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Bad Romance Hardcover – June 13, 2017
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"Through Grace’s lively, engaging voice, readers gain a vivid picture of the way a smart, self-assured girl can fall into an abusive relationship . . . . Demetrios’ well-drawn characters are tremendously appealing, and Grace’s discovery of the power of her own strength will make readers cheer." ―Booklist
Praise for I'll Meet You There:
"Part coming-of-age, part romance, and part war story. Demetrios' latest is remarkable." ―Booklist, starred review
"Demetrios' latest will have a huge impact not only on YA fans, but also on booklovers of all ages. Her writing exudes raw feelings, and the characters all have strong, distinct personalities. . . . The balance between giggles and tears will keep your pulse racing till the finish." ―RT Book Reviews
"A heady, page-flipping romance.” ―Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Something Real:
“Chilling satire . . . Thought-provoking ideas wrapped in an engaging plot.” ―Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Heather Demetrios is the author of several critically acclaimed novels including Something Real and I'll Meet You There. She is a recipient of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award and has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. When she isn’t traipsing around the world or spending time in imaginary places, she lives with her husband in New York City. Originally from Los Angeles, she now calls the East Coast home.
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“Maybe the only way you really know you love someone is it they can break you with a single sentence.”
I am absolutely blown away by this novel by Heather Demetrios. It is an incredibly powerful read that I personally think everyone should pick up. I didn't go into this book expecting to like is as much as I did...in fact I was praying that it was executed better than another book I read about a year ago that had a similar theme. And this book was everything that I was wanting that other book to be. Ms. Demetrios doesn't shy away from anything and because of that there should definitely be a trigger warning on this book. However, those triggers are what make up the best (and worst) parts of this book. Let me say, there is absolutely nothing bad about this book, so when I say worst, I mean the terrible nature of events the character has to go through in this story.
“This is something else I will learn while I am with you-not now, but later: there are so many ways to drown.”
The entire book is such a vivid and emotional story told from the 2nd person POV. Normally I hate these types of books and unless it is done well, I usually DNF it. But Bad Romance grips you right from the start. The fear, anxiety, anger, and other range of emotions our narrator feels is palpable in every single word your read. There is something very evocative about Ms. Demetrios' writing and this is where the story excelled. She didn't try to wrap things up in a pretty bow and cover up the worst parts of people. Instead she explored what it truly means to be in multiple toxic relationships, ones that no one in this world should have to endure.
“This house is a prison, a suburban Alcatraz.”
Even though this story is told in 2nd person, you get into Grace's head very easily. You feel what she is feeling. You feel how suffocated she is by her town and how much she is yearning to break free. You see just how damaging unsupportive parents and a very difficult home life can be for a person, as well as how much that affects every other decision in their life. How the things she witnesses or is involved with at home truly make up how she is as a person. Ms. Demetrios even uses phrases such as "The Giant" to describe Grace's stepfather and "Contrite and Subservient Female" to describe her mother. This tells you a lot right off the bat, and I knew that this is the story that I wanted to be reading last year.
“Something in me is dimming, something that I already know I can’t get back. But you’re worth it. You are. I will tell myself this for several more months. And when I realize you aren’t worth it, it’ll be too late.”
While reading this book, your heart just breaks for Grace. Everything that is her life-- from the chaotic and torturous relationship she has with her family to the slowly worsening/complicated relationship she has with Gavin--makes things more raw and poignant. I hated her mother and stepfather, yet Ms. Demetrios shows more human sides of these characters that leave you (as well as Grace) with conflicting emotions. You start to sit and wonder, should I actually be hating these characters? Should I feel sympathy for them? And that right there is extremely powerful. Because that is the exact emotional rollercoaster that many people who are in Grace's exact position feel as well.
“When you're a stupid girl in love, it's almost impossible to see the red flags. It's so easy to pretend they're not there, to pretend everything is perfect.”
And then there's Gavin. Even though we know the only outcome is a bad outcome right from the start, as soon as we're introduced to Gavin's character we see his appeal. He has that bad-boy-who- is-a-tortured-soul personality. We see why Grace was drawn to him and his heartbreak. Grace thinks that she and Gavin are two people cut from the same cloth...both suffering in ways deeper than most people are willing to look. Grace thinks that the two of them together will be the love she has always wanted and needed in her life, and that together they can overcome anything. They will help build each other up and support each other no matter what. And here is the question of the day...who wouldn't want that? There is no doubt what she saw in Gavin. This is another area where this book excelled: it makes you understand why people can ignore the signs of/actual controlling behavior because they need the person that badly; it makes you understand how a person could feel responsible for the other's well being especially when that person's well being is threatened by themselves; it makes you understand how difficult it is to break a toxic relationship because you only realize that you are in a toxic situation much too late.
“You're a maze, all high edges and endless loops. I can't find a way out, can't see where I've been. It's all running, lost in the dark of you. Trapped. Everywhere I turn is a dead end. I keep winding up back where I've started.”
One other thing that I want to highlight about this book is the female friendships. Grace, Lys, and Nat were the perfect trio. Lys and Nat are the kinds of friends every girl should have, even though they were all so different. They were there for Grace whenever she needed them, despite the fact that Grace wasn't always there for them. They brought humor to an otherwise very dark book.
“We all wear strange armor to get through the day.”
Bad Romance is a gripping read that should be read by everyone. It explores themes that are not well discussed in literature today and gives you a very realistic insight into what it means to be surrounded by toxic people/relationships. It shows how abuse tends to be cyclical in nature, and Ms. Demetrios doesn't sugarcoat anything. The 2nd person POV gives the story an added layer of drama that worked very well for this type of story. This is an important novel for everyone, so go read it now.
Happy reading :)
A credible protagonist and familiar setting offer an honest and raw glimpse of abuse and how it can unexpectedly surface. Ingeniously narrated in 2nd person, Graces paints a vivid and insightful picture as she speaks directly to Gavin (you, the reader) about the experience of their relationship and the impact it had on her life. This perspective is not only highly effective but powerful. Each page resonates with the author’s own personal attachment to the topic.
I also want to give extra acknowledgement to the fact that the author has included invaluable resources for those who might find themselves in need of assistance by providing a list of organizations and where to seek help. This includes breakthecycle.org, where you can find additional information and resources if you or someone you know is a victim of abuse within a relationship.
Recommending this read to all young adults and teenagers or anyone who has ever directly or indirectly experienced an unhealthy relationship. *Bad Romance will contain triggers for some readers. This was definitely a welcomed and important addition to my shelves.
I really don't have much to say other then if you can get past the second person pov, and appreciate the drama theme... You will be entertained. If not, I'd pass. The only redeeming part for me was the fact that the Author's writing reached my soul many times. She had a way of wrapping words together to form beautiful, messy sentences that really hit home.
Most recent customer reviews
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