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Bad Girl Gone Wicked by Shilpa Suraj

My take on the book:

Tara Wadhwa, the captain of Indian Women’s Cricket team, has been feeling lonely with hectic practice sessions and matches. On a girl’s night out, when her two best friends Aisha and Inaya did not turn up, in a drunk state, Tara gets intimate for a minute with a stranger at the bar, who turns out to be a drug dealer.

Enters Nikhil Upadhyay, the Fixer, who is roped in by the selection committee to fix Tara’s mess and to repair her image in the media. Tara is pissed off with the presence of Nikhil, as she resents his involvement in correcting her momentary mistake. Nikhil believes he is Tara’s first and biggest fan but every idea he puts across is met with opposition from Tara.

Will Nikhil be able to accomplish the task he has been brought in for or the situation turns murkier forms the rest of the story.

This is the third book in the Bad Girls series after Bad Girl Gone Good and Bad Girl Gone RogueTara played the supporting best friend of Aisha and Inaya in the earlier two books and in the third one, the reader gets to know Tara. The female protagonist is national cricket team captain — there cannot be a bigger reason than that to pick this book. The story however goes beyond the normal traits of a sports star and the sacrifices they make every day to reach such pinnacles of success.

The story highlights how every move of celebrities is under scanner by media and things are so quickly blown out of proportion, that the real talent and hard work of Tara is obscured by controversies. The importance of family’s support is also well conveyed by the author through the families of Tara and Nikhil.

Out of the three girls, Tara fits her Bad Girl tag perfectly, especially when she teases and troubles Nikhil. Tara’s daily rigor, the basic that an athlete would go through, especially when she is leading a team is very inspiring.

The climax seems a bit rushed as I felt the story could not reach the potential it started off with. When I read about Tara in the earlier two books, I was very intrigued to read about her in book three, to know who would be paired with her. While the idea of a Fixer as the male protagonist started off very well, the family angle in the second half dragged their romantic story.

Also, would have loved reading Tara play more World Cup matches and how the tournament actually ended. Likewise, Aisha and Inaya are also missing towards the end of the story. The engaging first half, strong protagonists and contemporary urban story impressed me overall.

My rating: