This was a really hard book to read. I knew it would be about a toxic relationship going in, but I didn't know how intense it would be.

Hello everyone! 

I am back with another book review, today it is Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios. Thank you so much to Raincoast Books for providing me with an e-ARC of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.

The story follows seventeen-year-old Grace through her junior and senior years of high school. She'd been crushing on Gavin for a while and when his girlfriend, Summer, broke up with him, she couldn't believe her luck, especially when he told her that her note was the only thing that got him going after his suicide attempt after the breakup. After living for years with an emotionally and physically abusive stepfather and a mother who is too exhausted to stand up to it, Grace thinks that Gavin is her salvation. But Gavin quickly becomes possessive and demanding, brushing it off like he just loves her too much to lose her and threatening to take his life again if she leaves.

This is the third book by Demetrios and the third one I've read by her - I think it is a new favourite of hers. That feels weird saying about a book that is so dark and hopeless.

Just to preface this review, I've never been in a situation like the one Grace experiences, both with Gavin and with her home life and I hope I never do. While these events seem accurate in this representation, I cannot speak to the validity of them. I know from the author's note at the end that Demetrios experienced her own relationship with her own Gavin so I tend to think there is a fair bit of accuracy there.

Ok, now the book. I really don't know where to start. I think I am still processing it all.

The story is written kind of in second person? Or I suppose it's first person addressed to a second person? Basically, it is Grace talking to Gavin by saying things like "I looked over and you were there." It took me a bit to get used to this sort of style of writing because it is not one I see a lot. But I think it worked really well with the storyline. Gavin really messes with Grace's head and we are able to see that from the perspective of being in her head for the whole story.

I know that with books that are deeper and a bit more, I guess raw, while the hopelessness is a major part of the book's feelings, it is important to have hope. I think Demetrios crafted this aspect quite well. She doesn't bring the hope until the end, but by having Grace recount the story, we are aware of the perspective she has after everything happened and that in the end, she saw what was going on.

That's another aspect I liked about this book, I think Demetrios did a great job of showing Grace's struggles with her feelings toward Gavin. Because while I've never been in that situation, I would imagine it would something like what Grace experiences. Love and doubt, anger and happiness, she doesn't know what she's feeling, she just knows she's feeling something. She'll get mad at Gavin and retract. There are times when she recognizes that what he is saying or doing is wrong but she talks herself out of leaving or doing something. Demetrios did a good job of portraying both Grace and her mother as women who are aware of what they are being subjected to but feel powerless to do anything. I was worried that Grace would be so blinded by love that she wouldn't be able to recognize what Gavin was doing to her - but she does, she just can't get out.

I loved the support system Grace had with her friends Lys and Nat. I think Grace would have gone down a much darker path if they weren't there telling her things weren't supposed to be like that, he shouldn't talk to her like that, etc. Their friendship was really great and helped lighten up a very dark story. I can't even imagine what would have happened if they weren't there to step in and help Grace.

Overall, this was a very emotional book but well worth the read, highly recommend.