Pretty Crooked trilogy by Elisa Ludwig

21 Jul

9780062066077 Pretty Crooked

Willa Fox has just moved to a dream town and sent to a fantastically rich school. There, she manages to befriend the Glitterati, a trio of very rich girls who dictate the highest social status. To even some of the score when a few of the scholarship girls are mercilessly targeted by the Glitterati, Willa recruits Tre, a reformed juvenile delinquent, to teach her a few criminal skills and begins stealing from the rich to give a little more back to those less fortunate, a more junior and modern day Robin Hood. When she gets caught, though, she finds she’s bitten off more than she can chew because not only is she facing social ostracism, but her mom is behaving weirdly too and suddenly disappears.

13146824 Pretty Sly

Willa must face the consequences of her actions despite having a missing mother. However, she can’t just abandon her mom. Breaking her parole, she and her friend, Aidan, set off to find Willa’s mom. With the help of the social media Sly Fox fan club, currently trending, led by their friends Tre and Cherise, Willa and Aidan have cash and make sympathetic young friends everywhere. They also add more crimes to their already long list, and discover just why Willa’s mom is running and who is out to get her. In finding her mom, Willa comes to discover many truths about herself and her past, and this is just enough to put her in a lot of danger.

22584503 Pretty Wanted

Willa is now on the run from the police and the FBI, having eluded capture after making a deal for her (former “mother” now revealed to be) sister’s faked death and her new life in Mexico. After finding out her real mom was murdered and that her murderers are still after her and her sister, Leslie, Willa is determined to find out more about her real mom’s life, especially since Willa’s got a one way ticket to juvie if she’s captured. She and Aidan have made it to St. Louis, the last place her family lived and where her real mom was murdered. There she and Aiden, eventually joined by Tre, must follow a trail long cold: discovering a diary, a covered up accident, a robbery, and the secret to her own paternity. But discovering the truth doesn’t mean much when she and Aiden are confronted with death. What will become of the Sly Fox and her friends with determined killers on their tail?

This series was a fairly enjoyable wild ride (read?) born out of desiring justice and exposing the truth that transformed into a heart-stopping race to discover Willa’s real past as her life falls about her ears. From the original premise of a modern girl Robin Hood, it veered way off into a Veronica Mars-esque murder mystery, albeit not as addicting. Many of the background characters are very trope, and Willa seems more like 17 than her 15 years, especially once you consider her relationship with her “mom” and Aiden. My favorite character was Tre, who was both resourceful, funny, and a true friend. He really made the whole thing possible. I can’t say I much enjoyed how the book ended, that’s not to say it ended badly, but there was just a lot to process and a very short time to do so. I also really hated that Aidan ran off, while Willa took responsibility for her actions. Aidan never struck me as that guy who would run off looking like an escaped criminal but more like he would just continue flaunting his reputation as a rich man’s party boy son who does whatever he pleases. Not going to say much about how the mystery is solved, not to ruin this with any spoilers! I would give this series a 3 out of 5, and perfect for mystery-loving middle grades or high school freshmen. It’s likeable but doesn’t have the wow factor to appeal to older teen readers or adults. Finally, this is unimportant, but I still thought Corbin and Leslie should end up together, especially considering Leslie’s past and how that experience must have scarred her. I did really like the covers. The black and white photography is appealing.


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