Pretty Bad Things by C.J. Skuse
Came Out: July 1, 2011
Publisher: Chicken House
Source: Vera (Luxury Reading)
Age Group: Young Adult
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"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!
After their mother died of a drug overdose, the “Wonder Twins” Paisley and Beau were found wandering the forest, miraculously alive after three days alone. Their father was arrested; their grandmother began stealing money donated to them after the world heard of their plight. They were instantly famous.That was years ago.Now, the twins are sixteen and separated by their grandmother. She claims that Paisley is a bad influence on Beau and she is sent away to a different school. They used to keep in contact all the time but now they don't keep in touch as much.This all changes after Beau finds a stash of hidden letters from their father. His grandmother had claimed that he had never tried to help them or write to them. Beau immediately contacts Paisley. They reunite to embark on a wild goose chase around Vegas to find their father.In attempts to get his attention, they begin to steal, creating a stir everywhere as people come to see the “Wonder Twins” in a new light. But the question weighing on their minds is: will attracting everybody’s attention actually lead them to their father?I’m a twin, so I love reading other books about twins. After reading the back of Pretty Bad Things, I was instantly drawn to the story. It sounded hilarious and bizarre – a great combination.The emphasis on fame was interesting to read about. It brought up questions about doing bad things for good reasons. I couldn’t decide whether I liked Paisley or not because she was so determined, but sometimes she was incredibly rude to the people she encountered. Where were Paisley’s morals?! She was pretty one-sided in her views of the world. I enjoy reading about "flawed" characters and although she had gotten a bad deal out of life, she was still self-absorbed about it mostly.Beau seemed sweet and was very likeable. He was also dedicated and loyal to Paisley even though he didn't like her methods. He followed along with what she did, but added a thoughtful spin to the actions in this book.I enjoyed the alternating points of view because there was both a reckless thoughtless character and a more sincere character.Her and Beau’s relationship was interesting and I laughed when the therapist started asking about twins. Those questions aren’t really ones that any twin can answer because we don’t know what it’s like not being a twin.The delicious backdrop of Vegas was entertaining and there was so much opportunity for deviation and plot twists. The descriptions are elaborate and glamorous and dirty. Although it’s not for me, Pretty Bad Things did a great job of explaining the attraction so many people have to this city.One aspect of the story that I scoffed at was the idea behind the twins finding their father. Paisley didn't really think about the consequences and she trapped Beau into doing what she wanted.Sure, it made for a clever and entertaining story, but I just found the plot a little ridiculous.I don't think that any teenagers would do what they did, and like Jennifer Echols points out in Love Story, just because something may be true doesn't mean that it's realistic.I didn't like how they built a fanbase. I don't think that that many teens would idolize them had it been a true story. I felt horrified by the fact that Paisley didn't care about the clerks or stores that she ruined, but was absorbed in finding her dad.I did like how they incorporated social media into it because that would be discussed a lot on the internet. In one point, they're talking about how there was a website dedicated to them. That would probably happen if it were real.I did like the book, but the reason that I'm discussing realism is because that was a major deal-breaker for me in terms of how much I liked it.The writing was pretty good though: it reminded me almost of Tara Altebrando's in Dreamland Social Club. It was very quirky and different.The novel itself was mostly character-driven. Although there was action, it all depended on the characters. There was a contrast between Beau and Paisley that made the book so much better than it would have been.I think it moved rather fast for my taste though. Had it been about fifty or a hundred pages longer, I think that it would have grown on me more.All in all, Pretty Bad Things is riveting and entertaining, and a perfect road trip book for anybody who enjoys a fun read.Recommended for anybody who loved: Beauty Queens; Two-Way Street; Bonnie and Clyde stories; Stealing Heaven; etc,.What's your point of view on doing bad things for the right reasons?Do you agree with Paisley's choice of trashing her grandmother's house?How do you think their father felt watching the broadcasts? Proud or worried?Paisley and Beau were bad role models, and they were considered "heroes" among other teenagers. How is this a trend in modern society?What other bad role models can you name who have been idolized by teens in recent times? etc,.