Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pretty Bad Things by C.J. Skuse

Release date (Australia): 1 August 2010
Rating: 8/10

Twins in Candy-Store Crime Spree...
I know what you’re thinking. Tearaway Teens. Yadda yadda. Maybe you’re right. But we’re all out of choices. Last time we made headlines, Beau and I were six-year-old ‘wonder twins’. Little kids found alive in woods after three days missing, looking for our dad. We’ve just hit sixteen and life’s not so wonderful. In fact, it sucks out loud. Still no Dad. Still lost. Still looking. But now we’ve got a clue to where Dad could be. Everything’s changed. It’s a long shot but we’ve nothing to lose.

I loved this book far more than I expected to. I was halfway through another book and just felt like reading something easy and light-hearted. I saw this on the shelf at work and figured it would be okay. But it was actually one of the coolest and most daring young adult books I have read in a while. I might be biased, though, because I am a big fan of Las Vegas. I’ve only spent one night there, but it was just fun. Being from the most isolated city in the world, perhaps I just loved the bright lights and the craziness. So finding out not only that this book featured twins as the main characters (another weird thing I love), but that it was primarily set in Vegas sold it to me then and there.

“It’s the living you want to be scared of, Beau, not the dead.”

The story alternates perspective from Paisley to Beau, the 16 year old twins at the centre of the story. Their mother is dead and their father has been absent since they were six years old, hence they have been living with their awful grandmother. Paisley is brash and crude and brave where Beau is quiet and determined and cautious. The contrast is perfect and the relationship is incredibly realistic. The strength of their relationship and the support and love they have for each other is evident from the beginning, as well as the sacrifices they would make in a heartbeat if it meant helping their sibling; this is the heart of the story for me. C.J. Skuse’s writing is almost flawless, incredibly witty and intelligent, with the points of view of the teenagers done perfectly.

Then I did something I haven’t done since I was a child. I screamed. It was the scream I screamed in the woods when I was six, on the second day of looking for Dad. It was the scream of lost causes.

There are some serious issues within the story, not only involving the search for their missing father, but issues of right and wrong, crime, sexuality and getting into dangerous situations, and many others. But there’s also Vegas, fun, wicked music, and awesome action. I hope this author writes another book soon, preferably involving Paisley and Beau again!


  1. I am borrowing this from you! :D

  2. Hi Lindy,
    I have just awarded you a Versatile Blogger award :) You can collect it here:

  3. Thanks heaps, Jess! So lovely of you. That's the second one I've received so I really need to make a post and award some awards myself very soon. xo