This debut keeps readers zooming along as a formerly poor girl plays Robin Hood when she strikes it rich.
When Willa’s artist mom makes some sudden, highly lucrative sales, the two move to a ritzy Arizona neighborhood, complete with a fancy private prep school where Willa worries that she won’t fit in. The opposite happens, however, when Willa meets Cherise, who inducts her into the popular “Glitterati” crowd on her first day. Willa revels in the attention and the expensive shopping trips to Neiman Marcus. However, her new friends bully the school’s poor scholarship girls to such an extent that it sickens Willa. She decides to even things up by stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. She learns how to pick pockets and locks and then spends her ill-gotten gains on fancy new outfits that she delivers anonymously to the poor girls. But can she get away with her scheme without consequences? Meanwhile, even as Willa tries to avoid the rebellious, superrich, highly attractive Aidan, readers will suspect she’ll eventually succumb. Ludwig portrays the school and wealthy neighborhood convincingly. Her characterizations for the most part hit their target, although Willa comes across as smarter than the actions she takes. The story ends with a major mystery unsolved, opening the way for sequels.
A solid debut. (Suspense. 12 & up)