Wild and Crooked
Critically acclaimed author Leah Thomas blends a small-town setting with the secrets of a long-ago crime, in a compelling novel about breaking free from the past.In Samsboro, Kentucky, Kalyn Spence's name is inseparable from the brutal murder her father committed when he was a teenager. Forced to return to town, Kalyn must attend school under a pseudonym . . . or face the lingering anger of Samsboro's citizens, who refuse to forget the crime.Gus Peake has never had the luxury of redefining himself. A Samsboro native, he's either known as the "disabled kid" because of his cerebral palsy, or as the kid whose dad was murdered. Gus just wants to be known as himself.When Gus meets Kalyn, her frankness is refreshing, and they form a deep friendship. Until their families' pasts emerge. And when the accepted version of the truth is questioned, Kalyn and Gus are caught in the center of a national uproar. Can they break free from a legacy of inherited lies and chart their own paths forward?

Wild and Crooked Details

TitleWild and Crooked
Author
ReleaseJun 4th, 2019
PublisherBloomsbury
Rating
GenreContemporary, Young Adult, LGBT, GLBT, Queer, Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult Contemporary, Romance, Disability, Mystery

Wild and Crooked Review

  • emma
    January 1, 1970
    is there someone I can speak to about the phenomenon of feeling completely meh about books I was excited for?? because I've gotta tell ya, I'm pretty goddamn sick of it!!!!review to come--------------all you need is love books with representation and covers that look like this one(thanks to bloomsbury for the arc)
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  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    ...uh. this could be cool, but comparing a book starring a friendship between a guy and a girl to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe seems kind of... did this blurb writer actually read Ari&Danteedit: NOPE Y'ALL THEY'RE BOTH QUEER WE GOOD WE GOOD WE GOOD
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  • ⚔ Silvia ⚓
    January 1, 1970
    A lesbian girl and a pan guy become friends is the book we need
  • Melanie (TBR and Beyond)
    January 1, 1970
    “He turns so freaking pink. Look, I’m pretty queer, but hell if blushing boys aren’t the cutest thing since frolicking kittens.” Did I just read a book with healthy sexual and disability representation and a completely platonic friendship between a female and male? Why yes, yes I think I might have.Wild and Crooked follows two young people. One is a young woman named Kayln, whose father is in prison for murdering a man when she was a baby. The other is young man named Gus, whose father was th “He turns so freaking pink. Look, I’m pretty queer, but hell if blushing boys aren’t the cutest thing since frolicking kittens.” Did I just read a book with healthy sexual and disability representation and a completely platonic friendship between a female and male? Why yes, yes I think I might have.Wild and Crooked follows two young people. One is a young woman named Kayln, whose father is in prison for murdering a man when she was a baby. The other is young man named Gus, whose father was the one that happened to have been murdered by Kalyn’s father when he was just a baby. Kayln has moved back to her hometown, which means the town that her father committed the crime at and starts back at highschool under a different identity. She soon befriends Gus, not knowing he is the son of the man her father murdered and they become very close friends. Obviously, once they find out who the other is, problems are had and need to be figured out and to put an even bigger wrench in things, it turns out that Kayln’s father might be innocent so now they are also searching for what really happened the night both their father’s life essentially ended.We get a lot of amazing representation in this book. Gus has Cerebral Palsy, I do not have this disability so I cannot speak on the complete accuracy of it but I can talk as someone who is chronically ill and the feelings that he expresses and the role he takes because of how society acts towards him often. I thought it was done authentically, sometimes brutally but completely sensitively. I also loved that this was not the focus on Gus’s story, it was a part of him – it was never ignored but it also didn’t get turned into something for an able person to become a hero from. Thank god. Wild and Crooked also has very strong sexuality representation, while this book has ZERO romance, Gus is pansexual and Kayln is a lesbian. It is talked about and discussed but again, it’s not made a huge deal of – it’s just who they are and they love and accept each other for it instantly. It made my heart so very happy to see this beautiful, flawed, PLATONIC friendhsip between Gus and Kayln.We also get a third character into the mix more and more as the story goes on and that is Phillip, and he’s an oddball. He’s incredible socially awkward and talks as though everything is a movie or a role-playing game – it’s the only way he can relate. No, he does not have Autism – it is noted in the book that he didn’t quite make the cut but he did have a head injury as a child and that seems to have affected him. I don’t want to say too much about him, he’s a very interesting character – love him or hate him, again he feels pretty real.This contemporary story won’t be for everyone. I think we’ll see a lot of people DNFing it actually. This is completely character driven. Yes, there is a murder mystery plot going on and at times it does get a bit tense and you will probably never guess it all until it all gets revealed near the end but it’s not the heart of the book. The heart of the book is these characters and their lives and their growth and relationships. It also clocks in at over 400 pages, so if you aren’t into character driven books – this isn’t going to be for you. I thought it was incredible, I feel completely in love with these characters and the disability representation in particular just meant so much to me. If you think this one sounds like something you might enjoy then be sure to check it out!Thank you to Bloomsbury and Netgalley for an e-arc of this novel, in exchange for my honest review.
