3 out of 5 Stars
*I received an ARC of Wicked White through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
Growing up in the foster system, Ace Johnson hasn’t had many people in his life who love him. As lead singer for Wicked White, where he’s known as Ace White, he’s surrounded by people who don’t even care about him. When his foster mother—the only person who has ever really loved him—collapses and dies, Ace decides to walk away from all the fame and phoniness. He goes into hiding in a small town in Ohio where he rents a trailer next door to Iris Easton.
After her grandmother passes away, Iris returns home to Sarahsville, OH, to straighten out her grandmother’s affairs, putting her dream of singing in a Broadway musical on hold. She inherits the trailer park where she grew up, along with a mountain of debt. When Ace moves in, Iris is instantly attracted to him, but he runs hot and cold with her and is very secretive about his past. Iris is not easily deterred. She continues to be nice to Ace, and eventually Ace gives in to the mutual attraction.
But when Iris’ trailer is broken into and the tax money to save the trailer park is stolen, Ace has to go on the run in order to avoid being dragged back into his former life before he’s ready. Ace needs to find a way to clean up the mess he left behind and win back Iris’ heart after he ignores her for so long.
Wicked White is a sweet romance with instant attraction between the main characters, though Ace fights it as long as he can, knowing he can’t reveal who he really is. He doesn’t want to drag Iris into his crazy life, especially after finding out she is a singer. Unfortunately, the attraction is a bit too instantaneous. On their first meeting, Ace tells himself he can’t get close to Iris or else he’ll spill all of his secrets. Once they do start an actual relationship, Iris immediately tells Ace she doesn’t care what he’s running from and that she’ll be with him anywhere. There needs to be a little more relationship development before these two fall in love.
There is also a bit too much cliché for my liking between the instant attraction for both of them and Iris saying she loves him in her sleep. Then they are separated for months because Ace is too stubborn to talk to Iris, and when he finally does try to talk to her he misinterprets a kiss on the cheek from another guy and runs away again. When he does come back and apologizes, he never really gives a good reason for having stayed away.
Wicked White is told in first person point of view by both Iris and Ace. Where this can sometimes drag a story down, it is done well in this case. What I don’t really like is the third person point of view thrown in a couple of times to show what the reporter who is looking for Ace is doing. It doesn’t really have a point since the reporter isn’t the one who finally outs his location.
Setting aside the lack of romantic buildup, I did enjoy the plot of the story. Ace is a romantic at heart, and he just wants to play his own music. Iris has her own dream, which gets derailed for a time, but with help from Ace she’s able to finally land a starring role on Broadway. Three stars for this contemporary romance.
Wicked White will be released on June 23, 2015 and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.