Not Just Another Bad Romance - Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios (Review)

I was on the fence in reading Bad Romance, not because I don't love Heather Demetrios (is there anything she can't do?) but because I knew this book was going to potentially break my heart. What I got was a story with so much depth and resonance that I was hardly able to put it down. I don't think you'll be able to, either. 

Having recently read Dreamland, I wasn't sure I was mentally prepared to take on another book about an abusive relationship. See, I’m 4 years out of an abusive marriage (and 16 years out of an abusive household - I identified a lot with Grace). I’ve spent 4 years trying to put my past behind me and being part of the #ChooseYou campaign (plus seeing Heather’s tweet about talking about getting out could save another) brought me back to the dealing with restraining orders and fearing for my life. Yeah.

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 assholes (who treat them like shit and make them seriously question their life choices) who they think are knights in shining armor.

Ah, knight in shining armor syndrome. Much like Gavin, my knight in shining armor came at a time in my life when I was lost and needy, wanting to be rescued from my life. In Bad Romance, Gavin steps in when Grace is in need of a rescue. She has a crappy home life with some terrible examples (That’s not love, yo). Being with Gavin becomes an escape, which he quickly takes advantage of. 

“He … said I wasn’t deep.” “What. The. Fuck?” Lys says. “Are you serious?” “He didn’t mean it in, like, a bad way.”

It starts small, right? An off handed comment that you can’t get out of your head. Over and over until you’re beat down and feel worthless. Grace didn’t start too far from there, considering her step father and mother physically and emotionally abuse her.

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 that everything is perfect.

“He didn’t mean it in, like, a bad way.” And there it is. The excuses. The fighting and the making up, so intense that how could you feel anything but deeply in love? When he’s making life altering decisions for your benefit. 

Grace’s friends were legit the best in Bad Romance. They kept it real with her and protected her when they could. They didn’t abandon her, even though she became less available as a friend. 

I can’t rave about this book enough. It’s paced so well, going through the motions of establishing the relationship in the pattern we see in most abusers. From the most special girl in the world to slowly degrading her self worth - Grace made it out but not without a few scars. In my head canon, she’s off to college with her besties. Maybe she’s found someone worth the love she has to give or maybe she’s hanging solo. Either way, I just want to see her happy.

BAD ROMANCE
by Heather Demetrios
Published: June 13th 2017
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co
Source: Publisher

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.

10 comments:

  1. This is one of those books I know I need to read, but I am not mentally prepared for yet...yet! Thanks for your review & honesty! XO

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  2. I'm a bit afraid to read this book, but I've seen it everywhere and I love the concept and have seen people mostly rave about it. I also have a bit of a personal history of an abusive relationship, where I felt very trapped and alone and like whenever I wanted out he would manipulate me into staying in this "relationship". I hate when people believe that it is easy to get out: when you're in that place, it can be the hardest thing you ever do. Luckily my one was for 1.5 years, it could have been way longer. :/ Didn't mean to just blurt that all out. It does seem better once you do talk about it and are more open about it though, as I'm sure you know. Anyway, thanks for the review! Did you have trouble disengaging from the story, or did you let yourself be placed within the narrative?

    Cass @ Words on Paper

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story and much love from one survivor to another. Your experience is valid and I am glad you are safe. <3

      I found myself identifying with her home life moreso than her relationship. My violent relationship was a different type of violence and also an adult relationship. Heather did a great job balancing a sense of hope with the reality of the relationship, plus she shared her own experience at the end of the book. It helped remind that we are not alone.

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  3. Seriously powerful review! I definitely want to read this one. I definitely think I have to be in the right mental space going into it though. It sounds pretty heavy but also incredible.

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  4. Lots of hugs to you, Christy. I didn't realize what this book was about but maybe I'll pick it up. Sounds important.

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    1. I highly recommend all things by Heather!

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  5. I just want to reach through this screen and hug you right now. Thank you for sharing. xoxo

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