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  • megs_bookrack
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you, Bloomsbury!The synopsis of this sounds hella interesting. I have been living for this type of story lately...
  • Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
    January 1, 1970
    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight .This book is an absolute can't-miss. That is it, you need to read it. It is so wonderfully quirky and completely full of heart. There is diversity bursting at the damn seams, and it features one of the best platonic friendships I have ever had the pleasure to read about. There's discussion about a crapton of social issues that are really important for kids to read about. Gus and Kalyn's You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight .This book is an absolute can't-miss. That is it, you need to read it. It is so wonderfully quirky and completely full of heart. There is diversity bursting at the damn seams, and it features one of the best platonic friendships I have ever had the pleasure to read about. There's discussion about a crapton of social issues that are really important for kids to read about. Gus and Kalyn's families both play such a huge part in the book too, and their stories are equally important.  I am keeping this short and sweet because there isn't much more to say- it's so much about the evolving relationship and debunking stereotypes. You just need to experience the thing, okay? Great.Bottom Line: You need Gus and Kalyn in your life so... go forth and obtain them!
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  • Vicky Who Reads
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this so much & Leah Thomas really did not disappoint with this!!!! Murder mystery and rural towns and not only queer teens, but (so many) QUEER ADULTS TOO. Discussions on poverty & small towns which I loved.Also, I've seen reviewers say stuff about pan rep and after reading, I don't believe the MCs are pan. Kalyn is lesbian (says it explicitly) and Gus is gay/questioning, and Gus also has cerebral palsy & aphasia. He struggles with one of his arms (the right, I believe) & I loved this so much & Leah Thomas really did not disappoint with this!!!! Murder mystery and rural towns and not only queer teens, but (so many) QUEER ADULTS TOO. Discussions on poverty & small towns which I loved.Also, I've seen reviewers say stuff about pan rep and after reading, I don't believe the MCs are pan. Kalyn is lesbian (says it explicitly) and Gus is gay/questioning, and Gus also has cerebral palsy & aphasia. He struggles with one of his arms (the right, I believe) & his foot, so he has a limp, always uses a foot brace, and occasionally uses a cane on bad days.
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  • Brittany Lamb
    January 1, 1970
    This was so different from what I expected it to be but in the best way possible. I don’t even want to mumble on about what the book is about, because you can clearly read that from the synopsis. Instead, I’m going to tell you what you don’t know just from reading the synopsis.This book has some great representation. Both of our main characters are queer (Gus is pansexual and Kalyn is a lesbian) but that’s (thankfully) never the focus of the story. They just are and it’s not some big plot twist This was so different from what I expected it to be but in the best way possible. I don’t even want to mumble on about what the book is about, because you can clearly read that from the synopsis. Instead, I’m going to tell you what you don’t know just from reading the synopsis.This book has some great representation. Both of our main characters are queer (Gus is pansexual and Kalyn is a lesbian) but that’s (thankfully) never the focus of the story. They just are and it’s not some big plot twist to shake up the reader. Kalyn is open about liking girls very early on and Gus is a little confused but coming to terms with it nonetheless. There are also some other queer characters but I’m not going to ruin it all for you. In addition to this, Gus has cerebral palsy. This is definitely a part of his story line, but it doesn’t make up who he is. At least, he’s learning that. The representation just felt very realistic.The characters are all flawed but not because of the way they were written. They are imperfect because that is just the reality of human beings. While I felt like Kalyn’s role was a bit cliche, I still liked everyone. Since this story is told through different POVs, each person really added to the story and no one really felt underdeveloped to me. Each person existed as a part of the whole story, instead of as a supporting character that simply weaves in and out conveniently.The book is very easy to follow along with, but in the beginning, I have to say that I was a little underwhelmed. Not much happens for the first quarter of the book, but once it finally got into the good stuff, I really enjoyed the read. I was not expecting there to be any type of mystery in this, because the synopsis clearly states that one kid’s father was murdered and that the other kid’s father was the one doing the murdering. Seems pretty clear cut… right? I figured that this was going to be a story about the two of them overcoming what happened between their parents, if at all possible. You get some of that for sure, but there’s a lot more to this story, too.The pacing was done really well besides the beginning dragging for me a bit. I really enjoyed Leah Thomas’ writing style. I can seriously appreciate her ability to switch between three very different voices and still make it all flow together well. I also love that the relationship between Kalyn and Gus was completely platonic but still so important throughout the novel.It’s hard to review a book when you enjoyed it, but overall, I thought it was great. It is not at all what you would expect it to be, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Leah Thomas wrote a story that is completely unpredictable and I think that that is something to be treasured. If you enjoy well written contemporaries with good representation and interesting plot twists, I’d definitely recommend this to you. It’s an easy, enjoyable read. Also…. that cover!!!
