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Bad Romance

Review

Bad Romance

Grace has never had it easy. Not with her home life, where her mom is only a shell of what she use to be ever since her abusive stepfather came into their lives. Not with her dreams, where her California town places her far from New York and Broadway. So when Gavin comes into her life, she believes he is too good to be true. They fall in love fast and hard, Grace not knowing her relationship will soon be dark and inescapable.

"[BAD ROMANCE] isn't just meant to be enjoyed. It’s meant to help people speak out, understand and learn. It’s a book that deserves to be heard."

Let’s just get this out of the way: I loved this book! Seriously, I LOVED THIS BOOK!! It follows a toxic and abusive relationship from start to finish, a topic that we rarely see books center on, especially in YA. Abuse is a tough and dark topic but that doesn't mean it should be a topic that we all hide from, especially in young adult books. As Demetrios states in the back of the book, girls aged 16-24 are the ones most likely to be in abusive relationships, so the fact that this book exists is a good one. The author has experienced an abusive relationship herself and you can see the experience come through in her writing. BAD ROMANCE creates the space for important conversations and the space for reflection on certain relationships in everyone’s life.

BAD ROMANCE was one of the first books I read that follows an abusive relationship. One of the things I enjoyed was that though Gavin was abusive, the book also made sure to illustrate the appeal behind him, why Grace fell in love with him. He’s charming and always says the right thing, he’s the tortured rockstar whom Grace can help get back on track, he helps her escape from her terrible home life. He even writes her songs! Yet in the background, there’s always some sense of control with him, a few words of dialogue to make his actions go toxic. His true colors come through the further and further you read.

One of the best things about this book was the use of narrative. The point of view was done perfectly, having Grace narrate from a place where the damage from the relationship has been done and where the worst has already happened. This is an interesting choice but turns into a powerful one, creating constant tension even during the relationship’s happy moments. The reader knows disaster is coming around the corner yet they can’t do anything to stop it. The book is also in second person, having Grace refer to Gavin as “you” the entire time. Again, this was an interesting choice and I didn’t like it at first but it became a very powerful tool, making the book feel like an entire letter directed to Gavin.

These paragraphs only break the surface of what is fantastic about BAD ROMANCE. I could easily go off on the perfect and strong female friendships that Demetrios writes about, or the powerful look at family relationships and hardships, but that would be at risk of this review becoming an essay. I can only hope a book this powerful will create conversations and help those in a similar situation to Grace. This book isn't one that is just meant to be enjoyed. It’s meant to help people speak out, understand, learn. It’s a book that deserves to be heard.

Reviewed by Brynn S., Teen Board Member on June 27, 2017

Bad Romance
by Heather Demetrios