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Monday, May 21, 2012

Pretty Bad Things by C.J. Skuse

US Cover

Release Date: July 1, 2011 (UK: March 1, 2010)
Publisher: Scholastic (UK: Chicken House)
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: UK Publisher
Pages: 256
Buy: Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound
Description: Goodreads
"Wonder Twins" on the run--and running amok--in Vegas. Road Trip!

Paisley and Beau are boldface names again. Last time, paparazzi called them the "Wonder Twins," two kids found alone but alive in the woods of exotic New Jersey. Three days after their mom's death -- and before their dad's criminal misdeeds.

Flash-forward to now: Their so-called lives? Suck out loud: Hating on their cougarized, Botoxic grandma, they're totally clueless about the location of ex-con Daddy. Till they discover a stash of old letters. That's when they decide to jack the Pontiac and hit the road. Holding up donut shops in Sin City might seem extreme, but if they can just get their pretty bad faces back on TV -- or TMZ -- they might wrap up their whole gaga saga with an Oprah-worthy reunion already!

UK Cover
If there’s one thing I can tell you about C.J. Skuse, it’s that she knows how to bring the funny.  She did it with Rockoholic (which I freaking LOVED by the way) and she’s done it again with Pretty Bad Things.  I should say at this point that although Pretty Bad Things was published in the UK a couple of years ago, it wasn’t until last year that I actually got round to reading a copy of the book (when it launched in the US).   The story is definitely original and the writing is exceptional, mostly due to the strong voice of the characters.  There’s a TON of LOL humour, complex characters and with Las Vegas a setting?  This sounds like a winner to me. ;)

Let’s talk about “The Wonder Twins” Paisely and Beau who couldn’t be more different to one another if they tried.  Whilst Beau tries to be good and follow the rules, Paisley is the wild child of the two.  She’s just purposefully got herself expelled from her fifth boarding school so that she and Beau can go on a road trip to find their jailbird dad.  They thought that the years of radio silence meant he didn’t give a damn but in fact, their grandma has been hiding letters from him the entire time.  As a modern day Bonnie and Clyde, they set off on a road trip with a plan to hold up donut shops and get themselves on TV to let dear old dad know that they’re in town.   You can guarantee that hilarity ensues. 

I have to say that my favourite character and probably one of the strongest voices in the book is Paisley.  She is fearless, reckless and beyond blunt.  She says what she thinks and makes no apologies for it.  It may sound strange but I can’t help but admire her for that.  There’s something liberating in her behaviour and although it gets her into trouble most of the time, she’s just so damn cool.  

There’s no real romance in the book as it’s mostly about family relationships and I never thought I would say it, but the book is so entertaining that I really didn’t mind the lack of romance.  I’m not going to give away the plot for you but it’s definitely worth reading and I am putting C.J. Skuse on my automatic pre order list right now. 

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