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  • Nia •ShadesOfPaper•
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Macmillan and Bloomsbury YA for the ARC
  • Chelsea
    January 1, 1970
    This book is probably going to be great for certain readers, but the writing and humor style in this book did not mesh with me in the slightest.I also was not expecting such an integral mystery plotline in this book. This isn't necessarily bad, but I was hoping for more exploration of the justice system in relation to the central case and more discussion of how criminality/murder affects those in close proximity. Instead, the story focuses more on solving the case, and the reader doesn't really This book is probably going to be great for certain readers, but the writing and humor style in this book did not mesh with me in the slightest.I also was not expecting such an integral mystery plotline in this book. This isn't necessarily bad, but I was hoping for more exploration of the justice system in relation to the central case and more discussion of how criminality/murder affects those in close proximity. Instead, the story focuses more on solving the case, and the reader doesn't really get answers until the end, which doesn't allow for much in-depth exploration of the implications of these answers the characters found.Though there was a lot about this book that didn't sit right with me, it does have central queer characters and a focus on friendship, so I know it could be a really important book for some readers. Unfortunately, it's a low two stars from me.
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  • Sara (A Gingerly Review)
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsThis story was everything I hoped it would be. I cannot wait to write my review but I need a couple of days to process my thoughts.***HUGE Thanks to Bloomsbury for sending an ARC in exchange for my honest review.***------------Full review can be found here: https://agingerlyreview.wordpress.com...This book caught me off guard in the best way possible. The premise alone had my full attention, but the delivery of the story is what really captivated me. I struggled with Leah’s last story b 4.5 starsThis story was everything I hoped it would be. I cannot wait to write my review but I need a couple of days to process my thoughts.***HUGE Thanks to Bloomsbury for sending an ARC in exchange for my honest review.***------------Full review can be found here: https://agingerlyreview.wordpress.com...This book caught me off guard in the best way possible. The premise alone had my full attention, but the delivery of the story is what really captivated me. I struggled with Leah’s last story but this was the complete opposite – I could not get enough.This was the story of two young kids, Kayln and Gus, who were connected via their past, their parents, and their future. They did not know each other before school started but they could not deny that they were destined to know each other after striking up an innocent conversation. Gus was born with cerebral palsy and did the best he could given that he lost his father before he was born, of which his mother never fully recovered emotionally. Kayln lost her father when she was young but lost him to prison when he was convicted of murdering someone. That someone turned out to be Gus’ dad.You can see how this was an intense story, right? These two teens should hate each other but instead they chose to get to know the other without their shared history dictating their thoughts, emotions, feelings, and actions. The first half of the book felt like it could have been a coming-of-age romance story. Kayln finds a girl she likes while Gus finally comes clean to his best friend, Phil, about his feelings. However, that did not happen. That’s not to say the first part of the story was all hearts, romance, and puppies. It was packed full of tense moments that made me gasp. Secrets started to come out and truths were revealed. That pushed me into the second half of the book where the real nitty-gritty started. It was a wild roller coaster ride! This was where the truth of what really happened finally came to light.The characters were hands down amazing. Gus was a wonderful, heart-tugging character. I wanted nothing more than to give him a hug. Kayln felt incredibly believable with the massive stigma she had to carry around. She was always being tried for her father’s transgressions while Gus was always coddled. These two just wanted to be treated like any other teen but it was just not in the cards for them. Small towns are toxic that way. Thomas was masterful with her character development and arcs. They were complicated and real. It was such a great thing to read.I’m trying really hard not to give too much away! I wish I could really dive into this story but I only want to wet your whistle… are you intrigued yet? If this is not on your radar – IT SHOULD BE! This is one book you won’t be able to put down! If you’re like me and a junkie for Making a Murderer, then you simply have to get this book in your hands.
