Very Wicked Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
Series: Briarcrest Academy #2
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Publication date: May 13, 2014
Format: eARC, 289 pages
How I got it: From the author
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Born on the poor side of town…
Ballerina Dovey Beckham is a scholarship student at Briarcrest Academy, determined to prove she’s more than just a girl with the wrong pedigree. She does whatever it takes to succeed in her endgame, even if it means surrendering her body…but never her heart.
Until the day she meets him, and he rips apart all her well-laid plans. Suddenly, the girl everyone thought unbreakable might just shatter.
Born into wealth and privilege…
Cuba “Hollywood” Hudson is rich, spoiled, and a star football player. With his fast cars and superficial girlfriends, he lives the high-life, hiding his secrets from the world.
Until the day he meets her, and she offers him something he’s never tasted…love.
But once in a lifetime kind of love doesn’t come easy. When trust crumbles and doubts creep in, both will have to decide to either love or let go…forever.
Welcome to Briarcrest Academy, where sometimes, only the wicked survive.
I have nothing but love for Ilsa and this series. I fell in love with Nora and Leo, even with their flaws, in Very Bad Things. Ever since the teasers for Very Wicked Things have been trickling slowly out, I suspected I would connect with Dovey. I tend to love the underdog. I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to fully appreciate Cuba and see him as a swoony boyfriend and not a total jerk, but I did. Oh did I ever.
“I hadn’t always been such a jerk. Once, I’d wanted to take the girl of my dreams and make love to her under the stars and moon. Once, I’d wanted to give her every piece of me.”
“You believe you’ll never fall, but then you wake-up, just another notch on his bedpost.”
When Very Wicked Things begins, Dovey and Cuba’s relationship has run its course. (If you want more of the back story behind Dovey and Cuba, make sure to check out Very Wicked Beginnings, the prequel novella.) She loved him and he played her. He devastated her, but she was strong and she would overcome her feelings for him. After all, she’d been through worse in her life. She was poor, her mother died when she was young and her father was absent. She was taken in by Sarah, a wonderful woman who is now suffering from Alzheimer’s. Dovey was an incredible main character. She was determined, complex, and a survivor. She loved deeply and would do whatever she could to protect those she loves. The choices she makes in this book aren’t easy and they’re at times devastating, but she did what she felt she had to do to protect those she loves. She didn’t want to ask others for help.
“But no matter who people think you are, no one really knows what’s underneath.”
“Bad guys are always the prettiest, but then pretty is an understatement when it came to him. He was simply more.”
Cuba was a very, very complicated character. On the surface, he is a total jerk – the stereotypical football player manwhore. Underneath it all, there’s a far more vulnerable guy whose guilt is eating him up. His guilt, and the misguided belief that he doesn’t deserve anything good in life, has led him to destroy one of the best things that’s ever happened to him – his relationship with Dovey. As more of Cuba’s background is revealed, this guilt is understood and I really sympathized with him. His actions in present day show that he really is a good and caring guy with a huge heart.
“I was not ordinary and neither was he. We were both survivors who’d managed to find each other among the chaos.”
There’s so much good and surprising about this book, I don’t want to run the risk of ruining anything for you. Very Wicked Things was sweet and sexy. It focused on family, friendship and romance. It wasn’t filled with unnecessary drama, but it did have a fair bit of angst and a whole lot of feels. I was completely invested in Dovey and Cuba and watching these two broken souls attempt to put themselves back together and fight the emotions they felt for each other. Chemistry is a bitch and Dovey and Cuba have it in spades. It’s tough to fight something that’s obviously so very right. Despite being from two different worlds, they were more alike than you would think.
“You see, it’s corny, but I believe only a few moments in your life possess special magic, and I believe each person is given only a handful. Not sure I’d seen any yet. Until now.”
I don’t know the title of the next book in the Briarcrest Series. I don’t know whose book it is (please oh please oh please be Sebastian’s!). I don’t know when it will be released. None of this matters. I still can’t wait to read it. This is one of my favorite new adult series and that feeling just gets stronger with each new book.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All quotes come from the review copy and may differ in the final version.