Book Review – Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

by Maryse on October 1, 2017 · 9 comments

in My Book Reviews

Bad Romance
*ooooooof!* 4.5 stars. I pretty much highlighted this WHOLE book. It’s eloquent, existential and I am hurting… but it’s Tasha’s hurt that hooked me into this one.

And now I have my own pain to deal with.

Tasha: Bad Romance- really, really good. Definitely heavy triggers for me as I’ve been there before. The beginning and on, I really could see the falling and love and how easy it was to fall into the trap. I’m halfway now and the fighting has really started and because I’m older and wiser and this one scene is so obvious to anyone how unhealthy it is- I just want to shake them. Shake em both. I need to take a little break bc it’s making me tense. Lol, Off to make supper.. ….I haven’t read a book this long in one day in I don’t know how long. Their drama and tension has exhausted me and I myself need a break from this couple. It’s all very realistic, I think, but any bad relationship takes its toll on all parties, right?

Amy: I clicked Bad Romance before looking at the price, and I considered returning it but… *shrug* It has a hauntingly beautiful cover and intriguing blurb (plus Tasha’s reaction) so it’s going to be a keeper for me!

Maryse: OH MY!!!! Bad Romance is going to be mine. HOLY MOLY how did I miss THAT one? Thank you Tasha!!!

Maryse: So…. I don’t even care about the price. I just totally one-clicked “Bad Romance”. This is the ONLY thing I’m in the mood to read right now, so I just had to… let myself. ;) So Amy, if you wanna buddy-read with me, I’m going in. :D

Amy: I’M IN!!!! Maryse, I am SO in!! I have nothing planned for tonight but reading and blankies and fuzzy socks and a fluffy robe and hot tea, and Bad Romance sounds PERFECT.

Tasha: Omgoodness I’m so excited you guys are reading this!! I felt the narration was a little similar to You by Caroline Kepnes, which was cool. But, you drama lovers are in for a treat! Beware: you will feel just as suffocated as I did and want your space too, just like I did. I told my Mom it’s just like all my bad relationships and I just wanna break too! Definitely not for readers who like a strong, independent heroine. Which, I totally love too, but I also understand her and knew it would be a “bad romance” going in.

Maryse: OMG THIS BOOK!!!!!!! I am SOOOOOO HOOKED. And my heart is in my throat and my blood runs cold sometimes…  “I gave you my heart on a silver f**king platter and you ate it, piece by bloody piece.”

Amy: Oh, and Bad Romance…this book is just EVERYTHING I needed right now. Every emotion. Every heart clench. Every gut punch. Every reminder of how I was in high school and the relief I’m no longer that way. *says a quick thank-you prayer for hubby*

What is affecting me the most is how I will be right there with Grace, feeling all lovey-dovey and swooning over Gavin and his actions and words, and then she will throw in a line which drives a javelin through my gut to remind me how painful things are going to be soon. I KNOW this paragraph from very early on in the book was intentional:

“By the time the credits are rolling, half the class is pretending not to cry as Romeo and Juliet lie dead. It’s like, we knew it was going to end badly but, even so, it guts us to watch it happen.”

BOOM.

Talon: It’s an incredible book.

How to review this? I hated it. And yet,  I couldn’t put it down, and I could connect to every single thing the heroine was experiencing, no matter what my head was telling me.

My heart was involved too (in more ways than one). I got her. I swooned with her. I trembled with her. I was as confused as she was. And I cried with her.

You’re a maze, all high hedges 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.

But here’s the kicker. I cried with him, too. Gah!!! My heart aches so much… even now, for all of it. For them. Because these heartbroken, broken people exist. I know a few, in fact.

That was some HEAVY subject matter, and I am EXHAUSTED, and yet as hard as it was on me, I could not put it down. This was one that I one-clicked on recommendation  (and blurb) alone, despite my trepidation, and that I could NOT put down. It was hard on me, I was incensed and frustrated, and discouraged, and yet… I was encouraged to continue. I wanted that HEA… however it had to “be”. Even if it wasn’t in the traditional sense. And this one could go ANY way.