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    this takes place in my home state & is by one of my faaav authors. I’m down.
  • Trisha
    January 1, 1970
    Gosh, this is great. Quirky, different and full of interesting characters.But also sad.Review to come.
  • Leah (Jane Speare)
    January 1, 1970
    This is not a love story. But it is a story full of love. Kalyn's father is in prison for murdering Gus’s own father decades ago in the rural town of "Shitsboro." This small town harbors deep rooted prejudices, and old disputes run strong. Equal parts laugh-out-loud funny and dead serious, this story heralds no apology in its execution. The vibrant Kalyn and warmhearted Gus become friends despite the surrounding politics of their families, and they aren’t afraid of searching for what really happ This is not a love story. But it is a story full of love. Kalyn's father is in prison for murdering Gus’s own father decades ago in the rural town of "Shitsboro." This small town harbors deep rooted prejudices, and old disputes run strong. Equal parts laugh-out-loud funny and dead serious, this story heralds no apology in its execution. The vibrant Kalyn and warmhearted Gus become friends despite the surrounding politics of their families, and they aren’t afraid of searching for what really happened all those years ago. Leah Thomas’ writing is flawless and the story is unpredictable. Already I wish I could read it again for the first time.
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  • Marie
    January 1, 1970
    Wild and Crooked was a really good read overall, I loved the different point of views and how flawed, complex and human each character felt to me, too. I really liked the developing friendship between Kalyn and Gus, the no-romance, the underlying mystery and the complex family relationships and history, too, and yay for diversity too! Definitely a good read! :)Full review of Wild and Crooked available on my blog.Thank you to Bloomsbury & NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book. This did not, in Wild and Crooked was a really good read overall, I loved the different point of views and how flawed, complex and human each character felt to me, too. I really liked the developing friendship between Kalyn and Gus, the no-romance, the underlying mystery and the complex family relationships and history, too, and yay for diversity too! Definitely a good read! :)Full review of Wild and Crooked available on my blog.Thank you to Bloomsbury & NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book. This did not, in any way, influenced my thoughts and rating. My Blog - Drizzle & Hurricane Books - Twitter - Bloglovin'
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  • Celia McMahon
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Bloomsbury for the chance to review this title ahead of its release date. WILD AND CROOKED, like the last book I read of Leah's WHEN LIGHT LEFT US, was stunning. I went in thinking one thing and getting another. I love books like that. It's like reaching into a Halloween bucket of candy and coming out with the peanut butter cup prize. This story follows three POV's, but mainly the focus is on two. Gus, who has cerebral palsy, and Kayln, who is the daughter of a murderer. The two kid Thank you to Bloomsbury for the chance to review this title ahead of its release date. WILD AND CROOKED, like the last book I read of Leah's WHEN LIGHT LEFT US, was stunning. I went in thinking one thing and getting another. I love books like that. It's like reaching into a Halloween bucket of candy and coming out with the peanut butter cup prize. This story follows three POV's, but mainly the focus is on two. Gus, who has cerebral palsy, and Kayln, who is the daughter of a murderer. The two kids strike up a nonconventional friendship which leads them down a path of self-discovery and solving the mystery of a decades-long murder cover-up. The first half of the book seemed very much almost a love story but not. I caught on pretty quickly what was happening. There were tense moments where some secrets threatened to spill, and when they did, it was a like a bomb exploded. I was biting my lip as I was reading, on edge. The second half took a bit of a detour and focused more on the past and how to right the wrongs of their families and town. I loved the characters. Every one of them. We have some serious queer reps, as well as mental and physical illnesses that you think would impede out heroes, but it only makes them stronger in the long run. Leah Thomas has a way with her characters that puts me in awe. Her talent is flawless. She weaves stories through complicated narratives with ease. She gives us a glimpse into the lives of flawed and fierce teens who lean on each for support. The platonic queer friendships are something rare in YA books, so this book was refreshing. The murder mystery reminded me a lot of Making a Murderer and had me hooked from the first chapter. I can't describe how much I love Leah Thomas and all of her novels. If you haven't read WHEN LIGHT LEFT US or her earlier works, do so, and add this one to your WANT TO READ. You won't be disappointed.
