It’s release day!
I’m sure it’s already apparent but for those who haven’t figured this out – I love Krista and Becca Ritchie’s writing. I fell in love with the Core 6 in the Addicted and Calloway Sisters series, and I couldn’t get enough of the characters. The most amazing thing for me is just the amount of detail they put into their storytelling. Characters get their quirks, phrases and movements that are unique to the, and rich backstory – but it’s not just the main characters either. They put thought into the side characters. And because of this incredible world building it really creates a desire from their readers for more stories and books to be written. Such is the case with Willow and Garrison.
They pop up as side characters in the aforementioned series and in the Like Us series as well. And years ago, Krista and Becca took some time and started a web series called Whatever It Takes and posted chapters on Wattpad. While scouring their website for any extra bonus material, I stumbled upon the Wattpad story and immediately fell in love with Willow and Garrison. Unfortunately, at the time, Krista and Becca had to prioritize books that would actually make them money vs the free online story that made them nothing and so Whatever It Takes sat on Wattpad at this terrible cliffhanger. Fans resigned themselves to knowing they would at least have the Core 6’s perspective on Willow and Garrison’s story whenever they popped up.
But finally, finally, finally, last year Krista and Becca surprised readers with a completed duet that will be released at the end of January.
Krista and Becca have shared that the book will cover parts of the original Wattpad story, when Willow and Garrison first met in high school, but would also cover future years, with Willow in college. The books are written to be read as a standalone, so even if you haven’t read the Addicted/Calloway sisters series or the Like Us series, it would still make sense. Obviously, all the series are incredible though and everyone should read all of them.
I was so lucky to have received as ARC of Whatever It Takes, and in my excitement for Willow and Garrison, I devoured the book in a day and I have many, many thoughts.
Willow Hale. This character owns my introverted soul. There were so many moments where I was nodding along to her internal dialogue thinking same girl, same. And there were also moments where I was cheering her on. She does some incredibly brave things, and as a fellow introvert, I know how hard it is to push yourself out of your comfort zone. For me, it’s mentally exhausting and frightening and it’s very easy for me to just talk myself out of whatever it is and just stay in my bubble – safe, but stagnant. My girl, Willow, throws herself way out of her comfort zone, she is so strong for it and I was really proud and inspired.
Garrison Abbey. Garrison. Abbey. I love this character. So much. He owns my lonely heart. Garrison is the baby in his family and is the punching bag to his older brothers and this on top of some not so great friends really effects his outlook on life. He wants to be left alone but is also afraid to be alone. There were so many times in this book that I wanted to give him a hug – but he’s sensitive about touch so only hugging him with consent. Garrison’s journey through this book is really what got to me. He struggles with self-worth both in the past and present. His past actions have really shaped how he views himself, and what he feels he deserves. There are good parts to his life but he doesn’t think a person like him deserves the happiness in his life. I just thought it was really important lesson in self-worth.
Any book that can really get me in my feelings like this automatically gets 5 magical stars. It’s filled with angst, so many pop culture references, and first love. I was in tears at the end of the book, dying for the second book in the duet. Krista and Becca are masters of creating in depth characters and worlds, and I’m super grateful that they took the time to tell Willow and Garrison’s story.