Think Mean Girls plus Robin Hood.
Willa Fox is the new girl in town and is going to Valley Prep, the school for rich kids (how could it not be, with a name like that?). Willa’s mom has recently made a really, really really good sale on her art (do painters actually make money?), so Willa is now one of the rich kids, too. She notices that the scholarship kids are treated like dirt, decides someone should do something about the social injustice, and goes about stealing from her so-called friends, the “Glitterati,” and giving to the scholarship kids. Of course, the moral complexities start to get…pretty complicated. She meets a rich boy named Aiden who has a different way of rebelling against the social order. She starts lying to her mom, and realizing her mom might be keeping a few secrets of her own. The drama!
I really liked this story, but it’s not for everyone. It’s very formulaic with few surprises if you have any experience in this genre, but the formula is well-done and entertaining. Willa has really good intentions, which makes her sympathetic even when she makes foolish choices. She can be a little annoying though, so again, maybe not for everyone. But, if you're going to only read one book with this kind of plot, this is a pretty good choice.
The characters are intriguing and layered. Willa, and therefore the reader, gets certain first impressions from all of them, but then through the story they all get layers (like onions), which I appreciated. Aiden, the Glitterati, the scholarship kids, etc, are not completely as they appear, and are fleshed out really well. I look forward to more of these characters in future books.
Pretty Crooked is the beginning of a series, so I was pleased to see that there’s a good full story arc with Willa, while still leaving a few loose ends that makes me want to continue reading. I’m especially curious about what’s going on with her mom.
I gave it four out of five stars.