My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Digital ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Imagine waking up in the dead of night to find your hot new neighbour dangling out of your window. What’s more, he’s clutching your tattiest bra in his hand.
What. The. Actual. Fudge.
When bad boy Alec Wilde moves in next door to Riley, sparks fly. After their ‘unconventional’ introduction, Riley is determined to get her own back. A nemesis is just the distraction she needs: inside, she’s barely holding it together. It’s game on.
But behind the banter, there’s a side to Alec that Riley actually likes. How can she get through to the real him when she can’t even take herself seriously?
Aaaah I feel like I’m being a little hard on this book. 2 stars just seems like such a low rating. Maybe, given that I absolutely realised this was a Wattpad book, and continued to read it for the nostalgia of those days I should bump it up to a 2.5? But I did request this book under the impression that it would more comical take on the bad boy tropes, not… the tropes themselves….
To be fair to this book, it would have absolutely been something I devoured at like 13/14. It has the awkward MC, the bad boy who lives next door and totally imprints on the mc, the group of cool guys who end up basically adopting the mc, a really cool and fashionable best friend, a bunch of events to dress up in and, ofc, a good dose of drama.
I think the problem was that it was exactly what I expected it to be. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good classic teen romance, and it can be really nice to see things play out as you expect them to (
cough cough What If It’s Us cough cough). But I think that’s more in the it’s nice to have the expectation that the main pair will last through the drama, and that you’ll get a pay off in the end. Less that you can predict every twist and turn in the book.
I liked Riley. She was a pretty decent narrator, and I really liked the way her “tragic backstory” played into the current one. It’s always really nice to see anxiety rep, and I liked that this was both something that played into the plot without being the sole focus of the plot. But she kinda swung back and forth on Alec and after a certain point it stopped making sense. Like when you think he’s cute and funny but also he just snuck into your room to steal your bra conflict is natural (though even then I’d argue I’d be more angry…) but after they become friends, I don’t know what makes her hold back. Aside from the pick up lines and the motorbike he’s not really a bad boy…
Which brings me to the bad boy himself. While I appreciated that Alec wasn’t one of those cruel awful guys labelled ‘bad boy’ to excuse his behaviour, he also could be pretty rude… I guess it was supposed to be that age old pulling ponytails thing but it came off more that he wasn’t that decent of a guy. But at the same time, he wasn’t really a ‘bad’ boy? More epitome of the popular boys who could be sassy or rude sometimes.
I think, honestly, the ‘bad boy’ part of personality was his biggest downfall. I didn’t like it when he was mouthing off to teachers, or making out with random girls, or insulting Riley. None of it made him an appealing character at all. When he wasn’t being ‘bad’ he could be soft and sweet and he looked after his sister and obviously crushed on Riley, which was much nicer to read. I would have loved it if he had been written as a softie who just struggled with relationships because he wanted to seem cool.
The families in this book, I will say, were really solid. Riley and her mum had a really good relationship, and I loved that they actually talked about problems!! Take note YA heroines, talking through the problems (esp with an adult who loves you!) can actually really help you deal with them. There’s no need to be all self sacrificing and dramatic. Alec’s mum was sweet and pretty realistic, if a little keen on setting her son up with Riley. I loved her girlfriend, and how casually that was brought in (they got a wedding like any other couple, it’s always nice to see).
I also liked the side characters too? I mean with the except of the stereotypical mean girl and the overly keen popular boy, they were entertaining to read. It’s nice to read ensemble casts, because to be honest it feels more like real high school than the one friend and everyone else mortal enemies thing a lot of books default to. Violet was a solid best friend too, and I was really glad to see the drama between them was only small and short lived. She was a good character to have in Riley’s corner, especially when it came to her anxiety.
That being said (spoiler)why did she set Riley up on a blind date with Toby?? Even not knowing the whole story she knew Toby was a jerk who cheated on her??(spoiler)
I guess I was just let down by the drama. I’ve seen a lot of it a lot of times before, and so much of it was just lacking the punch I think it needed to have to really sell it. But that also may come from my changing reading tastes. Like I said, it would have been something I would have eaten right up at 13/14. But as it was, it just felt like the standard girl on girl hate, communication issues driven drama. I’m not sure if it was better or worse that it lasted only a couple pages.
All in all, I feel I have been a little tough on this book. It is the perfect book for if you want a good Wattpad nostalgia. Definitely for younger readers who want to indulge in that good old Wattpad drama.