Alright so this is a little confusing, (and I had no idea about this before I started reading!) so please bear with me here. How Willa Got Her Groove Back by Emily McKay is the second book in the Creative HeArts series and you do not need to have read the first book in that series, Ten Things Sloane Hates About Tru. However, How Willa Got Her Groove Back (HWGHGB from here on out) is the first book in Finn and Willa's story and is not a standalone as their story continues in another book and is not over here. I thought that this book was a complete standalone before starting, so I just want to make sure that readers are aware of that since I didn't think it was clearly stated as it seems from other reviews I was not the only one under that impression.
Willa is preparing for her senior year when her father returns home from a business trip and changes everything about her life. Suddenly he is marrying one of Hollywood's most famous actresses that she had no idea he was even seeing. Now not only is he with someone he has only known a few months, but Willa is being forced to move into a new house to live with Mia and her son Finn. Though Willa is attracted to Finn, she wants nothing to do with him and does her best to avoid him. That is until they are suddenly assigned to the same project at school, and she is forced to work with him. As Willa and Finn begin to feel something between them though, the guy she has been crushing on suddenly begins to notice her as well. But is his interest because of who is about to become her stepmom, or is he actually interested in her? And why does she still find herself thinking of Finn when Damien is finally showing interest in her?
I will be honest here and say that I didn't feel that connected to any of the characters in this story. It wasn't that I really disliked them, I just didn't feel invested in them. Willa, Finn, and Damien each had their moments, and yet I felt as though we weren't really digging deep with any of them. There were times that things would seem to be changing and we would get some more, but it was over as quickly as it started. I wasn't sure what Damien's intentions were, I was frustrated with Finn's hot and cold act, and there were times that Willa confused me as well. I was never really sure what her feelings were either. I also really didn't like Willa's father here. I understood Mia trying to buy her affection and do whatever it took to win Willa over. But what I never understood was why her dad didn't bother to tell her he was seeing anyone before springing the engagement on her. For as close as they were (even though they didn't spend a lot of time together), I would have expected a lot more from him and honestly I felt like that was never really dealt with here. They had one conversation where he admitted he handled things wrong, but I didn't ever really get a sense of true regret for him and he basically just told her to suck it up and deal.
Overall, I was pretty disappointed to approach the end of the book and realize that this one wasn't going to get an ending like I thought. It wasn't clear that this wasn't just the second book in the series, but that it was one with a cliffhanger and I felt like I had been duped. With how the characters and story were, I really wasn't happy to realize that I will have to read another book to see how things turn out. I am interested to see what will happen because it says that Willa and Finn will get another book, and their connection was just starting to develop here. So I will most likely read the next book to see what happens, but I probably won't have started this one had I known how things were here. The next book for Willa and Finn is tentatively scheduled for a November 2016 release, so hopefully that will give these characters the conclusion they deserve as I really don't want to have to keep waiting so long for more of their story with so much time in between releases. If you think that HWGHGB sounds like one you might like and don't mind waiting for more, you might give this one a shot.
**ARC Provided by Publisher**