Pretty Bad Things

Pretty Bad Things

4.0 4
by C. J. Skuse

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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


"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!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Paisley and Beau Argent are the famous Wonder Twins who, at six years old, are found in the woods of New Jersey three days after their abusive mother's overdose. Following her death, they also lose their caring father, who is imprisoned for robbery. The twins tell their story—with some fairy tale–like embellishments—through alternating voices: after exploiting the twins on the talk-show circuit, their money-grubbing grandmother sends troublemaker Paisley to several boarding schools in New Jersey (all of which she gets expelled from) and keeps contemplative Beau with her in Los Angeles. But at 16, Beau discovers a stash of letters from their father that were kept from them; the siblings reunite in Las Vegas, determined to find him. When they run out of cash, their story morphs from Hansel and Gretel to Bonnie and Clyde. Skuse's fast-paced, edgy debut incorporates some predictable characters (including the twins' malevolent grandmother and a disapproving school principal), but she conveys the twins' powerful connection through their affecting dialogue and recollections of childhood. Readers should be fully invested in their whirlwind tour of the Vegas strip, right up to the unexpected ending. Ages 13–up. (July)
From the Publisher

"It's so good I'd even recommend it to people I don't like." -- Kevin Brooks

"Slick, hip, anarchic. Fresh and effortlessly readable." -- The Bookseller UK

"There's an impressive filmic quality...Altogether pretty damn good." -- The Telegraph UK

Children's Literature - Janis Flint-Ferguson
Twins Paisley and Beau could not be more different. Paisley is trying to get kicked out of the latest boarding school to which she has been sent and Beau is living in the lap of Grandmother's luxury. But they do have a strong familial connection and when Beau finds out that the story of Father abandoning them is not true, he is quick to contact his sister. She manages to be just violent enough to get thrown out of school and makes her way to Grandmother's house. There the two read through letters that their father had sent them from prison, which they have never seen. It turns out that the two were media darlings when they were just six, having wandered out of their house during a tragic turn of events. Now Paisley is a beautiful high school demon; smart mouthed and prone to violence, she has bounced from school to school, counselor to counselor. Beau has been Grandmother's pet, kept away from his sister and trapped within a lifestyle not of his own making. Once the two come to realize that Grandmother has been keeping them apart from their beloved father, they take off for Las Vegas to reunite with him, leaving in their wake arson and robbery. Told in two voices, the violence and language make this a book for mature readers. The conclusion gives an insinuation of more story to tell, but not all readers will be drawn to such unsympathetic characters. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—In a story that hints at "Hansel and Gretel," twins Paisley and Beau Argent explain in alternating chapters how they came to be on a candy-strewn crime spree. After their mother's death from an overdose when they were six, the siblings were dubbed the "Wonder Twins," having surviving being lost in the woods for several days. Now, foul-mouthed, impetuous, sarcastic 16-year-old Pais is the perfect foil to her shy, obedient brother. Their father has been in jail after stealing to support the family. Their greedy custodial grandmother is after the fortune the twins have amassed with their acting careers. Following a few clues in letters their grandmother has hidden from them, the teens head to Las Vegas to find their recently released father. When the trail runs cold, Paisley decides to get his attention the only way she knows how—by coming up with a creative way to land herself in the spotlight again. She pressures Beau into committing a series of signature holdups. Dressed in black and white, they hit candy shops, taking no money, just leaving the message, "Tell Buddy we love him" along with a Wonder Twins sticker. As a media-induced frenzy whips up new legends around the sibs, over-the-top fan clubs for the whimsical bandits spring up, leading things to a surprising conclusion. This fast-paced, humorous, quirky novel will appeal to older teens.—Madigan McGillicuddy, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, GA

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
HL660L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

C.J. SKUSE loves graphic novels, '80s sitcoms, Gummi Bears, and malamutes. She hates omelettes, carnivals, and coughs. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University in England. PRETTY BAD THINGS is her debut novel; she is currently working on her second book.

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Pretty Bad Things 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jennystwilight More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with this story from the beginning. The badass persona of the main character Paisley caught my attention from the get-go. She's a troubled teen who's life is going from school to school because she continues to get kicked out due to her "I don't care" attitude. Paisley has been seeing a therapist ever since she found her mother dead and took off into the woods of New Jersey with her twin brother Beau. After three days lost in the woods, the "Wonder Twins" as the paparazzi called them were found and taken to their grandmother who later exploits them for all the money she can get her hands on. After Beau discovers that their long lost father, who was convicted of robbery has sent the twins letters their entire life, and did not abandon them as their grandmother had said, Beau is undecided how to tell his sister Paisley. After hearing that her father has not forgotten about them, and has sent them letters that her grandmother had forced the maid to hide, Paisley finds yet another way to get herself kicked out of the most recent school she's attending. With her flight ticket in hand, she's ready to head back to her grandmother's house and talk to her brother on how to gain contact with their father. This story shows just how far one will go to for love or to be loved.
Book_WhispererJO More than 1 year ago
Pretty Bad Things is an great story about the awful truths about greed and betrayal. Paisley and Beau are national celeberties due to their unfortunate past of having found their mother overdosed and going in search of their father only to get lost in the woods for days following the incident. While this was many years earlier that present has left them with much wealth and even bigger problems. This is a terrible story about these to young people and the moment they decide that life has handed them the raw deal. Paisley and Beau are determined to set out and find their estranged Dad; this also will allow the two to seperate themselves from their money grubby Grandmother that is using them solely for the wealth that it has provided her. Pretty Bad Things will tug at your heart strings, and make readers contemplate the true nature of some individuals. This is a eye opening experience to look at the world without the rose colored glass. Readers Beware!