MTV/Pocket Books Trade Paperback original/$12.95

by Louise Luna
MTV/Pocket Books Trade Paperback original/$12.95

How many times does one person need to be reminded that life is often unfair? If this unsettling tidbit has escaped your conscious recently, Crooked is the book for you. Louisa Luna, author of the much talked about novel Brave New Girl, gives the reader a look at the not-so-lovely aspects of teenage life.

This 309-page novel follows the life of Melody Booth immediately after her release from prison. Forced to move back in with her inattentive, slightly neurotic mother, Booth finds hope in the bottom of a whiskey glass on many occasions. Given Booth's unimaginably violent flashbacks of her days in the pen, mixed with her struggle to cope with life on the outside, you might be wondering how your average reader could relate to this character.

That's simple: One of the best parts of reading is discovering your ability to relate to a completely unfamiliar lifestyle, and this novel makes ample use of this skill. While you might not know what it's like to smell the fresh air of freedom after a three-year sentence, you might find shades of yourself in Booth's anguish to figure out who her true friends are. Like the rest of us at one time or another, Booth searches for her place in society while trying to figure out just whom she can trust.

While the novel is slow-moving in the beginning, the climax will keep your eyes scanning frantically till the end. And while the twist at the book's conclusion gets your blood rushing, the plot as a whole leaves you sad and depressed with just how unfortunate life can be.

This novel is recommended as a light read. Don't expect a completely realistic view of life from a book affiliated with MTV, which usually gears its material toward a young audience. With moderate expectations, it's a safe bet you'll be pleased with Crooked.

—Melinda Tam

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