My rating: 4 of 5
ebook, 224 pages
Series: Seven Exes Book #2
Women Fiction with a Plus
Published November 14th 2014 by Heather Wardell
Available on: Paperback, Kindle
What they say:
Chick Lit Central: “Wardell’s book is well-written and structured, and as I got to know Ashley more, I found myself feeling sorry for her. But the question of whether a protagonist needs to be likeable – especially in first person women’s fiction – is one worth debating, and this is a book that’s worth reading.”
What I have to say:
Bad Will Hunting is the second book I’ve read from author Heather Wardell. And once again I wasn’t disappointed. Last year I read Fifty Million Reasons, Book #13 from her Toronto Series, which I enjoyed reading.
Bad Will Hunting is Book #2 from Wardell’s Seven Exes Series. Even though it’s a sequel, it is written so that it can be a standalone. I haven’t read book #1 (99% off Kindle btw) in this series and I found that there is enough information to fill you in on the first book’s major events. You don’t feel left out or in limbo as to what is happening.
*spoiler* The only thing I would change is the constant reminder of her cousin’s death in the beginning. It was more than constantly mentioned. I know how angry Ashley was because of this event, but as a reader I got it from the first couple of mentions of this. It felt too repetitive to be reading that her cousin died. *end spoiler*
The writing is fast paced and it has a very good balance between humor and drama to keep you wanting to read the book until the end. There’s a love story, predictable but a feel good one, a love story you are rooting to happen as you read the book. The characters are relatable, even though because of the background reality TV story, they would appeal more to those 20-30-something year old readers, the story contains valuable advice for adult readers regardless of their age group.
The cover, to tell you the truth, I didn’t like it at first glance. There’s something about the title’s font that I don’t quite like. It feels a little dated in my humble opinion. And that beach and heart in the sand felt to some extent generic. But after comparing it to the cover of the first book in this series, I can see continuity in the book design for this series. After reading the book I can see the story in the cover. So in the end, the cover is approved.
In Bad Will Hunting, we meet Ashley as she comes back from “the island” where she was a contestant in a famous TV dating “reality show”. She didn’t have a swell time on that island, and she felt like she was the production-editing room’s lab rat, as she was portrayed as the crazy angry chic on the show. She was going through major personal dramas when she taped the show, dramas that would’ve explained her reactions on screen but were purposely hidden to the public of the televised show. If you’ve watched those famous dating reality shows of our times you know what I mean.
Ashley is so hurt about this that she’s hungry for revenge on the producers for portraying her so badly. On her flight back home, she meets Will, an attorney who agrees to help her. Ashley trusted this guy but was soon after deceived by him and if that was not enough he goes MIA. This infuriates Ashley even more. As if she didn’t have enough on her emotional plate, Ashley feels she also needs revenge on Will too. And so begins her journey (as they say on those reality shows) to find Will and get her reputation straightened up.
I know a lot of people when they hear or read “reality show” get misled. Don’t be fooled about the reality show-revenge plot or the hunting of “Will” the character plot of this book. This book is so much more than that. It has a depth you wouldn’t expect in a story based on those simple looking premises.
Ashley’s journey is not one of televised twists and empty plots. Ashley’s journey is one of self-discovery, trust, forgiveness, friendship, and love. There is more to Ashley than just an apparently angry empty-headed TV character. Even though in the beginning you might want to slap some sense into her and make her realize how pointless this hunting for Will is, as you read along, you get to bond with Ashley and stop judging her, even when she hits rock bottom. I don’t know about you, but I ended up getting a little therapy with this book.
Bad Will Hunting is a book that gives the reader hope. Hope that in the midst of negativity, there is always a way to find happiness. A good reminder that everything shall pass. It is full of life lessons. We all have been or felt betrayed at some point in our lives. We’ve all felt the need to get back at those who’ve hurt us. I know I have, not to the extent of Ashley but I have. We’ve all learnt to deal with this in different ways.
Bad Will Hunting is an eye opener, a clear example of how in the end, those hunting for bad will, those who seek revenge become blind to the good things in their lives and end up hurting themselves more. It is also a reminder that in order to heal you have to learn to let go. This is the geniality of this book. Even though it starts looking like an empty looking story, Heather Wardell knows how to slowly but constantly introduce real life lessons into the plot so that in the end you are left with a feeling of gratitude for having read the book.
Bad Will Hunting is a good read, one that I would catalog in my “Women’s Fiction with a plus” shelf. This is a perfect read for Spring or Summer. If you’re in the mood for a realistic uplifting story that will shake your life and give you hope, this is the book for you. A good read for book clubs or classrooms, as interesting discussions on anger management can surge from this story.
I feel grateful for the opportunity given to read this book, it is a story that I know I will always remember, and will read again when I need a little reminder of hope in my life. I’m looking forward to book #3 in this series, which is coming out soon this year and other work from Heather Wardell.
- Trust is so important for human beings. The following lines hit close to home. We’ve all been or will be there at some point in our lives. The important thing to remind ourselves is that we are not alone when we feel like this:
Will there ever be a time when I don’t have to be constantly on guard to make sure nobody hurts me?
I have to get used to being alone. Alone means nobody screwing you over.
I shut my eyes and rest my head on his strong shoulder and decide I’m going to trust him. It’s scary, but I am. I think he deserves it.
- What you get from revenge:
If you wrestle with a pig, all that happens is you both end up dirty.
- Anger management lessons:
“I guess I’m just not good at that. People say horrible things and I get angry and then I get paralyzed.”
“Then don’t,” he says, as I wonder why I said that. I don’t get paralyzed, not at all. I turn my fury into action,
- Friendship lesson. Be there for your friends. Always, especially in their moments of despair. Be their person.
And she didn’t abandon me. She kept trying every week even when I wouldn’t answer the phone. So not everyone leaves.
- Let go and move on:
He did that, and it annoys me, and I’m going to let it go.
I realized that I could do it for me. Just to feel better, to be able to walk around without being exhausted. So I started.
“You’re right, it’s not fair. But are you going to let it ruin everything?”
MC pushes back from Kent and stares at me. “It already has.”
I shake my head, and so does everyone else around me. “It hasn’t,” I say, “unless you let it.”
“Yeah, don’t give her that satisfaction,” Aaron says. “Don’t let her win.”
It’s not about winning or losing. She did what she did. That’s a fact. But what are you going to do now? You can still get married. It’s only ruined if you don’t move past this. Do it for you, not to get revenge on her.
- Life mantra’s:
Life sometimes knocks you down, but faith and hope and love will always help you back up.
…carrying resentment hurts me a lot more than it hurts whoever I’m resenting.
“Resentment is like taking poison and hoping the other person dies.”~ Anon.
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