I want to reflect. I want to go back through us piece by piece. I want to remember why I was so ooey-gooey crazy in love with you. I want to know why it’s taken me this long to figure out that you’re poison.

This is one of those.

My whole life is about peace, and just…. letting things go. Live and let live. We don’t all have the same principles and priorities. We don’t all agree with that’s acceptable and unacceptable. We don’t all see love… and abuse in the same ways. Although I wish we would.

This book? It makes you question everything – even if your logical self knows better.

It is … almost…  unconditional love (you’ll see why I say that). It is absolute anti-trust. It was one of the hardest, emotionally abusive books I’ve ever read (and I’ve read others in the same vein that killed me equally). Mind you…physical abuse in this one is minimal (and not by those you’d expect – you’ll see what I mean).

I’ve seen stuff… i.e.: surveillance videos that, (one in particular) to this day, gives me nightmares. Haunts me and horrifies me and that I wish I had never seen. It has become a part of me, even if it wasn’t me. This story isn’t one of those (at least not to that extent), and how thankful I am. I took a chance thinking it would go there. What I remember in my head, what I was terrified to experience again. HELL.

It did not. That doesn’t mean that the abuse isn’t as controlling. Terrifying and ominous as hell. It is.

And I don’t doubt that every abused person that has feared for their life hasn’t heard these exact words (pleas… threats). Those exact bully-reactions before they were put in those life-threatening situations. When it comes to a person’s mental instability… anything goes. So the comfort factor? It’s not here.

This is not a heartwarming love story. But it is a love story nonetheless.

So what’s it about?

One of your worst nightmares. Whether it’s about your daughter… or whether you’ve lived it, or known someone that has lived it, themselves. I believe the author that wrote this, KNOWS this. This story is as realistic as it gets.

If I were writing a musical about us, I wouldn’t start where we’re at right now, at the end. I would want the audience to really get how I was able to fall for you hook, line, and sinker. Girls don’t fall in love with manipulative assholes who treat them like shit and make them seriously question their life choices. They fall in love with manipulative a$$holes (who treat them like shit and make them seriously question their life choices) who they think are knights in shining armor.

Grace has been crushing on the high school bad boy (almost rock star) for years. As has everyone else.

You’ve got this halo of cool that makes people want to bow at your feet, light a candle. Saint Gavin. You leave stars in your wake. Whenever you walk by, I swear sparks fly off you. The air crackles. Sizzles. You steal all the oxygen so that I’m left gasping for breath, panting. In heat.

But when he almost succeeds in a suicide attempt after a painful breakup with his girlfriend, she reaches out to him. And he reaches back. And they connect to the very depths of their souls. Slow burn and loving patience? Yes. But that does’t make him any more honorable.

I will later hear that Summer had broken up with you, that you’d gone to her house and sobbed on her front porch and said you would do it, you’d kill yourself. And she kept that door closed on you anyway. It will take me a long time— over a year— to see that her dumping you was an act of bravery.

She’s been living her abusive hell at home with an emotionally negligent OCD mother, and mentally (and at times, threateningly physically abusive) stepfather. She’s basically their slave. Excessive chores keep piling up, with extremely restricted social activities and a job, along with high school (and pre-college) obligations. Grace barely has a life. Let alone, a social one. But that doesn’t keep her heart from wishing for more. Wishing for someone to love her. To save her from her lifelong distress.

I play this role of the beaten-down, cowed girl because I’m scared. Terrified, really. What little freedom I have is like a delicate piece of blown glass. The slightest push can make it shatter into a thousand million pieces. It wasn’t always like this. Before my mom married The Giant, there was laughter in our house, random dance parties, adventures. Not anymore. I live in a kingdom ruled by a tyrant bent on my destruction.

And then there’s Gavin. Every girls’s dream and the most popular boy in school. Her… almost hero. But he has his own issues that she has yet to discover.

As sweet and heart warming as the whole first half of the book is (and it IS)

…right now, a boy is staring at me from the end of the hall and even though he doesn’t say a word, he’s claimed me. I’m new territory and you’ve planted your flag.

