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Crooks and Straights

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  35 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Gia's brother Nico is different from other boys. And being different can be dangerous in Gia's world. Cape Town is no longer the haven for magical refugees that it once was. The Purists want to get rid of all magic and the newspapers are full of dreadful stories about the Belle Gente, the magical terrorists.

None of this concerns Gia, until the Special Branch— police who i
Published (first published April 12th 2014)
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4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  35 ratings  ·  16 reviews

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Andy Goldman
Mar 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a wonderful read which I suppose falls into the YA category but suited me just fine as an adult reader. It is the story of a young girl in a magical version of South Africa who gets caught between the magical and non-magical world around her. The world itself is full of everyday magic, but also tension as it becomes increasingly clear that magical people and creatures are an oppressed underclass. As such, the book deals with civil rights issues and the topic of children with special nee ...more
Dave Higgins
Mar 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Combining themes of fear-of-the-other and generational conflict with a portrayal of Cape Town fine enough to leave a hint of the spice blend in the take-away, du Toit offers accessible urban fantasy free from the clichés of the US and Europe.

Freed from apartheid, South Africa also became a haven for magical beings and practices rejected by other nations. However, with the radically pro-human Purists gaining both political and popular power, Cape Town is no longer the integrated society it was. N
Dava Stewart
Mar 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
My cursor hovered between 4 and 5 stars on this one. It's really that good. Set in South Africa, but a sort of alternate South Africa where there are magical beings. For example, a dust bunny might run up a broom handle and scare a sweeper. So, you get to know a whole new world while getting to know the characters and the story.

The writing is smooth -- calm, even -- which makes the tension all the more apparent. The main character is a teen aged girl who is discovering all sorts of things about
Nerine Dorman
BIG DISCLAIMER: I proofread this book, so unfortunately I won't be able to rate it. But I am more than happy to share what I enjoyed about it. Firstly, Masha's writing is easy to get into. She has a light, lyrical touch. Secondly, she writes YA contemporary fantasy set in my home town, so there's loads of South African cultural references. The story itself reminds me of what it was like to grow up during the apartheid era, only now it's not a racial issue, but one of human vs. magical creature, ...more
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book where magical creatures exist in South Africa? Yes please!

Crooks and Straights hooked me in the same way the Harry Potter series did – I was learning about magical beings along with the main character. But more than that, it was set in a country I could relate to, South Africa, my home.

Gia is a sensible 16 year old. She makes decisions with more thought than one would expect from most of her peers. Having said that, she’s still a teenager with the usual frustrations and insecurities. I li
William Howe
Emphasis on ‘young’

I wouldn’t even really use the word ‘adult’ as the MC, while purportedly 16, often acts and regards the world more as a 12yr old. Or younger.

The world is dense with imagery and the frequent use of South African dialect or references was refreshing. It was, however, jarring to realize that while all these children had grown up in that world, they were just now - at *16* - being taught about magical creatures. That greatly increased the dissonance between their given age and how
C.J. Shane
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This YA fantasy book by South African writer and artist Masha du Toit gets five stars from me for two reasons. _Crooks and Straights_ is well-written with a great deal of sensory detail that makes the telling very cinematic. Even more important, though, the book also takes up some serious topics that add a real political and cultural sophistication to the story.

This work of fiction tells us the story of 16-year old Gia who is dealing with the kind of issues that teens frequently must confront. H
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was so delightful! I'd purchased it on the recommendation of an author friend and then promptly forgot about it (look, I have a lot of books to read). Went into this not remembering anything about it and it was so much fun! I look forward to reading more by this author!
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book-couldn't put it down. Classic coming of age premise. However, was left a little dissatisfied at where the author left the story. It felt like we should have progressed just a bit farther in the timeline or stopped a bit earlier.
Sammy Jackson
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A world full of things familiar and unfamiliar. Something new and a little different and completely awesome.
Eric Bahle
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: Though the author lives in Cape Town, South Africa and I live in Pennsylvania in the U.S. we are acquainted through the crazy miracle of the internet.

I've been a fan of fairy tales since my parents read me Grimm's as a boy. I love classically styled fairy tales, but I'm also a sucker for a good modern take, or a story where the fairy realm and the real world collide. That last one is what we get with Crooks and Straights.

The story follows Gia, a creative and talented girl in a c
Apr 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Now, this is something out of the ordinary: A contemporary YA fantasy set in South Africa. For a non-South African, that means that cultural distance is built right in, to a greater degree than in most fantasies set in other worlds. That's a feature, not a fault. It adds interest, though I was glad that my Kindle dictionary has a good vocabulary of South African words. I could mostly tell from context what a word meant in general - this is a food, that's a term of address - but to get the full s ...more
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
You know that feeling you have on Christmas morning when you have a pile of presents before you, filled with potential? You’re excited to open them but also a bit trepidatious because maybe the promising shapes belie the contents. Maybe they’re going to be disappointments and you have to smile and be grateful all the while wishing that the shimmering paper had been filled with something else.

I came to Crooks & Straights with that Christmas morning feeling. I read the description on Amazon an
K Idamari
Dec 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Magic, Rebellion, and Secrets.

Gia's biggest worry is her plan to take First Exit and join an arts school, whereas her parents, Karel and Saraswati, expect her to continue her schooling and go on to the university. With the weight of her decision resting on her mind, even shifting to a new home or her parents forgetting her sixteenth birthday don't ruffle her as much as it should have.

Her new school isn't bad either, and her friends, Fathima and Ben, visit her often. Gia's all settled in, with a
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
What an intriguing world! Gia always knew there was magic, but she had no idea how entrenched in the magical world she really was. In South Africa, there are two types of people: crooks (magicals) and straights (non-magicals). Gia is a Straight, and she always thought the rest of her family was, too. But with the Purist movement taking over in government, someone she cares about catches the wrong sort of attention, and Gia makes a daring deal to save the ones she loves.

Crooks and Straights thri
Jon Stone
Apr 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, favorites
One of my favorite reads so far this year.

Based in South Africa, the setting is a bit different but the society feels all too familiar. There's great characters, an interesting take on magicals, a diverse bestiary that you meet as you read through and a point of view that resonates.

Loved the family and the main character. Though she plays a smaller role, especially loved the old shop owner down the street.

Couldn't put the book down once I made it a couple chapters in!
Rick Wayne
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Masha du Toit is an artist and writer living in Cape Town, South Africa. She illustrates stories that don’t exist yet, and writes about unexpected magic in everyday situations. She’s inspired by folk- and fairy tales, puppetry, and spur-of-the-moment bedtime stories.