This is my first Willow Winters novel and I must admit that I found it completely underwhelming. I don’t know if it was because this particular story had started off as a novella which was later expanded (into a short novel) or whether it was just the author’s writing style but I found it to be a bit of a hot mess.
The characters lacked any kind of depth or personality, the storyline was paper thin, and the constant back and forth between flashbacks and the present was tedious when the past barely explained anything going on in the present. (I think that the flashbacks were supposed to add depth, but they failed.)
The book was just… Sex and angst. Angst that meant nothing to you as a reader because you did not care a single jot about any of the characters because it’s hard to give a single crap about a fictional character who is no more fleshed out than a name on a page.
As for the sex… I read it with a bored almost clinical detachment because I just did not care.
I don’t think you could class the book as erotica as it fell short on the fundamental requirement of that - i.e. being erotic - but I wouldn’t call it romance either as it failed to inspire emotion.
Basically, it read like a first draft. It was the bare bones of a story that sorely needed to be fleshed out with some life breathed into it but, unfortunately, it was delivered DOA.
The rich and popular Sharks rule at prestigious, ivy-covered Camden Prep. Once upon a time, I wanted to be part of their world--until they destroyed me.
The last thing I expected was an anonymous love letter from one of them.
Please. I hate every one of those rich jerks for what they did to me. The question is, which Shark is my secret admirer?
Knox, the scarred quarterback.
Dane, his twin brother.
Or Chance, the ex who dumped me. . .
Your eyes are the color of the Caribbean Sea.
Wait. That's stupid.
What I really mean is, you look at me and I feel something REAL.
It's been ten months since you were here, but I can't forget you.
I've missed seeing you walk down the hall.
I've missed you cheering at my football games.
I've missed the smell of your hair.
And then everything fell apart the night of the kegger.
Don't hate me because I'm a Shark.
I just want to make you mine.
This book was nothing like I expected.
For a start, Ava is drugged and raped the first chapter of the book (off page but the aftermath isn't) and that wasn't something I was prepared for.
Secondly, I wasn't prepared for the devastating events of that night to permeate every chapter of the book - but it did and in a big way.
I'm not going to lie, I went into this book expecting an angsty, hate to love romance, that was pretty straight forward but what I got was an angsty hate to love romance with an added side of serious shit and honestly, I didn't appreciate the serious shit at first and considered DNFing.
I felt like I'd been mis-sold the book. However, I'm glad I kept reading.
Ava is one tough cookie. Knox is a bastard sweetheart. Seeing them come together as a couple - wading through all that serious shit - was worth the journey.
Seeing them get their HEA was awesome.
Knowing that the asshole who raped Ava got his comeuppance? Priceless.
(Even if you could guess who it was pretty much from the freaking beginning.)
Is it a book I'm likely to fangirl over and recommend to everyone? Not really, no.
Is it a book I'm likely to read again? No.
But I enjoyed it in the end and I'm sure it'll tick a lot of people's boxes, especially if they like bratty rich kid dramas and hate to love romances. (Which this book captures in spades.)