Bad Romance

368p. Holt. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781627797726. POP
Gr 10 Up–As Grace's junior year begins, she is in survival mode. She just has to keep her head down at home, work hard to save money for college applications, and maintain high grades to qualify for scholarships. Grace wants out of high school, out of her dysfunctional home with her dominating stepfather, and out of her small California town. She hangs with the drama crowd and prefers to direct or act as stage manager. All of those plans go out the window, though, when Gavin, the most talented and charming senior in school, notices her. Sure, he tried to kill himself when his last girlfriend broke things off, but he is practically a legend. Grace savors the attention, both from Gavin and everyone who notices them together. However, Gavin's dark side is about to rear its ugly head. Before Grace knows it, she is swept up in a too-serious, constricting relationship. Now, all her dreams seem to be slipping out of her grasp as she realizes that the perfect relationship she dreamed of is twisting out of control. Gavin needs serious help, and Grace needs out of the relationship. This dark story is best suited for older high school readers. Pop culture references are plentiful, and the author expertly conveys the suffocating feeling of life in a dysfunctional family and the longing of teens to be on their own.
VERDICT Sure to circulate in high school libraries and teen collections.

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