Friday, January 6, 2012

Headstrong by Meg Maguire

TITLE: Headstrong
AUTHOR: Meg Maguire
GENRE: Contemporary romance
COST: $5.50

When Libby catches the latest man her father has hired to keep an eye on her, she offers him a deal – play double agent and get her father off her back, and she’ll pay him even more. For Reece Nolan, the offer is tempting. His family is in dire need of the money, but Libby is everything he’s always hated. It doesn’t help that she and his brother Colin hit it off almost from the start. But which brother will eventually win Libby – the one she wants or the one she understands?

I’ll be honest. The only reason I bothered finishing this book is because I’ve loved so many other works by this author. If this had been the first thing I’d ever read by her, I would’ve been done by the third chapter and written off trying anything else.

The plot is straightforward love triangle. Libby is a free-spirited rebel, living on a boat, certified genius who likes to stir the pot. Reece is uptight and glacial, with an eye for the straight and narrow, while his brother Colin is much like Libby. Libby meets both brothers in separate incidents – Colin when he rescues her from an annoying drunk, Reece when she catches him spying on her for her father. Soon, she’s wormed her way into their lives, and all three of them are left wondering just what is going on.

I’m not going to talk anymore about the plot. It’ll spoil everything, and the way it’s played out, it’s impossible to tell just who is going to end up with who until almost the end. Each is given time to explore their point of view, turning it into a bona fide love triangle. There’s just one major problem. I absolutely couldn’t stand Libby. At all. And without liking her, I just got angrier and angrier at how she acted with both brothers.

That’s not to say she’s not well-drawn. She’s clear as day. She manipulates, she likes creating trouble, and she has no problems keeping people on edge. While I liked her initial introduction, as soon as I saw her behavior outside of that specific incident, my opinion of her plummeted. It didn’t matter whose eyes I saw her through, whether it was Reece’s or Colin’s, and it only got worse when it was her own and I could follow her manipulative thoughts. What was probably meant to be forthright and quirky annoyed me to the bone. I loathed how she treated people, and wished more than once she would just go away.

Reece and Colin are much more sympathetic, even as different as they are. Their family is the emotional core of the story, and their presence helps a little bit to mitigate some of the damage having Libby around did for me. But it wasn’t enough. And I was definitely not satisfied with the ending. I was so frustrated with Libby’s treatment of both men that it wouldn’t have mattered which one she ended up with. They both deserved better, frankly. None of her backstory that was meant to help make me understand or like her did anything but make me roll my eyes.

I wouldn’t suggest this as an introduction to this author’s work. I’m not even sure I’d suggest it for a fan of her work. My reactions to Libby are extreme, though, so maybe others might not have the issues with her that I did.


8/10 – Technically proficient and readable, my issues lie with the characters


7/10 – I’m not going to elaborate because I don’t want to spoil the triangle


3/10 – I’ve often had problems with Maguire’s heroines, but I genuinely disliked this one so much I almost gave up more than once

Entertainment value

2/10 – Triangles work best when all three sides are equal, and my issues with Libby were so strong I was angry more than anything else

World building

6/10 – Proficient enough to create a mood, but not as vivid as I'd expect



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