Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios
Release Date: June 13, 2017 (tomorrow!!!)
*I received this eARC from the publisher via netgalley in exchange for a honest review – thanks so much for sending me over a copy!*
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.
This book does have a lot of triggers – it is about an unhealthy relationship, and it does contain topics such as abuse, mental illness, suicide, and rape. I have not experienced any of these things, so all of my thoughts on the representation were based on my opinions.
Wow. Wow. Wowwwwwwwww. I didn’t expect to be amazed by this book. I thought it would be an intriguing read and an easy four crown read, but this book made me an emotional wreck. I literally have never felt sick to my stomach or so angry before when reading and this book did it to me.
Let’s just get the small bad out of the way first and then we can talk about the rest. The only issue I had was how long it took me to get into it. The first 20% of the book is really a lot of background knowledge and stories going on, that it just seemed to take forever to get to the actual part where the story began. There was a lotttttttttttt of inner monologues. But once you get past this, it just goes straight into the complexities and intricacies that make this the haunting story that it is.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about this book. This booook. Honestly. I don’t even know where to begin. This book let’s you know right away – Gavin is the villain. He is not a good guy. He has messed up Grace in ways. The reader knows this. The reader understands this. But goodness, with the way that Demetrios writes, if you’re not confused at some point throughout the story. And that’s the whole point – relationships are not simple and especially ones that are abusive.
First off, this book had amazing girl friendship power. I loved Grace’s friend group. They were amazing. I loved them. I lovedddddddd them. Nat and Lys were perfect. So much empowerment.
I loved Grace. Once I got past her perchance for inner monologues, gosh, did I love her. She was so human, so believable, so realistic. She was complex and fiery and caring and the perfect heroine for this story. The reader can’t help but love this dreamer and hope for her dreams to come true. This story is a character driven book, and Grace is a brilliant character to drive this story forward. By the end of the story, I felt so much for her that literally everything bad that happened to her, I felt my heart breaking even more and I was literally sick to my stomach over the situations that she was in.
Gavin was such an intriguing character as well. Of course, I hated him…but the truth is I didn’t hate him all the time – and that was the worst part. You see the beginnings of the relationship where he is this good, loving guy. But as the story grows, it becomes clear that there are problems. He has problems. This is not a fairytale. But it’s still so scary that he was this Prince Charming guy in the beginning. Demetrios did such a fantastic job with his character.
I think such an interesting part of the novel was the fact that Demetrios uses a different format for this book. Basically, the novel is Grace’s letter to Gavin, telling him about their story. She uses the word, “You” a lot and at times, it places the reader as Gavin, doing what he is doing. It totally made me see a lot of things differently than if it was just saying, well, Gavin did this and Gavin did that. It had a whole different feeling with it, and I thought it created so much more of an impact.
As I said, this is a very character driven novel. It is focused on the relationship and Grace’s journey. There isn’t much of a big plot focusing on saving a kingdom – it’s focused on one’s girl journey in finding out who she is and what her relationships do to her. If you’re expecting a lot of action, this is not a story for you – but trust me, this is captivating in its own way. I sat for two hours straight just to finish this book because it was so gripping. I had to know what happening. I was two seconds away from shouting at my Kindle and I was flipping through the pages so fast.
I don’t want to say too much about this book to spoil anything, but this book was simply hauntingly beautiful. I haven’t seen too many domestic violence stories in YA lately, but it is such a prevalent problem facing young adults today. While this book has many triggers, I think it’s a book that a lot of people would benefit from reading – because it shows you just how innocently things can start off. It is a story that will make you angry, but it’s a story that I feel a lot of people need to read (if they are okay with the triggers). It is hard to read, but wow. I’ll definitely be picking up my physical copy soon.
Five crowns, and while I did debate about putting a Princess Rating on this (I didn’t want to trivialize anything), it is a Tiana rating.
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