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



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.




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…


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.


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:

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

Photo Credit:

Author: LairOfBooks

"I didn't choose the Book Life, the Book Life chose me"

27 thoughts on “Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios”

  1. Wonderful review Lilly! Bad Romance has been on my radar for the past several months. I’ve enjoyed Heather Demetrios’s previous books, and I’ve been hoping she tackled these difficult issues in a realistic and thoughtful way. As I have my own bad memories, this is going to be a tough book for me to read, but after reading your review, I’m definitely going to. I agree, it’s important to have books like this available to teens who are suffering from similar circumstances.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Kim! this was my 1st book of hers and now it has made me curious about her previous books. She def tackled this one in a very raw & realistic times I had to take breaks and calm myself down because I found myself re-living certain scenes. Only someone who has been through it could’ve written this, she absolutely nailed the cycle of abuse. I’d say pace yourself with this one especially going in having your own personal experience. We need more books like these that expose what many suffer in silence. I look forward to your thoughts then you get around to reading this one Kim ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nice, I’ll def check out your review & thank you Kim. I was blessed to have to gotten away from that relationship & even more so to have found my happy. I’m sorry to hear that you went through a similar experience, no one deserves this to be their normal 😕

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review for this book Lilly, it sounds like a powerful read and definitely a really important one for the YA genre as well. Like you said I imagine a book like this would be able to help a few people who are in relationships like the one Grace finds herself in with Gavin. I’ve never read anything by Heather Demetrios before, but I think I have one of her books on my to-read list already (she wrote I’ll Meet You There right?) so I’ll definitely be adding Bad Romance to my to-read list as well. 🙂
    Again great review Lilly! 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Beth & yes she wrote I’ll Meet You There, I’ve added it to my more more immediate TBR now that I’ve read Bad Romance. This read was tough, the toughest I’ve come across in a very long time. I do hope young adults in similar situations & even parents read this book & come away with something to give them hope for change. I look forward to your thoughts 🙂💕

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right, ahh I thought her name was familiar but wasn’t 100% sure about it. I’ll hopefully get through I’ll Meet You There soon, and then get around to Bad Romance.
        I think it’s good to see some tough books out there, tacking more subjects that clearly aren’t talked about a lot, because it’s important that things like this are talked about.
        Thanks Lilly, I’ll definitely let you know. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my gosh just grab my heart and pull with this review! I am adding this for several personal reasons. I know it will have triggers for me, but I am certain it is a journey I must take. Your review has moved me to know that you connected so personally with this ❤ I am also going to give a big shout out that they have chosen to include resources and you did the same!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Danielle! I’d only advise that you pace yourself with this one considering you’ve had personal experience with the subject matter. I sure felt it to be very heavy at times but so necessary to open the floor to discussion. Time to remove the stigma associated with dating abuse/domestic violence. I look forward to reading your thoughts on this one 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent review! I’ve been eyeing this book ever since I first heard about it since I loved her other book, and Bad Romance definitely sounds like another strong story. I can’t wait to read this one myself!

    Liked by 1 person

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