…because they are, at first, perfect together, things change. His reactions to her life… her regular guy friends, to her girl friends, to her NORMAL high-school events, to her future aspirations… are put into question.

I want to stay in this moment, suspended forever. I don’t know yet that this tenderness between us will be impossible by the end. I have no idea how much you will hurt me.

And as much as she tries to accept his reasoning (sometimes I found MYSELF accepting his logic), no matter how much she bends, he asks for more. And it’s never enough.

Ugh.

God Gavin. WHY??????? Why can’t you just love, and let yourself BE loved? WHY?????? When YOU say the woman that loved you “betrayed you” (when she found someone else)… PLEASE. Please contemplate why this happened. How can you be so perfect and so scary at the same time? How could any person accept this in their own lives??? How can you not understand the terror in that? Deep down, you KNOW how you are. You’ve said so yourself in subtle, yet obvious ways.

You are the most perfect love in almost every way (protective, incredibly affectionate, loving, supportive… at times, even heroic), and then… fear and jealousy take over, and you become a most horrifying monster.

The one everyone tells us to RUN from. That’s you, Gavin. You broke our hearts. Over and over again.

And when you’d admit your over-reactions, and accept your illogical thoughts, and beg her to love you back, assuring that you’d try to be better, letting her know that you didn’t mean those terrible things you said…. you’d tear our hearts out again. Again. And again. You ruined it.

But you didn’t mean it, did you, Gavin? And yet, we can’t ever forget. You are hell on earth. And we don’t understand why. How can you be both the love of her life, and her own personal hell? How can this be?

You’re protective and sweet and I love you for everything you said and did. Why can’t you be this Gavin all the time?

4.5 stars <— I’m so sad. Discouraged. Enlightened. Uplifted. This love story hurts. And yet it’s real. I know a few that have lived it.

P.S. I one-clicked this one on my very own, despite the cost… It’s expensive for an ebook. I know it is. But it’s important. It’s real. And I just had to live it for myself. I loved it, despite hating it.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Leslie M October 2, 2017 at 5:45 AM

Maryse, this sounds intense.

It makes me think of Rebecca Donovan’s The Breathing Series. I would highly recommed that one for those that like the rip-your-heart-out angsty tear jerkers.

Carly Heath October 2, 2017 at 7:27 AM

I want to read this so so bad! But……Spawn two is cooking away, I’m too hormonal. Or am I? I know I’m definitely scared to read it. Decisions decisions. Maybe I’ll just buy it incase

bev October 2, 2017 at 10:35 AM

Don’t you love the way she writes? Like you can see it and smell it?
I loved how she portrayed a small town in I’ll Meet You There, not the idyllic type. How some need to leave and others want to stay. That though a choice is not for you it is for the person who made it. Gah. It was so good. I need to read this one when I can handle a darker and heavier read.

Maryse October 2, 2017 at 10:59 AM

She is AMAZING bev. Her writing is incredible and I highlighted the whole book. LOL!

Tasha J October 2, 2017 at 2:10 PM

Love your review! You have such a great way with words, I felt like I experienced it all over again!

Amy October 3, 2017 at 11:26 AM

Exhausted is right. Physically from staying up too late reading it and emotionally from living their relationship right along with them. And I felt for BOTH of them. I ached for her over the sh!t hand she was dealt with her sorry excuse for a family and for him over the sh!t hand HE was dealt with the emotional issues. I hated what he did at times but never hated HIM.

And I cried. Oh yes, I cried. There was no way I couldn’t during some of those scenes.

Amy October 3, 2017 at 11:28 AM

bev…I remember I’ll Meet You There! That one wasn’t intense and heavy like this one, but it was emotional and wonderful all the same.

Maryse October 3, 2017 at 11:37 AM

Thank you Tasha!! And thank you so much for bringing it to our attention. Once I read that blurb and your reactions, I couldn’t get it off my mind. That was ALL I was in the mood for.

Maryse October 3, 2017 at 11:38 AM

Yeah Amy… ugh… he was so sweet and heroic, and caring and totally in love, but he’d just LOSE it toooooo much. Hurts.

And then her awful family. Ugh her mother infuriated me. I LOVED HIS parents though.

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