Review: Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

Title: Bad Romance
Author: Heather Demetrios
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 368 Pages
Published June 2017

Summary: 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...I just finished it, and I immediately had to write my review while I was still reeling from it and all tangled up emotionally. Because, as emotional (and even sometimes scary) as this book was...this was important. This was something that definitely needed to be said.

But I'm getting ahead of myself here. First, I'm going to explain a bit about this book before I go off rambling about all of the reasons it's so important. 

As the summary explains, Grace has a very tough home life, with a verbally abusive stepfather and a mother who sees imaginary dirt and allows it to consume her life. She spends a lot of her time being bossed around and taken advantage of, and she begins to feel invisible -- until she meets Gavin Davis, the rocker god and theater star of her high school. And then, slowly but surely, they fall in love, and Grace believes everything is perfect -- until it isn't. She finds herself in a slowly spiraling relationship with Gavin, something she can't get out of, and with each passing day, things get darker and darker, and she finds herself in a place that she isn't sure she wants to be.

This book takes you on an emotional roller coaster from start to finish, and that's what I loved so much about it. It was a bit confusing at first, since the entire piece is technically written to Gavin, so instead of saying his name, she would say things like "You used to do this" or "You said this to me." It took a little bit of getting used to, but I did, I quickly found myself enveloped in the story and unable to let go -- even staying up super late for the first time in ages because I couldn't put the book down! As the story spiraled deeper and deeper, I found myself completely shocked and appalled at the things Gavin did, and it was so heartbreaking and emotional to see how quickly things spiraled. 

My favorite characters in this story were definitely Grace's two best friends, Nat and Lys. They were Grace's voice of reason even when things got dark and she felt that she needed help -- most importantly, even in denial. It was heartwarming to see that among all this chaos, there were two girls that relentlessly stuck by Grace's side and refused to let her experience her problems alone. It made me fuzzy and warm and made me miss my best friends, who I should probably text right now, because I have to let them know that this book reminded me of how much I really love and appreciate them.

I also really liked Gideon! He was sweet and kind and funny and caring and never gave up, no matter how rocky things got. I definitely would've liked to see more of him in the end of the book, but hey, I'm glad I got what we got.

But yeah. This book is just a freaking emotional rollercoaster of thrills and horrors that had me hooked from the beginning until the very end. It was such a powerful story and I'm so grateful for the chance to have read it.

As for what I wasn't a big fan of in the book, I guess I just found it pretty frustrating that Grace was putting up with all of Gavin's shit, especially when he got super abusive and said a lot of things that really weren't okay. But I haven't ever been in a position like Grace has been before, so I can't say for sure that I would or wouldn't have made the choices she did. So there's certainly no judgement coming from me there -- it was just really frustrating and heartbreaking to see how quickly Grace was becoming a shell of her former self, in all aspects of her life -- with her friends, with Gavin, and even at home with her family. (Minor spoilers incoming, so please skip to the next paragraph if you don't want the story spoiled for you!) And when Gavin asked Grace to give up NYU? Or made those stupid rules about who she was/wasn't allowed to see? Or called her a bitch or a slut or a whore? Nuh-uh. I know that Gavin may have been a fictional character (even though Demetrios hinted that he is emblematic of her own abusive relationship that she found herself in during her youth), I wanted to reach through the book and beat the crap out of him, I was so angry. But that was the point. As an objective reader, I was able to see the things Grace maybe couldn't, and it got really frustrating from my objective standpoint. But, like I said, that was the point.

It was frustrating for a reason. The same way it's frustrating to watch someone you love fall down a rabbithole that they either refuse to acknowledge or can't even see. And it was utterly heartbreaking, but then became very, very empowering, as time went on. But you'll just have to read the book to see what I mean about that.

Overall, I really, really enjoyed Bad Romance. I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this book, but I quickly found myself enveloped in a thrilling (and terrifying) story of love, abuse, firsts, friendship, heartbreaks, and struggling to find your way in life even when things get hazy, and you find yourself in a situation that is incredibly difficult to get out of. If this book isn't on your TBR, I'd definitely recommend putting it on it, because this is a powerful story that everyone needs to read. 

(TW: Suicide, MH, depression, self-harm, sexual assault, stalking.)

I absolutely loved I'll Meet You There when I read it years ago (you can read my review by clicking here), and this is another incredibly powerful story by Heather Demetrios that shows exactly how we can find ourselves in tough situations, and how, with the help of our friends and those who care about us, we can push through and fight like hell.

1 comment

  1. Oh wow from the cover I wouldn't assume it would get that dark, but I still can't wait to read this one! Great review!


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