Review: Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

Collaborative feature with Alexa. We read ARCs together and post our reviews on the same date.

Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios
6/13/17 by Henry Holt and Co.
Young Adult - Contemporary
Received ARC from publisher
Plot • Grace's life is a mess. On one hand, she has two amazing best friends, dreams of going to college in New York and has a passion for theatre that shows in all the work she does for her school plays. But on the other, her stepfather is a horrible demeaning man and her mother not only allows the verbal abuse but also inflicts her own neurosis on Grace by having her clean the house from top to bottom over and over again. When Gavin, a guy Grace has not-so-secretly been attracted to, becomes available and starts falling for her, she can't believe her luck. But soon his love for her turns dangerous and controlling. It's a ticking time bomb that Grace she doesn't know how to stop.

Characters • In general, Demetrios did an incredible job with this book. In Grace, she shows an unflinchingly honest side of a young, bright and impressionable woman who falls prey to a very bad guy. We see how her home life played a role. We see how sweet Gavin was in the beginning and why she fell for him. Then just as quickly, we see the cracks in his behavior that belie the awfulness to come. It's a train wreck you can't turn away from and I experienced so many emotions for Grace. Sadness, frustration, fear, sadness again. (And repeat.) In Gavin, we see almost the worst kind of abuser. It's subtle but crushing how he treats her. It's all aimed at her psyche and her emotions, rather than the physical, which it makes it harder for Grace to pinpoint everything that's wrong, although sparks of intuition do show itself. I also adored Grace's BFFs. They were a ray of light at the end of the tunnel and every time they made an appearance, I was glad Grace had them to constantly tell her the truth.

Writing •  I had to get used to the writing style and the voice Demetrios gave Grace. It's very stream of consciousness and unfiltered which is departure from her previous books. As soon as I adjusted to it though, I felt the writing worked in the book's favor because we got to see directly into Grace's head.

Overall feelings • This book will make you uncomfortable but more importantly, it will make you think. When Alexa and I read it, we couldn't stop talking about it, which to me shows that the book accomplished what it set out to do. And that is to get a conversation going about why and how these relationships happen.

What's your favorite musical? •  As I mentioned Grace is really into theatre and brings up her love of Rent a lot. For me, Wicked will always hold a special place in my heart. I saw it with the original cast and with my college roomies. For days and weeks afterward, we'd blast the soundtrack and sing along (loudly!). Even now, I can't listen to "Defying Gravity" without thinking of them.


  1. Even though I'm not a big musical fan, I loved Grace's love of them. I read this book about a month ago and I still think of it almost every day-- it's such a powerful book. Glad you liked it!!

  2. I really like that this one is a conversation starter. While it wasn't always the easiest story to read, it was definitely important that she portrayed the situation in such an honest, unflinching way.


with love,