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    This book is definitely different and a little bit weird and the pacing didn't necessarily work for me but the characters are really what make it worth reading. There's some really great representation in the book and it's also not a romance. A friendship develops between the main two characters that shows that we really need more platonic relationships as the focus in books. Especially YA books. Gus and Kalyn are two people who most definitely should not be friends. But when they do start to fo This book is definitely different and a little bit weird and the pacing didn't necessarily work for me but the characters are really what make it worth reading. There's some really great representation in the book and it's also not a romance. A friendship develops between the main two characters that shows that we really need more platonic relationships as the focus in books. Especially YA books. Gus and Kalyn are two people who most definitely should not be friends. But when they do start to form a friendship, they discover secrets that have been hidden in their town and in their lives for years. I wish the mystery would have been one we as readers could be more involved in than it was. It turned out to be one that just gets solved by the truth finally coming out rather than discovering a bunch of clues that lead to the truth that the teens uncover. I won't give anything else away and maybe that doesn't make much sense but it just didn't feel like the mystery solving part was a very important part of the story, or one that involved the readers much. It did bring the characters together, both before they knew and then moreso afterwards. But this one was definitely a story about friendship and truth and the lies that can become truth over time until someone is willing to come forward. So I'd actually recommend reading this one more for the friendship and representation and the unique characters and their individual stories that then overlap and turn more than a decades worth of lies into a worthwhile pursuit of the truth.Thank you to the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    I've loved every single thing Leah Thomas has written and this was no exception. The characters were so real and complicated and their friendships were my favorite thing. The true crime/murder mystery-aspect kept me turning pages at all hours and I was sad to put this one down.
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  • Phoebe Dyer
    January 1, 1970
    This is my first Leah Thomas book and now I need to go read her entire backlist. The writing, the story, the characters, SO GOOD!
  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    Interest Level: YAImagine that your dad is from a small town and is in jail for murdering the high school All-American jock. Now imagine that you and your mom have to move to this small town to take care of your grandmother who has fallen ill. You are going to have to go to the same small high school that your dad and the kid who was murdered went to. Kalyn Spence and her mom move to the extremely small town of Samsboro, Kentucky. Kalyn is used to being an outspoken rebel but when she has to go Interest Level: YAImagine that your dad is from a small town and is in jail for murdering the high school All-American jock. Now imagine that you and your mom have to move to this small town to take care of your grandmother who has fallen ill. You are going to have to go to the same small high school that your dad and the kid who was murdered went to. Kalyn Spence and her mom move to the extremely small town of Samsboro, Kentucky. Kalyn is used to being an outspoken rebel but when she has to go to the same high school that her father went to, she has to change her last name in order to protect herself because the Spence name is notorious in this town. Even though Kalyn's dad has been in prison her whole life, she loves her father and deep down doubts that he is a killer. Kalyn changes her name and her personality. She goes from crazy, psyco, murderer's daughter to syrupy-sweet prom queen. One person sees through the act and becomes her friend, although he still doesn't know who her father is. Enter Gus Peake. He is the son of the All-American jock that was murdered before he was even born. Gus also has cerebral palsy and because of this he is looked down on by other kids. When Kalyn and Gus meet it is an instant friendship that neither one of them could have predicted. Kalyn doesn't care about Gus' disability and Gus doesn't care about Kalyn's foul mouth. They become inseparable, that is until they find out who each other's fathers are. How can the daughter of the murderer and the son of the murdered ever stay friends? What happens when these two start digging into a past that everyone in town wants to stay hidden? When they start getting close to the real truth will their lives be in danger? Read this heart-stopping novel to find out that in a small town, anyone can be a murderer. I loved, loved, loved this book! It is full of love and hate, mystery and deceit, right and wrong. It is a murder mystery that will have you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. Find out how a small town murder that was covered up for so many years can make big news when the truth comes out. This is one that once you pick it up you better strap in and get ready for the ride of your life. Do not miss this 2019 YA book!!!!Follow me:Blog - Blazer Tales - https://blazertales.com/Facebook - Laurie’s Library Place - https://www.facebook.com/LauriesLibra...Instagram - laurieslibrary - https://www.instagram.com/laurieslibr...Twitter - @laurieevans27 https://twitter.com/laurieevans27?lan...Goodreads - Laurie Purser - https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1...Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/auburngirl2...YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCulD...Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/laurie-ev...
