing. Even when its not actually drugs.
Recommend?: Sure! If you’re cool with unreliable narrators and a pretty crazy but entertaining plot give it a shot!
My Rating: 4.2/5
Pretty Sly (Pretty Crooked #2)
Published: 18th March, 2014
Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Age: Young Adult
From: Purchased via BookOutlet USA
Willa Fox was told to stay out of trouble. In fact, it was an order from a very serious juvenile court judge.
However, that was before Willa found her house ransacked and a mysterious email from her mother telling Willa she had to leave Paradise Valley for a while and not to come looking for her. Willa knows her mom’s in danger and that no one at school will miss her after her recent sticky-fingered stunts with the Glitterati. So with the help of her pal Tre and with her degenerate crush Aidan as her wingman, Willa violates her probation and hits the California highway in search of her mom.
But when Willa and Aidan’s journey turns dangerously criminal and they wind up being the focus of a national manhunt, they realize it’s sometimes easier to escape the law than the truth—and that everything Willa thought she knew about her mom, and her life, was wrong.
Pretty Sly is Elisa Ludwig’s fast-paced sequel to Pretty Crooked, the second book in a trilogy that’s pitch-perfect for fans of Ally Carter. With a daring heroine who has one-of-a-kind spunk, a roller-coaster Bonnie and Clyde romance, a thrilling mystery, and a shocking twist ending, this book will have readers rooting for Willa as she makes the wrong choices to do the right thing. Fans will be eagerly awaiting the series conclusion.
What I liked: The stakes in this book were raised as Willa and Aiden travel and break probation to find Willa’s mom. What started out as something she had to do to bring her mother quickly turned into something much bigger than I was expecting. This book takes several steps back from the possible Robin Hood retelling that the first book was and spins it into a different story entirely. While before she thieved to balance power in her school, now she’s thieving to survive. Willa never let anything slow her down or stop her, doing whatever she had to and I was surprised when Aiden stepped forward to help her and break his own probation in the process. That’s loyal friendship, especially when you consider that Tre helped them too. Plus, the twist! It was definitely something that I hadn’t even expected from Willa’s mom, and set up what was going to happen in book three, where Willa and Aiden head to where this entire mess started. This book kept me guessing, and there were a few moments scattered within that really made me smile because I hadn’t expected them, and at least one was a throwback to earlier in the book and that amused me greatly!
What I didn’t like:I don’t get why so many people stand behind her in this book since she’s broken her probation and is basically fleeing from the cops. I understood it in the first book, everyone loves an underdog and what she was doing was, while illegal, a good intention. She wanted to help, and though she went to an extreme I wouldn’t have, I understood why she did it. So I just couldn’t put together why so many people backed her unless they were still cheering her on since her trial had just ended recently and the Sly Fox deal was someone those people wanted to cheer on for whatever reason.
Overall Review: I was glad to see how the characters changed in this book. While its not by a whole lot I did see it by the end because of how everything has changed them, Willa especially after learning about what happened to her mother. The romance between Willa and Aiden is realistic because while she’s trying to understand how she feels for him, finding her mom is her first priority and that’s really the main focus for this story. There are a few surprises, and one big twist to this story none of which I expected but I was really glad for and I ended up really liking this book!
Recommend?: A great second book I really can’t wait to start the third and final book to this great trilogy!
My Rating: 4.5/5
Pretty Wanted (Pretty Crooked #3)
Published: 17th March, 2015
Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Age: Young Adult
From: The Fantastic Flying Book Club via Edelweiss via publisher
Willa’s string of good-hearted but ill-conceived thefts at her former high school catapulted her into a life she hardly knows. She became a cult hero, but soon afterward, her mom disappeared, leaving only a cryptic message. When Willa hit the California highway to find her, she discovered a dark family secret: Joanne Fox is not who she says she is-and neither is Willa. Now, Willa and fellow trouble-maker Aidan must race to St. Louis, Missouri, Willa’s birthplace. There, they hope to find answers about Willa’s past. But uncovering the truth requires solving a decades-old murder case.
Unfortunately, the perps are still out there . . . and willing to do whatever it takes to keep the case cold. With Willa’s face on the nightly news and the police hot on her trail, it might not matter that Aidan and her friend Tre are there to help. Willa’s only hope is to find the truth before it finds her first.
What I liked: I love being able to read an entire series in one go, because if one ends in a cliffhanger then I can immediately pick up the next one and continue on without having to wait sometimes a few years for the next book (I’m looking at you, Shadow Scale. I have wait for you since I read Seraphina three years ago) but at the same time, It’s always a little nostalgic in a sense if I get attached to the characters. And funnily enough, I got attached to Aiden and Willa through their crazy adventure that started in Pretty Sly and continued into this one. I knew I liked Willa in the first book because I understood her motives and why she did what she did and cheered for her during her improvised escape at the end of Pretty Crooked. But along the way, I found that Aiden and Willa are characters who seem realistic in a sense and their story has been a fun one. I’m a little sad it has to end! That being said, this book took me on yet another while ride with the characters and everything they had to go through to try and solve a murder case a decade and a half in the dust. Willa would stop at nothing to try and solve it and Aiden was always there to help her in whatever way he could. Of course, he mucked things up a little a few times himself but besides that he made a great person to have by her side to help her. The plot was intense and kept me wanting to know what we were going to learn next about Willa’s mom and the real reason why they had to flee St. Louis when she was a baby.
What I didn’t like: I know it was put in the book as a sort of prologue but I think it would have been better if Willa and Aiden’s escape from the casino had been, at the very least, summarized instead of just skipping from being spotted (again) to having already escaped, it felt really anti-clamatic and jarring to have the rush of anticipation of reading them escape suddenly be deflated because it was skipped over.
Overall Review: A bit more suspenseful to me than the first two books and still just as exciting I’m sad to let these characters go now but I love that I got to read these books. Willa was, while at times a very unreliable narrator, she was a fun one and I really liked watching her story unfold and see how everything came to an end for her. I really loved this series and I can’t wait to revisit it again some day!
Recommend?: If you liked the first two then I definitely think you should pick up the third one!
My Rating: 4.4/5
A Few Favorite Quotes from Pretty Wanted…**
One Person. All it would take was one person to recognize us, call us out. Crowds were equal parts danger and safety.
Behind every story is a chapter untold. Keep an eye on the things you care about. Passion is the enemy of good judgement.
My last name could be Granger. Willa Granger. Actually, if I was going to get technical, it was Maggie Willa Siebert Fox Granger. Hey, I thought, another week on the road and I might aquire a few more add-ons. Nothing would surprise me at this point.
**From the ARC version of Pretty Wanted, may be different in the final copy of the book.
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About the Author
My debut young adult novel PRETTY CROOKED (Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins) was released in March 2012, and the sequel, PRETTY SLY, is out in March 2014. COIN HEIST, a YA thriller, is out in June 2014 (Adaptive Studios). I live in Philadelphia with my husband and son.
- 3 signed copies of Pretty Wanted (US)
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