Avon Impulse, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-06-287876-2
Contemporary Romance, 2019
The previous two entries in Mia Sosa’s Love on Cue series featured heroines that overreact to situations while tripping over their own petty self-absorption, and Eva Montgomery of Crashing into Her follows the same route. Fortunately, this time around neither she nor Anthony Castillo have contrived, done-to-death angst, and there is enough humor to make up for the overall “How old are these people again?” vibe of this story.
Eva is happy to move to LA – yay, she is finally going to be her own person, to carve her own path… using Daddy’s big bags of money, of course. Her father, who is quite the control freak, decides to renege on his promise to force her to give up her plans and be his little girl forever. Never mind, our heroine decides to go ahead with her plans anyway. However, if you are hoping for a tale of a young lady who grows up after learning up front what it means to make her own way in this world, don’t hold your breath – Eva has so many safety nets here in the form of characters from previous books who are always willing to offer jobs, financial assistance, and more that Eva doesn’t really have to do any growing up here other than to stop being so childish about love.
She once had a one-night stand with Anthony Castillo, a stuntman who runs the free self-defense class for women at the fitness studio where Eva works at. The studio belongs to Eva’s friend, by the way, so yes, our heroine doesn’t even have to go through the rounds of seeking for a job like other people, while Anthony is this friend Tori’s cousin. Anthony doesn’t do long term relationships because of his mother and because of an ex, yawn, while Eva doesn’t do long-term relationships because she thinks all men are out to control her and restrict her independence. I know, big talk for a lady who has been depending on other people all this while to make things happen for her. Anyway, Eva eventually decides that she wants to take up stunt training too, and guess who has to tutor her.
Once again, don’t hold your breath if you are expecting scenes of Eva training hard to be the new stunt woman in town – the only thing changes after this is that she gets the “occasional stunt jobs” by the epilogue; the true victory for this modern, independent woman is apparently finally nabbing a man for her happily ever after. Like everything else in her life, our heroine treats this aspect of the plot like it’s a mild diversion to the games she is playing with Anthony. The stunt thing is just a cosmetic trapping here – it can be changed to some other job and the overall story will still be as it is with some words changed here and there.
Now, the banter and the interactions between Anthony and Eva are for the most part fun to read. Sure, these two are both immature and have a tendency to overreact to pretty much everything, but there is enough wit and sizzle to keep things interesting. The author for the most part has me entertained enough by these scenes that, while I am turning the pages, I find myself thinking that this one may just be a clear winner.
Unfortunately, I have to think about what I’ve read before I sit down to do this review, and that’s when I realize I don’t like this book as much as I previously thought. In fact, the more I think about the story, the more I start to… well, not like it.
Eva, for example, is childish and bratty through and through, from deliberately singing at the top of her voice every morning even when she knows it will annoy the hell out of her neighbors to openly embarrassing Anthony in front of his students just because she wants to. It’s very hard to warm up to her because everything about her independence and strength is fake. She is propped up by the kindness of her friends, who view her childish pettiness as a charming quirk, and she never has to face any consequences for her thoughtlessness and chilling lack of empathy for anyone who isn’t among her circle of friends. Even her interior monologues can be peppered with unnecessary petty jabs at people around her. How old is this creature? Even her epilogue is annoying, as it is basically a “Ha, ha, I’m now perfect and Anthony loves me the most, so suck it haters!” thing. Again, how old is this thing?
The author also falls into the trap of having the heroine behaving like a complete twat in the name of girl power. A most notable example is Eva purposely hitting Anthony so hard, after deliberately misleading him in a demonstration in front of his students, that it affects him for days, and of course she doesn’t apologize because she’s such a strong and brave woman of color like that.
Anthony isn’t much of a winner either, but he is nowhere as much of a sociopath as Eva. He’s just whiny. I also feel a degree of pity for him as well because Eva treats him like a punching bag each time she feels that she has to demonstrate what a strong woman she is.
All in all, there is some charming humor in Crashing into Her that drags it to the finish line, but yikes, the main characters are the embodiment of every stereotype of the self-absorbed, spoiled, and annoying crybaby kids of today.