BOOK REVIEW: Crooked by Laura and Tom McNeal

Cover linked to Goodreads!

My rating: ★★★

Genre: YA, contemporary

Publication Date: 1999

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Clara Wilson has a lot on her mind. Her best friend, Gerri, has started moving in circles that will never in a million years include Clara and her crooked nose. Clara’s parents are fighting again, and her mom keeps talking about teaching in France. At least Clara still has Hambone, her loyal dog. And her crush on Amos McKenzie, of course.

Amos McKenzie doesn’t much like home these days. His dad’s corny questions are bugging him more than usual, and his mom’s gone religious for no apparent reason. On top of that, he’s starting to fall for a major dink, Clara Wilson. And as it turns out, he’s not the only one…

The Tripp Brothers are the biggest delinquents in town. They smash mailboxes, shoplift groceries, and cruise around in their Seduck (half sedan, half truck). They’ve just turned their sights on the school’s newest, cutest couple. And that can only mean one thing for Clara and Amos: danger.

Clara and Amos–their lives turned upside down by each other, their families, and the two meanest brothers in town–discover that honesty may be the answer…but it can be awfully hard to find. In this emotionally compelling and suspenseful young adult novel, Laura and Tom McNeal present a searingly accurate look at life in ninth grade–where thrills, heartbreak, and intimidation can take place at a locker, in the lunchroom, or in a bathroom stall.

My review:

He didn’t look like a jerk. But, as her mother liked to say, jerks don’t always wear an identification label.

I found this book on Booksale last week at a cheap price so I bought it. Not only that it is affordable but it has a very mysterious dust jacket and the hardbound part (what do you call it?) is very beautiful too. The dust jacket reminded me of the movie 88 (which is one of the greatest movies out there so check it out) I know I have to add the book in my collection. It’s also cool and cute at the same time that a married couple wrote this book together.

She would never live among the adult human beings. She would simply refuse, like Peter Pan.

The cover is not the only factor that lured me into buying Crooked. The synopsis in the book sounded really mysterious and that’s the reason why I immediately read this book after buying it, which I rarely do nowadays because most of the time I just put my newly bought babies on my shelf and add them on my TBR pile. But with Crooked, I immediately dive into the story, back the ‘90s. This book was published in 1999 and the story was also set during that time but readers can still relate to the story and the characters. I enjoyed the book for the most part. The writing is easy to get even though it’s in two POVs: one for Clara (the girl main character) and the other for Amos (the boy main character). The writing is good that I think that this book is not only for young adult readers but it can also be read by adult readers.

“I like that strumpet word, though,” Bruce said. “Kind of sounds like a dessert for grownups.” ….Now he threw his voice into the husky register of a male middle-aged New Yorker. “I’d like coffee, brandy, and a French strumpet, please.”

Like I said earlier, the characters are relatable. Teenage girls can relate on Clara for feeling insecure about her appearance, social and family life. Some readers may find Clara’s issue about her crooked nose annoying but not me. I kind of understood how she felt not because I have a crooked nose but because when I was in Grade 9/3rd year of high school like Clara that was the time I felt insecurity about my appearance, social and family life. Then there’s Amos Mackenzie who is cute and just a really adorable boy. I really like his relationship with his father and sometimes, with his sister too. One side character of this book that I really liked is Bruce, Amos’s best friend. He’s funny and a friend Amos can trust and depend on. He reminds me of Ben from Paper Towns.

…it seemed like the more you looked and the deeper you dug, the more you found stuff you never really wanted to find.

I really enjoyed the first 150 pages of this book. It’s cliché but it’s the kind of cliché that is bearable, at least for me. Then after the first 150 pages it went from good to okay. Then the last 50 pages annoyed me a little because it went from okay cliché to cliché that I can’t bear. If you’re looking for a light read then this book is for you. You can finish it really quick though after the first 150 pages, I kind of slowed down a little bit from reading it. High school girls and boys may connect to this book so I highly recommend it to them.

Read my other reviews here.




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