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  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    Interest Level: YAImagine that your dad is from a small town and is in jail for murdering the high school All-American jock. Now imagine that you and your mom have to move to this small town to take care of your grandmother who has fallen ill. You are going to have to go to the same small high school that your dad and the kid who was murdered went to. Kalyn Spence and her mom move to the extremely small town of Samsboro, Kentucky. Kalyn is used to being an outspoken rebel but when she has to go Interest Level: YAImagine that your dad is from a small town and is in jail for murdering the high school All-American jock. Now imagine that you and your mom have to move to this small town to take care of your grandmother who has fallen ill. You are going to have to go to the same small high school that your dad and the kid who was murdered went to. Kalyn Spence and her mom move to the extremely small town of Samsboro, Kentucky. Kalyn is used to being an outspoken rebel but when she has to go to the same high school that her father went to, she has to change her last name in order to protect herself because the Spence name is notorious in this town. Even though Kalyn's dad has been in prison her whole life, she loves her father and deep down doubts that he is a killer. Kalyn changes her name and her personality. She goes from crazy, psyco, murderer's daughter to syrupy-sweet prom queen. One person sees through the act and becomes her friend, although he still doesn't know who her father is. Enter Gus Peake. He is the son of the All-American jock that was murdered before he was even born. Gus also has cerebral palsy and because of this he is looked down on by other kids. When Kalyn and Gus meet it is an instant friendship that neither one of them could have predicted. Kalyn doesn't care about Gus' disability and Gus doesn't care about Kalyn's foul mouth. They become inseparable, that is until they find out who each other's fathers are. How can the daughter of the murderer and the son of the murdered ever stay friends? What happens when these two start digging into a past that everyone in town wants to stay hidden? When they start getting close to the real truth will their lives be in danger? Read this heart-stopping novel to find out that in a small town, anyone can be a murderer. I loved, loved, loved this book! It is full of love and hate, mystery and deceit, right and wrong. It is a murder mystery that will have you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. Find out how a small town murder that was covered up for so many years can make big news when the truth comes out. This is one that once you pick it up you better strap in and get ready for the ride of your life. Do not miss this 2019 YA book!!!!
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  • Amanda Shepard (Between-the-Shelves)
    January 1, 1970
    Read my full review at between-the-shelves.com!I received an advanced copy of this to review from Bloomsbury, and it was so much more than I was expecting! There is so much representation in this book, from disability to sexuality. And there’s a friendship between a girl and a boy that has no hint of romance at all. They’re just friends! How often do you see that in a young adult book?Kalyn and Gus narrate the majority of the book, with Gus’s best friend Phil added in at the end. Between the thr Read my full review at between-the-shelves.com!I received an advanced copy of this to review from Bloomsbury, and it was so much more than I was expecting! There is so much representation in this book, from disability to sexuality. And there’s a friendship between a girl and a boy that has no hint of romance at all. They’re just friends! How often do you see that in a young adult book?Kalyn and Gus narrate the majority of the book, with Gus’s best friend Phil added in at the end. Between the three of them, we get the larger picture of what’s going on within the town, and we get to see different perspectives of the world. Each character has different struggles with aspects of their identity. Their conversations about these struggles, with each other, helps them to grow.My only qualm about the book is that it felt like it dragged slightly in the middle. There’s a lot of buildup to what actually happened the night of Gus’s dad’s murder, and it felt like it took a little too long to get there. But the end was worth it.Wild and Crooked is the perfect summer mystery to read when it’s released this June!4.5 stars-----There is so much to love about this book! More to come in a full review later today or tomorrow.-----Follow me!Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook
