[ARC Review] Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow

3 Things About This Book
| Girls Dying from a ‘Curse’ | BIPOC Main Character and Queer Relationships | Unsatisfying Full-Circle Ending |

Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow
Expected Publication: 2022 by Hot Key Books
Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, LGBTQ+
Book Depository

Bad Things Happen Here is set in Parris, an island where the people living on it are well off and everything appears idyllic and perfect. However, the island is also ‘cursed’ as now and then, young women would die and the truth of their deaths never discovered. We follow Luca who is trying her best to heal from the mysterious death of her best friend, Polly, only for the ‘curse’ to suddenly claim her sister. Unwilling to let the police mark another beloved’s death as unsolved, Luca takes things into her own hands and does her best to solve her sister’s murder.

The main thing I liked about this book is the great representation. Luca is BIPOC, plus-sized and queer while Naomi, her love interest, is Asian. I also really liked the way some stereotypes were subverted. It made the characters more compelling and gave them depth that was crucial in making them more than just archetypes.

Unfortunately, despite the solid characters and the good twists, the final quarter of the book was a major let down. Though I liked that the story came to a full-circle at the end, the parts leading up to the ending lacked common sense to me. Sure, I get that Luca needed to get away from the place and that it would be pointless trying to reveal the truths, but to just up and leave without telling her parents? Her parents—both whom not long ago just buried their eldest child who was murdered, and then, witnessed the aftermath of their other child surviving another murder, only for said kid to vanish? That’s disgusting, unnecessary, selfish behavior that causes endless worry and panic to others.

But then again, it’s pretty on-brand for Luca because she is selfish. Despite her self-awareness regarding how privileged she is and the discrimination she has faced, Luca remains the same as her fellow privileged peers. Meaning: what she wants, she gets. If she wants to be bitchy, she can. Do your feelings matter to her? No, not really most of the time, because she comes first for herself. On one hand, I love that part of her. I like that she knows herself well and that she stands firmly with her own beliefs, opinions, etc. On the other hand, when it comes to situations like the one with her parents, that ‘putting herself first’ aspect just dives right into selfish category. It put a shine on Luca’s immaturity, which I guess, fits her character.

Anyway, everything considered, Bad Things Happen Here is an alright book that could’ve been better had it not been for the way it ended. If you’re a fan of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart or The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff, you might love this one too.

Thank you so much Pansing for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review! Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow will be available at all good bookstores.



2 thoughts on “[ARC Review] Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow

  1. You’re SUCH a thoughtful reviewer of thrillers! I love the way you balanced your thoughts on the character for this one––like a character who’s flawed can be written that way intentionally, but it can still interfere with the reading experience. Anyway, I always have such a hard time articulating an opinion when a book is a three star and doesn’t really land on “good” or “bad,” but you always nail it 😌

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! I quite liked how flawed the main character is here, tho that only lasted until she vanished on her parents (they weren’t bad, a bit neglectful but they tried to understand where their kid was coming from). Until now, I get mad just thinking about what she did 😅 Also, I get where you’re coming from when it comes to 3 star books! I still do struggle reviewing them, especially when I’m largely ‘meh’ about what I’ve read. I’m glad it doesn’t come off that way in my published reviews, tho!

      Liked by 1 person

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