Thursday, February 11, 2016

How Willa Got Her Groove Back by Emily McKay

The Basics:
How Willa Got Her Groove Back by Emily McKay
Entangled Crush
Book 2 in the Creative HeArts series
Published February 22, 2016
Source: Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Why I picked up this book:

I adored Ten Things Sloane Hates About Tru when I reviewed it last year, so I had to grab book two in the series!

When your life feels like a bad movie, rewrite the script.

When Willa Schofer’s father comes home from a business trip with an über-famous new fiancée, Willa’s senior year blows up in paparazzi-fueled flames. Overnight, she has a new house, a new car, and a new soon-to-be stepbrother—the unbelievably hot, unbelievably arrogant, Finn McCain. Thank god he’s constantly pushing her buttons, or she might do something irresponsible. Like fall for the jerk.

Just when Willa’s decided to avoid him for, oh, ever, Finn lands in the center of her senior project team. Seriously—how hard is it to shake a guy? At least her work on the project snagged the attention of the (second) hottest guy in school. He might only be into her because of her famous stepmom, and he’s not quite as exciting as a certain annoying housemate, but at least she’s allowed to crush on the guy.

Because crushing on your annoying stepbrother? So not cool.

This Entangled Teen Crush book contains an unbelievably hot bad boy, an unbelievably famous actress, and all the drama that comes with adding both to your family. Oh, and a forbidden flirtation with a soon-to-be stepbrother.

My Thoughts:

The second book in the ambitious Creative HeArts 12-book series, How Willa Got Her Groove Back features Willa and Finn, two 18 (or nearly 18)-year-olds thrust together by virtue of their parents' recent engagement, and their mutual distrust of the situation. 

Finn's mother, Mia, is a famous actress, so the fledgling relationship comes with a new set of life rules for Willa. Namely, trust no one, expect the paparazzi everywhere, and bye-bye most of your old life (e.g, your childhood house!). 

I felt Willa's frustration. She's been forced into a situation entirely out of her control, and a lot of the things she thought she could trust and rely on are being stripped away. I really enjoyed reading how she tries to cope, how she tries to protect herself, and how she so genuinely wants good things for her father, despite what it's costing her.

From Finn's side, he's a lot more cynical than Willa. He's got a lot of good qualities, namely being protective of his mom, and then Willa by extension. His frustration with the adults for not doing a better job of preparing and protecting Willa put me on his side for much of the book. Unfortunately, he does seem to lack a bit of depth. I didn't get a great sense of what his life was like before his mom and Willa's dad's relationship brought to Austen. I didn't get a sense of what he actually wants to do with his life, beyond his current short-term goal.

So, given that I loved Willa and thought Finn was decent, why only 3.5 stars for How Willa Got Her Groove Back?  Because of the book's ending. 

As the second of twelve books in the Creative Hearts series, and the first of a trilogy for Willa and Finn, I get that even a happy-for-now ending for Willa and Finn might be rushing things. Totally fine! But I wasn't satisfied with the way *any* of Willa's plot lines were left, and because Finn seems so entirely wrapped up in those plot lines, he didn't add to my satisfaction. It's basically a cliffhanger ending but without a sense of urgency to really hook me or sense of temporary satisfaction to make me smile and want more.

Again the positive sides, I love the Creative Hearts setting--the school is awesome. The development of the senior creative project is really cool (a plot that arcs across all the books). Though some characters from the first book are present in this one, it's not necessary to have read book one to read book two. You'll get tiny spoilers, but nothing major is revealed. I think there's so much potential here, and maybe when I can read all the books together in a week or two, I'll be more satisfied with this one?

Bottom line:
I really like the idea of How Willa Got Her Groove Back, and of the series, and I'm curious to see how it all pans out. But if you think you might get hooked by this series/book, I'd suggest waiting to read this one until closer to November, when the next Willa-Finn book is due for release, so you don't have to wait too long for some resolution.

3.5 stars (probably a 4-4.5 star book that I'm dinging for the ending)
For fans of YA, writers, Hollywood (unintentional theme for the week!)

1 comment:

  1. I didn't realize Emily was writing contemporary YA too. I will have to tell my friend Wendy to pick up this series for her daughter.

    (PS I am like you --even if this is part of a trilogy I need some answers/closure in the 2nd book. I get annoyed when the end just feels like it should flow into the next book)