Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Daniela Romero’s Savage Devil continues the story of our three Devils of Sun Valley High with a focus, in this book, on Emilio, the biggest flirt of the three. While the first book of the series, Wicked Devil, really embraced the new adult bully romance, Savage Devil doesn’t aspire to those heights. If you are looking for more of the same, you won’t find it in this book as you did in Romero’s first book. Instead, what you will find is an interrogation of what becoming teen parents does to a relationship. You will find a young man in Emilio who is trying to understand himself as he navigates the surprise baby portion of this story, and you will find Bibiana, or Bibi, coming to terms with allowing him to walk with her during this experience. In Wicked Devil, the emotional gravitas of that story lay in the heroine overcoming a strained relationship with her biological father, the death of her mother, and a traumatic experience (which finds further development in Book 2, albeit a bit underwhelming in its resolution). In this book, the depth of emotion is established through Bibi coming to terms with the aftermath of Allie’s situation, along with balancing teen motherhood and its impact on her future. Allowing Emilio into their lives breeds trouble in ways that make your heart hurt especially as Emilio struggles with a maturity in the situation. For me, I preferred the first book in this series over this one, although I was engaged in Emilio and Bibi’s journey. But, for some reason, I didn’t feel it as distinctly as I did with Allie and Roman.
For one, Emilio’s character needs more development. He has insecurities about himself that aren’t fully explored. I can intuit that it’s related to his relationships with his parents, but honestly, I think Romero could have spent more time examining it for her readers. Without that emotional development, Emilio’s issues don’t have a depth to them that they should.
Additionally, Bibi and Emilio as a couple feels unevenly developed. I think we understand Bibi much more than we understand Emilio. This causes you to not believe Romero’s strife between the two. It’s hard to commit to your feelings about the couple because Bibi’s feelings and actions seem appropriate given their history, while Emilio’s seem immature.
As far as New Adult romance goes, Savage Devil is intriguing and does what it is intended to do: pull you further into Daniela Romero’s series. Its name, however, is a bit of a lie because this book didn’t feel savage in its articulation. It absolutely points to the struggles of teen parents, especially Latinx peoples. And Romero makes it clear the double-standard that teen moms endure over teen fathers. Yet, if it’s billed as a “bully romance” or something of that ilk, then I think it needed more of that savagery. It also needed us to find more investment in her hero. I still have questions after Savage Devil, but the promise of what’s to come is still greater than needing those answers.
In love and romance,