Thursday, August 17, 2017

Review: Bad Romance

Title: Bad Romance 
Series: None
Author: Heather Demetrios
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company Inc
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Source: Gifted.  Thank you!

Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.
Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it's too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she's unable to escape.
Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.

Find Bad Romance online!
Wow.  Wow.  This book was . . . amazing.  It was heart-wrenching and intense and scary but so amazing and so necessary.  It honestly felt really eye opening to read.  It follows an abusive relationship between Grace and Gavin and some of the behaviors that Gavin exhibited . . . were unnervingly similar to the behaviors of a lot of fictional male characters that are very well liked in the community and have been in the past (Hello, Edward Cullen).  Also, I feel like I should warn anyone who would like to know, there are some triggering themes in this novel such as: self-harm, sexual abuse, rape, verbal and physical abuse, and suicide.  It's not a book that's read lightly but it's definitely one I'm glad to have read.

There's been a lot of talk about this book and a lot of mixed opinions, largely due to the way in which it was written.  It's an interesting POV . . . it's told in first person but the narrator, Grace, is addressing her abuser, Gavin, as "you", making it feel at times like the reader is Gavin.  (Example: "I gave you my heart on a silver f*cking platter and you ate it, piece by bloody piece." Example taken from the book.)  This writing style didn't bother me at all; in fact, I found it really compelling to read and it made the story feel more personal for me.  

Okay, so the story itself, like I said, was super intense.  It's so hard to read because the book makes you feel exactly what Grace was feeling.  When she liked Gavin, it was hard not to like him.  When she was scared of him, I was scared of him.  When she hated him, I hated him.  Demetrios just knows how to pull out emotions from her readers, and with content that is so emotionally charged already, it was hard not to get completely swept up in it.

What was the most unnerving aspect of this book (for me, at least), was how often I had seen Gavin's abusive behaviors in other young adult and even adult books.  In nearly every other book I've read, these abusive behaviors have been written about and cast in a positive and even charming light.  **Very mild spoiler ahead** The most glaring example was when Grace finds out that Gavin's been watching her sleep without her knowledge.  Sound familiar?  Yeah, Edward Cullen did that (and I'm sure other heroes I'm forgetting) and it was viewed as something sweet and romantic and not totally creepy, like it is.  It's so harmful to provide people, especially young teens, with content that glorifies these abusive behaviors and doesn't call them out for what they are.  It was so nice to see these behaviors called out in this book.   

I loved how important friendships were in this book for Grace.  Her two friends, Nat and Lys, were absolutely amazing and it was so great to see how they stuck by Grace and were always there for her, no matter what.  Reading about their friendship made me want to go hug my own friends.  They were just so awesome and it was nice to see such important female friendships highlighted in this book.  

I have much more I can say about this book but I think I'll go ahead and stop here.  Bottom line is: this book was intense and important and amazing, but also triggering.  It deals with a lot of heavy topics, so if you're going to read it, make sure you're prepared and taking care of yourself.  I'm glad I read this book and I'm happy for the impact it has made in my life. 

“When you're a stupid girl in love, it's almost impossible to see the red flags. It's so easy to pretend they're not there, to pretend everything is perfect.” 

Five out of Five Teapots

The author, Heather Demetrios, provides information on her website and in the back of this book on how to recognize the signs of abuse and how to help yourself or someone you know out of an abusive relationship.  For all the information and resources she provides, visit this page.

Phone number for the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673) 

Phone number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233)


  1. This book was so hard for me to read but it was so amazing. I don't usually read tough-issue YA contemporary but of course I would make exceptions for Demetrios, her books are so good. You're right, Gavin displayed behaviors that some YA boys do in other books and it's not okay. :/ I'm glad you enjoyed this book, Ashtyn!

    Have a wonderful day. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. Agreed! I've only read one other Demetrios book but I definitely plan on reading her others! This one was amazing and so eye opening.

      Thanks for stopping by, Alyssa!


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