Title: Bad Romance
Author: Heather Demetrios
Publication Date: June 2017
Version: Physical Book
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Rating: 4/5 Stars
**TRIGGER WARNING: As the description suggests, this book contains abuse and discusses suicide. This book has very heavy themes throughout, as it deals with several abusive relationships.**
*This review also contains spoilers. The review will be spoiler free for the first part and contain spoilers in the second part below the line.*
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.
I just finished this book last night and have needed some time to process all the feelings I was feeling while reading because there were a lot. Of feelings. Just feelings all over the place. There were things I liked and didn’t like about this book and I want to get into both, so let’s talk about the good first.
I think one of the things Demetrios did well with this book is make me feel uncomfortable, sad, and angry at the characters. An author who can make you really feel, good or bad, is doing it right. There were times when I wanted to scream because it was just so obvious that Gavin is manipulative and abusive, and yet, that’s the point. Grace and Gavin’s relationship slowly spirals downward until Grace feels completely trapped. In addition, Gavin will do something wonderful and meaningful that will leave Grace wondering if the relationship is really all that bad, which leads us to:
Relationships. Whether it’s the strained relationship between Grace and her mother, the fearful relationship between Grace and her step-father, or the incredible relationship between Grace and her best friends, Nat and Lys, this book does not hold back when painting the flaws and perfections that come with real relationships.
I also want to point out that I am just so grateful for a book that does a pretty good job of not glamorizing toxic relationships, particularly in YA. I felt like there were points when I have seen aspects of Grace and Gavin’s relationship portrayed in other books, but IT IS SEEN AS HEALTHY. I am very grateful that there are more and more books moving away from this trend and I believe Bad Romance is one of these books.
The reason this book isn’t a 5 star read for me mainly has to do with the ending. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THIS BOOK, THE NEXT PART OF THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. THIS IS A GREAT PLACE TO STOP AND READ THE BOOK.
Are you sure you’ve read the book? Okay, great. My main issues with this book were in the ending. While I understand and appreciate that there was never going to be a happily ever after all tied up neatly with a bow after the trauma Grace experiences, I wanted more closure for Grace at the end. I finished reading the book and was afraid that Gavin would find her or that she would find someone else like Gavin. I also felt like so much of the story was about Gavin (the books is addressed to “you”, or Gavin, after all) that it ends right when Grace finally ends it with him. I wanted to know more about how Grace heals what happens next. This was probably purposeful on Demetrios’ part, but I can’t help feeling like I was so invested in Grace throughout the story and then it ends when her relationship with Gavin ends.