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  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    I had the opportunity to read an advance e-copy of Wild and Crooked that I received free from Bloomsbury USA Children's Books, through NetGalley. Here are my thoughts about it...all of which are my own opinions. :)If you're looking for a diverse book, with LGBTQ or disability representation, add this one to your TBR. This story is about friendship, and discovery and doing the right thing when it's rough.It's NOT about romance. Neither of the main characters are straight. Here's a quote from the I had the opportunity to read an advance e-copy of Wild and Crooked that I received free from Bloomsbury USA Children's Books, through NetGalley. Here are my thoughts about it...all of which are my own opinions. :)If you're looking for a diverse book, with LGBTQ or disability representation, add this one to your TBR. This story is about friendship, and discovery and doing the right thing when it's rough.It's NOT about romance. Neither of the main characters are straight. Here's a quote from the book, "Okay, maybe I'm a little gay. But my parents are already gay! And you're gay!""You sayin' we're over our quota? Because I don't think that's ever stopped straight people." LOL! But the book isn't really about that. The boy, Gus, has cerebral palsy, and especially at first it seems like that's a big part of how he sees himself, and thus is a big part of the story, but not the main part of the story. It seems very realistically and respectfully portrayed.It felt slow to me at the beginning, but most books do. In fact, a lot of the most raved about books (Six of Crows, and Raven Boys to name a few) felt to me nearly too slow for a large part of the story, for me to get through. I nearly DNFed them both. There's a bit of a mystery is the second half of the book that I wish had been more of a big deal as far as finding clues and solving it. But overall it was a good story - worth reading. I give it four stars.(I also shared this review on my Instagram Story and saved to my highlights)
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  • McKinlay Dennis
    January 1, 1970
    *I received an ARC from edelweiss and the publisher. this does not affect my review.*Wow. this book was a RIDE! It was much more mystery than I was expecting, so obviously I don't want to say too much. But my goodness it was so refreshing to read a book about a m/f friendship that was never anything else.I'd recommend this to someone who likes Courtney Summers, but would like to feel a little more hope, and to laugh.Btw, I know i've seen a lot of people talk about pansexual rep in this. I'm gues *I received an ARC from edelweiss and the publisher. this does not affect my review.*Wow. this book was a RIDE! It was much more mystery than I was expecting, so obviously I don't want to say too much. But my goodness it was so refreshing to read a book about a m/f friendship that was never anything else.I'd recommend this to someone who likes Courtney Summers, but would like to feel a little more hope, and to laugh.Btw, I know i've seen a lot of people talk about pansexual rep in this. I'm guessing the author confirmed this on social media or something, but just know the word isn't used in the book. Though I do believe it's hinted at. Kayln, however, explicitly calls herself queer. And there's rep for cerebral palsy (which is in the book summary so I don't know why I'm repeating it) and (view spoiler)[ antisocial personality disorder (hide spoiler)].
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  • dachs.what.she.read
    January 1, 1970
    This story is so packed with unique, fully formed personalities and life paths. At the center of their existence is a tragic crime that has not only divided families but the town they live in.   ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀  ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Crass Kalyn has grown up in the family owned salvage yard and the bond she forms with Gus, the kid on the other side of the issue is sweet and strong. I looooooooove that this highlights how you can be in love with your friends yet not romantically. I don’t think I’ve ever come a This story is so packed with unique, fully formed personalities and life paths. At the center of their existence is a tragic crime that has not only divided families but the town they live in.   ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀  ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Crass Kalyn has grown up in the family owned salvage yard and the bond she forms with Gus, the kid on the other side of the issue is sweet and strong. I looooooooove that this highlights how you can be in love with your friends yet not romantically. I don’t think I’ve ever come across that in a book, what’s more, seen it illustrated in such a variety of ways through generations.   ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀  ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Topics deal with mental illness, health struggles, the justice system, hate, discrimination, lgbtq rights, demonstrations, and probably more I’ve forgotten. Love these weird and wonderful characters!   ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀  ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Thank you to Leah Thomas, @bloomsburypublishing and @netgalley for letting me read this gem!
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  • Imani
    January 1, 1970
    This sounds really intriguing to me.
  • S.M. Parker
    January 1, 1970
    I want every one of the characters in this book to be my friends and if the author could bring them to my door, that would be perfection. Please and thank you. This book has a fiercely feminist protag, an amazing cast and so much love and sustainable hope that my heart burst. Three times or more. Wild and Crooked is an extraordinary novel that delivers an authentic glimpse into the lives of some seriously spectacular teens. This story should not be missed.
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  • The Bookish Austin
    January 1, 1970
    Check it out - link to my review: https://thebookishaustin.tumblr.com/p...
