Review: Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig

Pretty Crooked
Author: Elisa Ludwig
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books: an imprint of HarperCollins
Age Group: Teen
Source: Borrowed from library
Amazon     Barnes and Noble     IndieBound
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Summary 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 Thoughts

Let me start right off by saying that I am a HUGE Robin Hood fan.  When I was a kid, I was positively obsessed with him.  I think I’ve seen nearly every movie/TV show.  Of course, I’ve seen the Robin Hood with Kevin Costner, The Adventures of Robin Hood from the 1930s, Robin Hood: Men in Tights (so funny!), this weird TV show they had in England often called Robin of Sherwood, Disney’s Robin Hood.  And more recently the BBC Robin Hood (although, I have not watched the third and final season because of what happened at the end of season two – if you’ve seen it you know exactly what I am talking about!).  The only one I haven’t seen that I can think of is the 2010 Russell Crowe version – I really an not a Russell Crowe fan, so I don’t know if I will be watching that.  I have even seen the Showtime (I think) Robin of Locksley with Devon Sawa (man I had a crush on him!).

So, obviously I had to read Pretty Crooked.  Modern-day, female Robin Hood?  Sign me up!  Unfortunately, this book did not live up to my expectations.  First off, I just don’t think any of the characters were fully-developed.  And often, some of the things they said just didn’t seem to flow right.  I just couldn’t get a feeling for the MC, Willa Fox.  Yep, that’s right, her name is Willa Fox.  Any connection to the Disney Robin Hood, who was an actual fox, I wonder?

Anyway, after moving to Paradise Valley, and starting at a private school, Willa soon makes friends with the popular girls (called the Glitterati!), and she loves it.  Then she discovers that two of the Glitterati (Kellie and Nikki) are pretty awful, and mean to the scholarship students.  She wants to help out the scholarship students (who, I might add, are all girls and Mexican – stereotypical?) so she get it into her head that if she bought them expensive pieces of clothing, people won’t pick on them.  Really?!  Nice clothes are going to solve their problems?  I mean, that isn’t even addressing the bigger issue, that people should not be judged by what they wear, look like, how much money they have, etc.  But Willa does’t have money, so she decides to steal from the rich mean kids at school, then she will buy these girls a pretty, expensive outfit, and all their problems will be solved.  But of course, Willa doesn’t know the first thing about thievery, so she asks Tre (who happens to be African American, from Detriot, and has a record – more stereotypes here!?) for stealing lessons.  And he helps her!

Anyway, I just thought that whole premise was a bit ridiculous.  And here is one of my main problems:

Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor, right?  But he stole from evil Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottinghman, who were over taxing the peasants, right?  He was taking back money that belonged to the peasants, and giving it back to them. And of course, raising money to save King Richard, too.

But Willa is steeling money that these rich kids’ parents earned.  Not money that belonged to the scholarship students!  Not really okay in my book.  This felt too much like real theft, even if she was buying things for kids who didn’t have much.

Another things that I just wasn’t feeling in this book was the romance between Willa and Aidan.  Not really feeling a whole bunch of chemistry, there.

There is also this other mystery that we only get little snippets about throughout this book regarding Willa’s mother, and this mysterious man.  But do we really get any answers?  Nope.  Apparently this is going to be a series, and I have to say, I was not happy about that.

I don’t know.  It was an okay book, and certainly check it out if the summary interests you.  But I was just disappointed with it.  I am glad I read it, because I would always wonder about it otherwise, but don’t go in with really high expectations.

Don’t forgot to enter my very first giveaway of an gift card!

Blog Note:  I am going to be changing some ratings I have given to some books.  Mainly making them higher, because as I’ve read more YA books, there are some that I liked, but I might have liked another more.  So, I have to adjust my rating.  Just in case you are wondering.

About Quinn

I'm a twenty-something children's librarian at a public library in Central New York. I've long left my teen years behind me, but I love to read YA and children's books. I have two adorable dogs. Ginger is a mix between a poodle and havanese, and Daphne is Bichon Frise. Other things I love: Favorite Movie: Singing in the Rain Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Favorite TV Show: Monk
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10 Responses to Review: Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig

  1. Liesel Hill says:

    Thanks for the honest review. I’ve heard mixed reviews on this book. I don’t think it’s for me. Happy Monday! 😀

  2. Candice says:

    I’ve really only heard good things about this one, but not a ton of things about it. Does that make sense? I haven’t read it, and haven’t really had an urge to read it, but I can see your point about its downsides that I’m sure not a ton of people really see. Glad you pointed them out! Great, honest, review!

  3. Brittany says:

    Oh that’s a bummer! I thought this looked pretty cute – I really liked the Robin Hood take on the story, but I totally understand how frustrating it sounds, especially for someone who loves Robin Hood as much as you do! Maybe I’ll skip this one for now. My TBR list is long enough anyway!

  4. First up: Holla! for the love of Robin Hood: Men in Tights. It was a personal fav of mine growing up too… hilarious! Second: I’m sure you already know about these, being a Robin fan and all, but Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Melissa Meyer looks good and I heard that Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen was pretty good too. You know, if you need to add to the Robin Hood TBR Pile 😉

    • Quinn says:

      You can’t have too much Robin Hood goodness! I love Robin Hood: Men in Tights! Seriously hilarious. Mel Brooks is awesome!

      I have heard of them, but I haven’t read them yet. I need to get on that 🙂

  5. I’m totally with you on this one. It was okay, but I did have a lot of issues with it. I haven’t figured out if I want to read the sequel. We shall see!

    Oh, but, you definitely need to go pick up Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen RIGHT AWAY!

  6. Merin says:

    I agree with every single thing you said about this book. I was super disappointed by it as well, for many of the same reasons you mentioned. (And Robin Hood: Men in Tights is FABULOUS!) My other problem was the whole issue of bullying and how it wasn’t addressed in any kind of meaningful way. That website absolutely horrified me, and it could have been a great opportunity to really address cyberbullying and what teens can do to each other. But that, too, was rather glossed over, just like much of this book. Here is my review, if you’re interested. 🙂

    • Quinn says:

      Yes, the bullying really wasn’t addressed at all. I couldn’t imagine a school not doing everything it could to prevent websites like that! Ridiculous.

      I am hearing lots of Robin Hood: Men in Tights love in the comments! It’s making me want to watch it again. Seriously, Cary Elwes was so adorable!

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