Avon Impulse, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-06-256941-7
Contemporary Romance, 2017
Havoc pulls down the curtain on Jamie Shaw’s series which revolves around the love lives of the members of the rock band Biebers on the Block. Finally, the drummer Mike Madden gets hooked, and the series ends before we discover that their teenybopper fans turn against them once they realize that these Biebers are no longer on the market, and they are forced to beg Demi Lovato or Noah Cyrus to pretend to be their girlfriends to raise some publicity.
Wait, did I say it is Mike’s story? Sorry, let’s start again. It’s a story of Hailey Harper finally realizing what we all know from the start: she is the most special snowflake in the world, and the world finally acknowledges that her slutty, disgusting, hateful whore of a cousin Danica – whom Hailey sort of cheated on with Danica’s boyfriend Mike, but because Hailey is the heroine and she is plagued by guilt after the heated kisses and caresses with Mike, she’s not the whore here at all – is a slutty, disgusting hateful whore and, like, Hailey is a billion billion billion times the superstar that Danica can ever be, so yes, it’s that story.
You know, that story. Danica’s father pays for Hailey’s tuition and boarding (she wants to be a veterinarian physician), and our
leech parasite special heroine is pressed because all the free goodies are conditional on her keeping Danica happy. Danica wants to ride Mike’s Ducati now that he’s a famous drummer, and Hailey is like, oh my god, what a whore. The cousin, that is. Slutty guys are awesome because, you know, the penis is awesome and we can’t be mad at the thing it is attached to, or else everyone will know that we are oh my god such losers for not having a penis in our life. Mike soon discovers that Danica is, like, oh my god, a gamer and, like, wow, Mike is also a gamer too (hidden depths, y’all, oh em gee) and they like, talk a lot, and maybe stick a tongue here and a thumb down there and, like, wow, everything is like, so hot, if only that whore slut Danica is like STFU GTFO BITCH because that whore is so totally coming between Hailey and Danica’s boyfriend Mike.
Luckily, everyone soon realizes that Hailey has the biggest breasts, the hottest ass, the bestest looks, the most awesome everything and she gets to wear hot dresses, stars in, like hot music videos and becomes the bestest, most loved girl ever while Danica is like, whatever, the slut is gone and Hailey is now the most officially awesome girl ever. Like, ever.
Okay, so Havoc is what every self-absorbed teenage girl loves to fantasize about – a world in which she can behave in any way she wants and still be considered awesome and special, while all her competition for male sexual attention is denigrated and demonized by the very people whose attention she craves. That is basically nine out of ten new adult stories, and this is one of those nine.
There is also no suspense. After agonizing that Danica will kick her out of her place should Danica think that Mike is slipping it to her, when that happens, well, guess what. Yes, Mike takes her in, while reassuring her that she is special, awesome, et cetera. And so forth – everything falls into place perfectly for Hailey, to the point that this isn’t a story as much as it is a wish fulfillment fantasy for lovelorn plain little girls.
But I have to give Jamie Shaw credit for one thing: despite the number of times I roll up my eyes at this self-fulfillment touch-myself-and-ooh story, I have to confess that I actually find the whole thing as readable as can be. It can be a hard book to put down, and I never actually dislike the characters despite how the author gives them a pass for all kinds of nonsense while turning Danica into an embarrassing caricature of a foil to the heroine. It’s all in the author’s bouncy, lively narrative. Many of her characters’ conversations resemble those of far older adults than teens, but there are enough amusing one-liners here and there to make me chuckle a bit. I end up wondering what the end result would be if the author ditches the tedious new adult formula and writes something closer to an adult romance novel.
As it is, though, Havoc can be an engaging and fun read… provided that you don’t cringe at the insincere humblebragging when it comes to Hailey and how she is shocked – shocked! – that anyone will ever find her beautiful and what not.