There are no spoilers in this review.
Wild and Crooked, Leah Thomas
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 is a very, very character-driven story. While reading the synopsis, I expected it to be a little more, somehow, focused on the mystery-part of the story, but it ended up being a minor part of the book. The characters really were at the heart of the story and the mystery was such a small part of it all. It’s more about lives than a who-has-done-it kind of story.
- Told from two, then three POV, we get to meet Kalyn, Gus and later, Phil. These three characters had very distinct voices in the story and were all very unique, in their way of seeing the world and reacting to it and, in the way they grew thorough the entire story, something that was absolutely wonderful to read.
- NO ROMANCE. You know me, I’m pretty much a contemporary fluff-ball and I adore my sweet, soft, swoony romances. YET, it sometimes feels nice to read a contemporary book without romance and it’s so, so very important to have more of these. I appeciated that with Wild and Crooked SO much.
- The developing friendship between Kalyn and Gus was so lovely to read, I loved how they grew closer to each other and stood for each other and this was so lovely and yay for friendship at the heart of a story like that.
- Deep down, Wild and Crooked is about reinventing yourself, defining yourself away from your family’s past mistakes and these were wonderfully explored in the story. Family secrets, complex family relationships and histories are at the heart of this story, with a side of mystery explored towards the later half of the book which was very interesting to read, too.
I HAD A HARD TIME WITH…
- I think that the first half of the book was a little slow – I was compelled to read on to know what would happen next and, knowing there was a little bit of mystery to be solved, I was curious about that enough to continue and I’m glad I did, because despite the slow start, I grew attached to the characters and story later on.
If you’re expecting this book to be a big, thrilling mystery…. well you might really be wrong. Wild and Crooked was more of a slower, part-of-complicated lives contemporary, with a beautiful blooming friendship and complicated family relationships and secrets and, if this sounds like your kind of thing, I’d definitely recommend it!
Final rating: 4 drops!
The biggest thanks to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for sending me a free e-ARC of this book for review. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.
Trigger warnings: smoking, swearing, parental abuse -violence-, racism (challenged), alcoholism, talk of bullying, ableist language (challenged).
Diversity: queer main characters, one of the main characters (Gus) has cerebral palsy and hemiplegia. f/f relationships, side f/f relationships, agoraphobic side-character, Chinese side-character.
Did you read Wild and Crooked? Do you want to?
Do you know any books with complicated family relationships and secrets and mysteries like that? Let me know in comments!