Pretty Crooked

Elisa Ludwig. HarperCollins/Tegen, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-206606-0
When 15-year-old Willa’s mother, an artist, sells some paintings for major money, they move to Paradise Valley, Ariz., and are quickly absorbed into a privileged new life. Down-to-earth Willa is shocked by the displays of affluence at her new school, especially among the Glitterati—three popular girls who bring her into their circle. Willa spends her mother’s savings on designer clothes, but when she finds out that the Glitterati is behind a malicious blog making fun of “The Busteds” (kids who are bussed in from poorer neighborhoods), she seeks revenge by pickpocketing the rich and secretly buying gifts for the Busteds (“I wasn’t just a thief.... I was an equalizer”). Meanwhile, she contends with her crush on a classmate and her mother’s strange behavior. First in a planned trilogy, Ludwig’s debut uses its familiar fish-out-of-water premise to take aim at classism and mean-girl bulling, with Willa’s Robin Hood–style behavior lending the story some freshness. A (potentially frustrating) cliffhanger ending suggests Willa’s troubles will be far more serious in the next installment. Ages 13–up. Agent: Leigh Feldman, Writers House. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2012
Release date: 03/01/2012
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-06-206608-4
Paperback - 360 pages - 978-0-06-206607-7
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