  • Marilla
    January 1, 1970
    I LOVE M/F PLATONIC FRIENDSHIPS and this book DEFINITELY HAD THAT! (There's actually no romance whatsoever!)I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would? I picked it up at the library on a whim (probably in part bc the cover was pretty).Kalyn and Gus and Phil all had such unique voices - I especially liked Kalyn's, because it was refreshing and she had such an interesting take on the world and her voice was blunt and, as Gus puts it, refreshing. And! Gus/Kalyn had a strong platonic friend I LOVE M/F PLATONIC FRIENDSHIPS and this book DEFINITELY HAD THAT! (There's actually no romance whatsoever!)I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would? I picked it up at the library on a whim (probably in part bc the cover was pretty).Kalyn and Gus and Phil all had such unique voices - I especially liked Kalyn's, because it was refreshing and she had such an interesting take on the world and her voice was blunt and, as Gus puts it, refreshing. And! Gus/Kalyn had a strong platonic friendship and no! romance! (as i said in all caps above but it bears repeating because you never see that!)There were so many topics touched upon - like if others' perception of you becomes who you are; or if you're playing a role, would it become the truth? It's about what you'd do for the people you love. Kalyn especially (though Phil and Gus too, of course) would drop a lot of thoughtful lines about these topics as they struggle through it themselves (they all have some sort of identity crisis). They wish things never happened, but then they wonder if they would be who they are if that were true and decide they don't regret the past. The families you choose versus the ones that raise you. What it means to be defined by a label or others' preconceptions. That sort of thing.That questioning and the characters were at the forefront of the story; the murder mystery thing is merely the backdrop upon which all of this is able to happen. (view spoiler)[It was kind of weird and unsatisfactory, actually. Like, my interest piqued when Kalyn, Gus, and Phil made that list of discrepancies in the stories they'd been told and added their own information. Then... it was dropped until all the adults were there too, and then they added info but then Gus's mom just... told them the whole story. (hide spoiler)]I did appreciate that instead of just... solving the issue in a couple hours like they did with their lists, (or at least calling into serious doubt everything everyone believed,) Gus and Kalyn and Phil acknowledged that it was not because they were mystery-solving wunderkind but because no one else had bothered to try *cue profound lines and deep contemplation*(This is small, but it was a well-placed detail: (view spoiler)[in her account of everything that happened, Gus's mom said "Claire had seen James hurt people. She'd sat at Gary's bedside after James pushed him into that bonfire." She had been right in everything about the night James was killed, because she'd been there. Hers was THE testimony.But later, when Kalyn was talking to her dad on the phone, he said, "The minute someone else pushed me into the fire, James pulled me out again...He pulled me out and called an ambulance and decked the guy in the face for good measure." Even Gus's mom hadn't know that. No one knew that. Goes to show that even the clearest view of a story isn't always right; there are details that are wrong, or perceived differently. It was a good drop of detail, of information here to further a point the author was making.) (hide spoiler)]It reminds me of a quote from Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore: “The biggest lie of all is the story you think you already know.”In summary: better than I was expecting; it made me think. Literally just read for the platonic m/f friendships (an elusive creature) and lack of romance.
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  • Brooksie
    January 1, 1970
    I was fortunate enough to receive a Netgalley ARC of Leah Thomas’ Wild and Crooked, the story of two star-crossed friends in a small Kentucky town. Kalyn has just returned to Samsboro to help care for her ailing grandmother, but as she takes up residence in Spence Salvage, she is quickly reminded of her family’s less than illustrious past, particularly her father’s incarceration after confessing to murdering the town’s golden boy during their senior year of high school. After entering the local I was fortunate enough to receive a Netgalley ARC of Leah Thomas’ Wild and Crooked, the story of two star-crossed friends in a small Kentucky town. Kalyn has just returned to Samsboro to help care for her ailing grandmother, but as she takes up residence in Spence Salvage, she is quickly reminded of her family’s less than illustrious past, particularly her father’s incarceration after confessing to murdering the town’s golden boy during their senior year of high school. After entering the local high school under a pseudonym and taking on a much sweeter alter ego than her normal rough-and-tumble self, she meets Gus, a boy obsessed with fashion who battles labels associated with his cerebral palsy as well as an overly-protective mother. Their friendship forms through shared secrets in the school’s abandoned kiln, but it’s not until much later that the largest secret of all is revealed: Gus’ father is the boy who died at the hands of Kalyn’s father all those years ago. As the two attempt to navigate the waters of friendship despite their families’ animosities, more is revealed about the decades-old case, casting doubts about what really happened the night of the murder. There is so much to love in this novel that it’s hard to know where to start. While creating a compelling whodunnit atmosphere, Thomas takes exploration of identity to a whole new level, such as when Gus asks, “When do words like “evil” start sticking? If they stick, does that make them true? People have called me a thousand names. I call myself names. But I choose to believe that those names aren’t all I am.” The entire novel points towards the fact that others’ ideas—whether they pertain to sexual orientation, level of disability, or economic status—matter very little. Instead, as Gus notes, “I’m starting to understand that people who don’t care about us, who don’t make that effort, shouldn’t factor into who we are.” Through Phil’s friendship with Gus, as well as the disparity between Kalyn and her alter-ego, Rose, Thomas argues for the importance of making true connections with others and not allowing superficial labels to be definitive. Pair this thesis with Thomas’ prosaic word choice (along with some well-placed Shakespeare quotes) and you have a really compelling read. With notes of John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down, Saenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, and Oliver’s Broken Things, Wild and Crooked is a strong choice for school library purchase, especially where mysteries are in high demand.
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