Title: She’s Got a Way
Author: Maggie McGinnis
Series: Echo Lake #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Available: 30th Aug
LOVE WILL FIND A WAY
Gabriela O’Brien is devoted to the girls at Briarwood Academy—even when their bad behavior earns them an entire summer at a remote campground in Echo Lake, Vermont. When the headmaster assigns Gabi to be their chaperone, how can she refuse? A long, hot summer with neither indoor plumbing nor wireless access might be just what she needs to get her own life in order…right?
Before Briarwood took over Camp Echo, Luke Magellan spent years there helping troubled boys. When four spoiled rich girls and their seemingly uptight den mother show up for the summer, it’s hard to hide his amusement as he watches them tackle the great outdoors. But it’s even tougher to resist the passion he sees in Gabi—especially when he learns about her past, and sees how much she cares about her students. Is this destined to be just a grownup version of a summer-camp romance—or can they find enough in common to build a love for all seasons?
Source: ARC from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley
What is it with obnoxious heroes right now, acting like jerks because they feel they have a good reason, who everybody thinks are wonderful even as they’re rude and arrogant and judgemental towards the book’s heroine? Luke is actually a pretty decent guy who is amazing with teenagers, but at the start of this book (and for most of it, let’s be honest) he has a massive chip on his shoulder that manifests as inverse snobbery, because the girls come from a boarding school, and everybody knows they never have issues or trouble or difficulties or any need for someone to help them get away from their own heads.
Gabi gets the worst of it, because she’s done nothing to warrant getting stuck in this camp for the summer, yet she not only has to look after her four very unhappy teens, she also has to deal with Luke being all smug and know-it-all. Then he has the audacity to complain that she’s too proud to ask for help. I don’t blame her! He makes it obvious from the start that he’s so much better at everything than she is (while hiding his qualifications), and he basically writes her off as some useless, trust-fund princess, so no wonder she doesn’t want to ask him for anything. She certainly doesn’t seem to struggle when it comes to working alongside and accepting help from the other people at the camp.
Which means Luke is the problem. Because he is.
And this is a huge shame, because I found it hard to get over this first impression of Luke, even when he was actually turning out to be someone decent and helpful towards the girls. He does good things, but while he sort of loosens up his judgemental attitude towards the girls, it definitely persists around Gabi, and it irritated me.
I also wish Gabi’s relationship with the girls had gone… well, anywhere. Luke makes all the connections and breakthroughs in this book, while Gabi flaps her hands, gets worried and seems completely unqualified to do her job. The teens don’t really change either. Waverley and Eve have little-to-no presence, Madison sort of relaxes her mean girl attitude, while Sam remains Sam right up to the end. They do learn teamwork, but I would have liked to have seen more of the changes and personality shifts.
Then there are the emotional issues. Gabi and Luke do talk in this book, but Gabi never tells Luke any of the details about her family situation – and I’m not sure if this is because she never loosens up enough to actually trust Luke, or if he just doesn’t bother to ask. Luke’s past is explored a little more, but again, never in great depth between them. Kind of like their relationship: it runs hot and cold, has a bit of antagonism and bumps along until it reaches the end.
Which is kind of this story in a nutshell for me. It’s okay, I found it readable, but it never quite drew me in as much as I’d hoped. It has plenty of things going on, it is interesting at times, there is a romance and certainly a happy (if a little too picture perfect) ending. In all, I found it okay, an easy read that helps to pass the time, but I didn’t manage to connect with it as deeply as I’d hoped.
She’s Got a Way is out August 30th.
Visit Maggie McGinnis for more details.