Title & Author: Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Series Details: Standalone
Page Count: 368 pages
Description: “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.”
“When you’re a stupid girl in love, it’s almost impossible to see the red flags.”
I’m going to be straight with y’all, I have never – in all of my history of reading – related more to a fictional character than I did with the MC of this novel. Grace felt it about Whitman and I feel it about Demetrios: she “gets what it feels like to be me so hard.”
In fact, the musical-loving, NYC-obsessing, 11:11 wishing, Renthead Grace and I could practically be the same person…except for one thing. One glaringly obvious difference between my fictitious BFF and myself: I’ve thankfully never been trapped in a toxic and emotionally abusive relationship. And watching how someone I identified with so strongly – someone intelligent, funny, and kindhearted – could enter into, justify, and remain caught in a Bad Romance provided a perspective and an insight I’d formerly never understood.
When you’re raised on Disney, it’s easy to champion the HEA (happily ever after). It’s easy to grow up believing that you’ll quickly find your OTP (one true pairing) and live out the remainder of your days in a castle on the hill. Add in the rom-coms and majority of romance novels we’re fed as teenagers and it’s easy to see why – despite the obstacles or character flaws – we expect that happy ending – no matter what. As we grow older we find out the journey isn’t always so easy and is often sans an Alan Menken arrangement. Boo, hiss.
Bad Romance provides a much-needed voice by pointing out that not every relationship is salvageable or more importantly “the one.” That not every charismatic, arctic-eyed bad boy is “savable.” That sometimes the actions we’re repeatedly presented with as romantic or stemming from a place of concern are actually crazy possessive and stemming from a place of control. That sometimes you simply have to #ChooseYou.
This book gives readers a “lusciously crass” and intimately personal insight into the good, the bad, and the ugly of relationships gone wrong and I can’t recommend it enough! I’m not delving into the plot because I think it’s better to go in blind, but this book opened my eyes to a mentality I never fully understood and had a terrific balance of light vs. dark. Even though it sounds grim, there’s a lot of laughs along the way, an exit strategy, and a confidence-boosting ending that gives you a cathartic charge. Pick this up! Trust me!
P.S. I couldn’t find a way to work these in, but I needed to share some quotes that spoke to me along the way:
“How do boys do that? How do they make your whole body combust just by looking at you?”
“The pages are brittle and yellowing already, stained with the hope that bled through my finders, a new girl in a new town looking for something epic in her life.”
“Sometimes you punch walls, doors, anything to break the skin that’s holding in the demons.”
”I owe you this…” If you’ve read this book message me so we can talk about this!
“The world, I remind myself, is mine, if only I have the courage to grasp it when the opportunity is given to me.”