Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

29102896Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

Publisher: Macmillan

Publication Date: June 13th, 2017

Genre: YA Contemporary

Pages: 368 pages

Format: eGalley (Netgalley)

Rating: ★★★★ (4 Stars)

 

*Trigger Warning: Domestic Violence, Mental/physical/verbal abuse, attempted suicide, and rape

 

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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.

MY FIRST IMPRESSIONS ON GOODREADS…

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Bad Romance is one of those books that will remain within me for years to come as a reminder of what could’ve been had I continued in my own toxic relationship. This book resonated with me for personal reasons but also stood out amongst all the Young Adult Contemporaries I’ve read so far in 2017. This isn’t a easy fluffy summer time read however, it is a much needed one. Bad Romance can be used as a conversation starter within the Young Adult community & help bridge gaps between Young Adults and their parents. Demetrios gives us Grace who is 17 going on 18 in High School with BIG dreams of one day living an artsy bohemian life in New York City. She lives with her mother, step-father, and baby brother from her mothers re-marriage. Life isn’t at all easy for Grace who doesn’t live a typical teenage life. She lives in a abusive home where toxic behaviors are what she’s come to view as normal. Told in second person POV, Grace is observing the changes in her relationship with her mother as her mother slowly becomes unhinged. See, Grace’s mother herself is the victim of verbal, mental, and physical abuse (implied) at the hands of her husband. Demtrios shows us a mother trying to keep her new family together while she teeters on the verge of a mental breakdown. Grace on the other hand has just caught the attention of the most popular guy in school who she knows comes with his own baggage. From the 1st compliment to the 1st date & what eventually leads to a volatile relationship, we the reader are taken on the slow progression that is Grace & Gavin’s own toxic relationship. Gavin knows just what to say at all times & just how to get his way. From afar he seems like the perfect boyfriend but when we start this story, it is with the knowledge Grace has already learned the hard way. She shows us how easy it was to fall for someone who was already broken when all you’ve known all your life is abuse…

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Center stage we have Grace & Gavin but this is a story where the supporting character roles are all equally as important. The Grace we meet on page 1 already knows how everything unfolds since it’s told in second person POV. We get to see her regrets and the view she gives us can best be described as removing the rose colored glasses. Grace is just trying to get to graduation so that she can start her new life as a college student far away from her toxic home life. This means she’s learned how to deal with her mothers OCD as best she could & has learned to be submissive to avoid confrontation. Her relationship with her mother plays out on the pages giving you perspective on the cycle of abuse Grace is caught in through no fault of her own. We meet the step dad & he’s no easy pill to swallow which makes your heart break even more so for Grace’s mom.

Somehow, In the past five years, that mom disappeared. Little by little, she floated away, a leaf on the breeze. Now, the air between us is heavy; it’s been too long since we’ve laughed together, talked. How do you relearn love?

Gavin almost seems like a savior when Grace first meets him. She is aware of his troubled past & his failed suicide attempt yet that doesn’t keep her away, it actually serves to lure her in. She admires his resolve and rocker lifestyle but most of all it’s the attention he provides her with that she holds on to. For a girl like Grace who already feels invisible at home except for when she’s needed to scrub the floors or babysit, this new attention became a drug. Gavin himself suffers with depression, anxiety, and paranoia. There isn’t a moment that goes by that he isn’t thinking, living, breathing Grace.

We also meet Nat & Lys who are best friends with Grace, these girls are the true definition of friendship. They know their girl is in a toxic abusive relationship and encourage her to leave that behind every chance they get. They don’t ever leave her side but they also don’t sugar coat anything & didn’t enable her to continue on with Gavin. This friendship was the sunshine in Graces’ very dark, turbulent, and abusive life. I kept hope alive for all of these characters & found myself relating to Grace but ultimately accepting that just like my own toxic relationship with my mother, some things are left unresolved. These characters are heavily flawed & rough around the edges, their pain often times jumping off the pages.

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I’ve never read a book like Bad Romance and I was absolutely caught off guard, this book  brought back memories of a past life. I can’t help but think that if this book had been written back then, that maybe I would have found solace in its pages. I was that young adult in a toxic relationship trying to escape my real issues at home with my own mother. This won’t be an easy read & that’s why I decided to include trigger warnings in this review. Emotionally draining, heartbreaking, and flinchingly honest, Demetrios gives you the ugly raw insides of abusive relationships. Inspired by the authors personal experience, Bad Romance is as real as it gets. Demtrios tackles topics that are more often than not kept hidden in shame & suffered alone. As tough as it was to read this book, I can’t deny that it was because I saw myself in these pages. I’ll be looking out for more from this author and others, especially writing that exposes the ugly in order to start the healing. This is not a story with a happy ending, this is a story with hope & a message for those who may or may not be ready to receive it…

In the Authors Note, Demtrios provided some helpful organizations & I’ve decided to also include them in my review:

Dayoneny.org

Breakthecycle.org

Nomore.org

*HUGE thanks to Macmillan/Henry Holt & Co., Netgalley & Heather Demetrios for the eGalley copy of Bad Romance, all opinions are my own.

