Crooked

Crooked

4.3 33
by Tom McNeal, Laura McNeal
     
 

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A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
A California Book Award Winner for Juvenile Literature
An ALA-YALSA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults
A Booklist Top Ten Youth Romance

Clara Wilson and Amos MacKenzie are finding their lives turned upside down: by each other, by fickle friendships, by failing families, and by the two

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Overview

A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
A California Book Award Winner for Juvenile Literature
An ALA-YALSA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults
A Booklist Top Ten Youth Romance

Clara Wilson and Amos MacKenzie are finding their lives turned upside down: by each other, by fickle friendships, by failing families, and by the two meanest brothers in town. As the pressures of high school and home life collide, Clara and Amos struggle to maintain their identities amid the chaos. Honesty may be the answer...but it can be awfully hard to find.

Editorial Reviews

Horn Book Magazine
Clara Wilson's normal life is changing: her best friend dumps her for a more popular group, and her parents' marriage is clearly in trouble. Then one day, her mother walks out on her department-store job and doesn't return home, leaving Clara and her father to fend for themselves. Across town, Amos Mackenzie, who's in ninth grade with Clara, also finds his comfortably familiar life changing around him. His father makes frequent visits to the doctor for an undisclosed illness, and his mother has suddenly become religious. When Amos inadvertently interrupts bad boys Charles and Eddie Tripp in an act of vandalism, he wins a gash in the head from the brutal Charles and becomes an overnight hero. Amidst the swirl of events, a mutual crush between Amos and Clara begins to grow, despite perpetual hindrances such as Amos's newfound popularity; his old friend Bruce, master of the prank phone call; and competition for Clara's affections by none other than Eddie Tripp. Clara is both scared and excited by the dangerously charming Eddie, who seems not-quite-so threatening as his older brother Charles. But the danger proves all too real in a terrifying climax that reveals everyone's true nature. Set during the dark winter days in a small town, Crooked explores both commonly accepted cruelties and vicious criminality, yet the tangibl yearning and imprefect goodness of both protagonists prevents the novel itself from succumbing to darkness. The crooked slope of Clar's nose---"the thing [she] worried most about....before everything stopped being normal"---dwindles in significance as both she and Amos bravely face their fears and stand up for themselves. The strands of their stories are cleverly intertwined in this well-plotted and engaging novel.
Children's Literature - Scott S. Floyd
Clara Wilson has a crooked nose. She notices it more than anyone does. It troubles her almost as much as her parents' fighting. Amos MacKenzie has a crooked life. His mother has him baptized on a whim, he gets beat up and turned into a hero for it, and his milkman father dies during an operation. The two Tripp brothers are just crooked. They are the epitome of meanness. Felony is their middle name. Their main goal in life is to live so that they wreak havoc on everyone else. Now Clara and Amos are in their sights. All four of these characters become entangled in a suspenseful story that is bound to keep the reader going until the end. This novel has the makings of a truly masterful juvenile thriller. The writing style is gripping. I believe that the thing that might keep it out of school libraries is the sexual content; more exactly, the near rape scene. As much as enjoyed the story line, I highly recommend its care in placing this book in students' hands due to the mature content.
Library Journal
Gr 6-10-In this fine first novel set in upstate New York, two ordinary teens navigate the complicated, sometimes scary world they inhabit. Clara Wilson, 14, has a crooked nose, a best friend who deserts her, and parents who argue all the time. When her mother accepts a teaching job in Spain, Clara feels abandoned and resentful. Fellow ninth-grader Amos MacKenzie has parents who embarrass him, and keep secrets from him. He enjoys a newfound popularity after being attacked by the town bad boys, Charles and Eddie Tripp, but is lost and confused when his father unexpectedly dies following exploratory surgery. His budding relationship with Clara is his only consolation. When the Tripp brothers vow revenge on Amos for reporting them to the police, he and Clara face intimidation, which draws them even closer together. In a dramatic climax, the Tripps break into her house and corner her in the attic. The McNeals' recognition of the angst of junior high with its fickle friendships, bullies, and first love make their novel one that mirrors real life. The characters' actions and reactions ring true as they try to cope with all of the changes that life has dealt them and still maintain a grasp on who they are. For most of the novel, the story is told from the alternating viewpoints of the two main characters, but in the climactic final chapters, their voices become blended. Readers will come away knowing that even though their paths have taken some unexpected twists and turns, these young people are on a straight and sure course.-Janet Hilbun, formerly at Sam Houston Middle School, Garland, TX Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375841910
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
05/08/2007
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
217,103
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
12 - 16 Years

Meet the Author

Laura McNeal is a freelance journalist and former English teacher. Tom McNeal
is the critically acclaimed author of many short stories and the adult novel Goodnight, Nebraska, winner of the 1999 James A. Michener Memorial Prize. The McNeals are married and live in Fallbrook, California.

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Crooked 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 68 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book. I thought it was just awesome. I've read it like 25 times. There's something about it that gets me hooked everytime I read it.
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teal-z More than 1 year ago
i just finished reading this and i loved it! it was suspenseful, made my heart race, and made me want to cry at some parts. loved getting to get into both charecters heads instead of just the one. amazing!
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Tyler-S More than 1 year ago
Crooked, by both Laura and Tom McNeal, is a novel about the lives of Clara Wilson and Amos McKenzie, and the drama of high school. When Clara's best friend begins to start hanging out with the "popular crowd", and her mother moves across the Atlantic Ocean, Clara feels as if she has nothing left. Then she meets Amos, who seems to be the one good thing in her life. But when he also begins becoming more popular, and it seems like everyone is moving on with their lives but Clara, she feels even more left out. When Amos tries to stop the neighborhood bullies, Charles and Eddie Tripp, he ends up taking a blow to the head with a baseball bat. That is when his rise to popularity begins, but with the death of his father, his popularity goes even higher, at possibly the worst possible time. Crooked describes the daily troubles of the average high school student, and show what they have to go through every day. This book is a memorable account of typical high school drama, simple as that. There are the clichéd characters: bully, jock, popular girl, unpopular girl who becomes popular, etc. I would recommend this book to students from ages 12 to 15.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this book a lot, when I started reading it, it was very hard to put down. What a creative way to show what great way to show what could happen between a small town boy and a small town girl with all that is happening around them. The twist that is added makes it even better! Two thumbs up for the McNeals!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book i must say was amazing!!! i didn't know exactly what i was getting when i picked it up and bought it i just thought it was wierd cuz of the old style milk bottle on the cover. i've read this book over many times and marked my favorite pages it's an intense look at the world of clara and amos two teens who have feelings for eachother but are to afraid to tell eachother clara is not popular or well liked and her family is falling apart when her mother get up and randomly leaves early from work and then decides to go off to a different country to live and amos' family situation isn't any better as he's father becomes ill and attends frequent hospital vists and as a result of all this his mother has turned into a big time religous person and he doesn't understand what going on. then add the Trip brothers which makes things not only more complex and difficult for them both but horrifying as well i would recomend this for teens and up who can handle the intense drama this is a real page turner very good!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is one of those books where even if youve read it multiple times you still want to go back and read it again.Also the authors do a great job at making eddie so likable yet still be one of the bad guys. Overall, GO GET THIS BOOK!MOST LIKELY, YOU WILL LOVE IT!