Will They or Won’t They by Ava Wilder

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Dell

Date of Publication: June 27th, 2023

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Chick Lit, Adult Fiction

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

On screen, they’re in love. Off screen, they can’t stand each other. Two co-stars with a complex history reunite to film the final season of a beloved paranormal drama in this tension-filled will they won’t they romance from the author of How to Fake It in Hollywood.

Lilah Hunter and Shane McCarthy are madly in love— at least, their characters are. As the stars of the hit paranormal TV show Intangible, they spent years pining for each other on-screen… until Lilah ditched the show at the end of season five in hopes of becoming a film star. With no such luck, she’s back to film the much-hyped ninth and final season, in which their characters will get together at last.

But coming back means facing one of the biggest reasons she left: Shane. Ever since their secret behind-the-scenes fling imploded at the end of the first season, the two of them have despised each other.

Now back on set together for the first time in years, with the world’s eyes on them and their post-show careers on the line, they’ll have to grit their teeth and play nice. But under pressure to give Intangible’s fans the happy ending they’ve been waiting for, Lilah and Shane are forced to get closer than ever. And if they’re not careful, they just might get blindsided by one final twist: a real-life happy ending of their own.

First Line:

Lilah Hunter knew better than to get her hopes up.

Will They or Won’t They by Ava Wilder

Lilah and Shane play a madly in love, but kept apart, couple on the hit paranormal show, Intangilble. In real life, though, they loathe each other. So, it was a good thing when Lilah left the show to make a movie and see what else was out there. But the film was a flop, and Lilah wasn’t getting any work because of it. So, when the producers approached Lilah with an offer to return to the show, she wouldn’t turn it down, even if that meant working with Shane again. But Lilah and Shane realize that maybe their hatred towards each other was more than that (thanks to a risque photo shoot). What will they do? Will they give in to their feelings? Or won’t they?

When I wished for Will They or Won’t They, I was on a huge contemporary romance kick. I hoped I liked the book because the blurb seemed rather bland. Unfortunately, I feel the same way now that I have read the book. This book didn’t create any strong feelings for it either way.

The medium pacing of Will They or Won’t They did suit the book. This pacing allowed Lilah and Shane to recount their past relationship (working and personal) on their own and with the therapist. There was some lag toward the end of the book, but since it was the end, it didn’t affect anything for me.

Will They or Won’t They takes place mainly in Hollywood, with a brief scene in New York City and a chapter in Canada. I was disappointed that the author mostly kept to where the show was filmed, convention centers and hotel rooms. I would have loved to see more of those cities and where they filmed in Canada.

The main storyline in Will They or Won’t They are Lilah and Shane’s love/hate/love relationship. The author did a great job of giving Lilah and Shane’s backstories in a way that didn’t seem forced. I could see a behind-the-scenes romance blowing up and causing issues. I could also see a producer wanting his main stars to get along and send them to couples therapy. But, once the book started focusing on the present day, I began to feel “meh” about it. The storyline seemed to be Lilah and Shane rehashing stuff from their past. Also, I wasn’t a massive fan of how their romance ping-ponged back and forth.

I didn’t care for Lilah. She came across as a neurotic pain in the butt who was also a bit of a diva. She self-sabotages almost every relationship she has had (and she admits this at one point in the book). But, at the same time, I felt terrible for her. Growing up, she had a horrible home life that caused her severe anxiety. Her mother got her into acting to overcome it, and things took off. I also felt how she treated Shane was pretty crappy, both past and present. Now, he was no angle, but she took it to another level.

I had no real concrete feelings for Shane. For most of the book, he came across as bland. He went out of his way to needle Lilah (the whole donut scene at the beginning of the book stands out the most to me). I did guess what his real feelings were reasonably early in the book and guessed what he would do with those feelings.

The romance angle of Will They or Won’t They bored me. While I like secret romances, I wasn’t a huge fan of theirs. How can a relationship flourish if they never go out together and always have sex? It can’t, and in the long run, if this were real, I would say they didn’t have a chance long term.

The end of Will They or Won’t They was pretty standard. The author surprised me with a twist towards the end of the book. The author explained the twist in the epilogue, and I was back to feeling “meh” about the characters.

I would recommend Will They or Won’t They to anyone over 21. There is language, mild violence, and sexual situations.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Dell, NetGalley, and Ava Wilder for allowing me to read and review Will They or Won’t They. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

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