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Photo Credit: http://www.healthycellsmagazine.com/articles/when-teenagers-dating-violence-and-abuse

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1 Year Q&A: Answers Post Part I & Giveaway Winner Announced

LairOfBooks turned 1 earlier this week & I decided to celebrate with a little Q&A/Giveaway. I really wasn’t expecting the turnout but I’m so happy to see my faves join in on the fun! The questions vary & if your question was similar to another, I went ahead & grouped them together so as to not make this longer than it will probably be. I did end up having to break this post up into 2 parts due to the length, many of you submitted multiple questions & I really wanted to answer them all w/out carrying on for too long lol. I apologize for the delay in winner announcement as I was set to announce on Sunday. My weekend didn’t turn out as expected & instead I’ve been running around non-stop.

THE WINNER OF MY GIVEAWAY IS *Sheila E. DRUM ROLL*

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Beth @ ReadingEveryNight !!!!

*I will be reaching out to Beth to exchange address info & book selection this afternoon*

&&& Now, for my answers where I reveal just how much of an oddball I really am haha! grab your beverage of choice/fave snack & settle in for the what I promise will be an entertaining read 😉

Bloggers/Readers Asked & I answered…

Ishita- book blogger (@bookmyopia)

Q: W.r.t intersectional diversity, what kind of marginalized groups would you like to see represented in books a lot more?

A: Ishita, I had to REALLY think about this one because it’s SUPER important! I would love to see more Afro-Latinx LGBTQIA+ representation in books across all genres. Wonderful question 😉


Jackie @ toomuchofabooknerd

Q: What was your favourite book as a kid (if you remember)?

A: I have 2 that I couldn’t possibly choose between. Charlottes Web & Alice In Wonderland. Alice in Wonderland was a cassette tape I found in my McDonalds Happy Meal as a kid & I played it non-stop till I memorized the book start to finish. This is when I began my obsession with Cheshire 😉


Debby @alwaysbooking

Q: If you had to pick book boyfriends for your closest blogging friends i.e. Danielle, Gretchen, me and whoever else lol Who would they be and why????? LOL

A: Ok after much debate haha! I’d pair Gretchen with Rhys/ACOTAR, Debby with Azriel/ACOTAR, and Danielle with everyone’s dream man *drum roll* Jon Snow *heart eyes* as for my reasons…they’d kill me if it were any other way LOL!


Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads

Q: what’s your favorite diverse book that you’ve read so far this year?

A: Fave diverse book?!?! that’s a tough one with so many great ones so far but…The Hate U Give & The Upside of Unrequited

Q: What’s the most challenging part of blogging for you?

A: The most challenging part of blogging for me has been balancing my very limited time btwn reading, blogging and blog hopping. It’s not easy but I basically take advantage of down time as much as possible whenever possible (bathroom counts lol)


kmbooks24

Q: What is the one book (or series, I’m not that cruel haha!) that you love to read over and over?

A: sadly I am not a re-read type of gal just because SO MANY BOOKS! right?!?! haha! however, I have been eyeing December for my very 1st Harry Potter re-read with my hubby. It’s time to revisit the books that are sort responsible for our relationship ❤


Gretchen ChicNerdReads AKA MY TWIN!

Q: is there a book that helped you through a hard time? if yes, what book?

A: time to get a bit personal, my book didn’t help me get through a hard time but it helped me better understand a hard time. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. I wasn’t expecting the message in this book but when I received it, I realized it touched on feelings of grief I was burying deep for my dad.

Q: if you could vacation with one character, who would it be? and why?

A: Hands down, Magnus Bane! especially now that I know what happened in Peru (gotcha thinking ehh Twin?!?!). He’s well traveled & I’m pretty sure he’d know ALL the great spots to have fun 🙂

Q: who’s an author you feel like you can never get tired of?

A: Adam Silvera and it’s so odd because his books all pull on your heart strings til’ your a blubbering mess reaching out for the nearest tissue box. The thing is, his characters are so relatable, complex, and so fleshed out that I end up getting attached to them. I can’t get enough of his writing.


Annie @TheMisstery

Q: What is your favorite cliché in books?

A: Bahhha! the brooding & mysterious loner (might wear a leather jacket & ride a bike) who YOU KNOW! has a heart of gold beneath all that sadness lol smh *hides under a rock*


Danielle Books, Vertigo and Tea

Q: Name one gulity pleasure you have when it comes to reading (i.e. I love dark family secrets – VC Andrews).

A: that’s a good one Danielle, I auto thought of The Roanoke Girls. Mine would have to be unreliable narrators. The more complex & effed up, the more interested I get lol. I’ve been saving Girl On the Train for the perfect day, soon as I heard main protog is an alcoholic who spies on a couple I ran for it 😂

Q: Do you have any embarrassing stories centered around books?

A: well most recently I moved (as you already know lol) & that meant packing up all of my book babies. When the moving company arrived, all was packed up & ready to go only they couldn’t move my GINORMOUS box of books. They stood there talking in Spanish (my 2nd language), wondering what could possibly be in that box. Don’t believe they thought I understood them & tbh when they ended up having to get more guys just to get the box on a trolley, I wasn’t going to let them know I understood or what was in my box 🙈📚🙈

Q: Please share one thing about yourself that you are pretty certain the blogging community does not know.

A: I’m as much of a movie buff now as I am a book reader. When I was 20 yrs old I got a job working at BlockBuster…at the time my dream job list was limited to B&N or BlockBuster so this was a dream come true lol. Strict parents never let me go to the theatre so once I started working, I made full use of their employee product knowledge program 😂 Every Tuesday (like in the book world) was new release day, this was like my bday every week 😂 I still have a ton of oldies but goodies to watch (Independence Day & The Green Mile). I have not watched Forrest Gump & yes many references do fly over my head 🤷🏻‍♀️


Stephanie @betweenfoldedpages

 Q: How do you keep up with reading and normal life?

A: I’m still figuring this one out lol, I do have a lax office job which frees me up to blog a bit during down time. Reading I do on my lengthy (1+ hour each way) commute to & from work. This is the reason why I don’t have a set blogging schedule & probably why this post is going up late. I blog on the go, currently answering these questions @ a BBQ 😂


Ashley @insidemylibrarymind

 Q: What’s the best and what’s the hardest thing about blogging for you?

A: The best part is always having someone to talk or vent about a book with. The book community is seriously around the clock lol. I’ve made a handful of good friends that have turned into friends outside of the blogosphere to be thankful for 💕

The hardest part is time or lack thereof really, I’m a on-the-go blogger most of the time. There are some things that I can’t do on the go though like graphics/images.


Sofii @ABookAThought

 Q: If you would have to read the same book forever, what would it be?

A: Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire; for some it may be their least favorite but the Triwizard Tournament is my all time favorite ❤️


Beth @ ReadingEveryNight 

Q: Do you have any exciting plans for the next year of blogging on Lair of Books?

A: finding my voice as far as discussion post is something I struggle with. The next year will see me trying out topics & also including some of my other loves like movies & tv shows. The blog will still be about my love for books but with a touch of my other pass times 😉

Q: What has been your proudest moment so far as a blogger (apart from reaching your one year blogiversary)?

A: I’m gonna go with de-bunking the 6 month age old ARC rule…you know, the one that states you can’t request/approved for ARCS before your blog is at least 6 months old.

Q: What book were you the most excited for this year that didn’t live up to your expectations?

A: Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis (review here)

Q: What book are you the most excited for still to be released?

A: Tough because so many of the books I was highly anticipating have been released over the past couple of months. However, I am serious about getting my copy of When Dimple Met Rishi this coming Tuesday. Serious enough to order it for p/u at the nearest B&N near my hubby’s job since I work in what some consider a desert -_-

Q: What book was the best discovery you made through blogging?

A: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, this book is close to my heart for many reasons. As a mother of two bi-racial tiny humans, my biggest fear is what took place in this book. Nevertheless, I needed to read this book to add to the perspective I have gained by being married to a African American man.

Q:  If you could visit one place; real or fictional, what would it be?

A: I mean c’mon, this Potter head wouldn’t pass on a trip to Hogsmeade/Howarts ANY place really in the Potterverse lol 😉


Mistysbookspace

 Q: Have you read any diverse books about physical disabilities? If so, can you recommend some?

A: The only book I’ve read with physical disabilities was Me and You by JoJo Moyes and that I’ve since relaized, was not good representation. Unfortunately, I haven’t come across any others but I would love some recommendations myself. If you happen to come across any good ones please share 😉

Q: What one piece of advice would you give to up and coming bloggers?

A: Let your personality shine through your blog so that when reading your blog, there’s no doubt in anyones mind who wrote it. Whether it’s reviews, memes, tags, or discussions posts…if you’re having fun blogging, everyone will notice & are more likely to return <3!

Q: Do you have any pets? If so, pictures please!!

A: I don’t anymore. I recently had my Shitzu Lexi of 15 years pass away. She was mine for many years & when I couldn’t take her with me to my new place, she became my mom’s best friend. TBH Lexi wasn’t anyones really, she was very proud & independent. I never saw her as a dog but rather, a close & beloved member of my family. My kids & hubby really want a dog & later down the road I would love to open my door to a new furry friend 😉

Q: What is one book you would recommend everybody reading?

A: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, it may not be a comfortable read for a lot of readers but it’s a necessary & relevant one. I hope it makes its way into classrooms soon *fingers crossed*

Stay tuned for Part II…