Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Very Bad Things - Ilsa Madden-Mills

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Items ticked off: 21

I won't go that far into describing this one's plot. It's another story about a rich white girl with huge issues who meets hot guy who has big issues on his own. You know, the guy from the wrong side of town. It's the perfect girl who is forced to be perfect by domineering parents, but said girl isn't happy and rebels in the most stereotypical way. That pretty much sums upVery Bad Things.

Okay, so I'll say what I did like about it. Nora (rich white girl) does struggle with her issues, and they are a rather big part of the story (unlike some other New Adult fiction). There's plenty interaction that isn't focused on the romance, which is a big deal for me. That's more or less the only thing I liked about this book; that it does try to focus on something other than the romance. (Okay, to be fair, there's a lot of romance, but this one did at least try to step away from it being purely romance.)

Onto the other stuff. The usual. Slut-shaming. Blatant shaming, is the deal in this one. We have it from the hero, the hero's little brother, the heroine, and basically every character in the book. It's everything from straight out calling women sluts to judging a woman because she shows off her cleavage. The whole spectra. This seems to be required for a book to be labeled "New Adult" these days.

Nora's issues/past. While I enjoyed reading about her inner struggles with facing what happened to her in the past, I did not like how the issue was tackled when it came to events and such. The buildup comes in late in the book with a few hints in the beginning. Instead of building up to Nora facing the person who put her through everything, it's a quick flame that is put down in a few pages. The resolution to it all was a little too convenient and rushed for it to feel authentic.

Then we have the portrayal of autism. We have one autistic man who is all the stereotypes that comes with autism. You know, think Rain Man. A savant and all that. I can deal with that though, but the treatment of his character was off. He's portrayed as a child. It's not portrayed as a disability. Frankly, the treatment of his character was just embarrassing.

Last but not least, I'd like to mention Nora's character growth.

And being true meant I was not the bee champion, beauty queen, piano-playing genius my parents had shaped me into. No, I was just a simple, young girl whose love for a boy would last until the end of time.


Basically, she goes from defining herself from the frames that her parents set up for her to be a girl who's defined by another man. This kind of growth makes me uncomfortable, because it continues several themes that I hate (yup, hate). Like that a woman need a man. I would've preferred for Nora to end up reflecting on herself as a person when no one else is there to define her. Why is it so difficult to let a young woman let herself be defined by no one else than herself? I would've been happy even if she hadn't had some great revelation about herself, just ending up realizing that for the first time in her life she could create her own person and do so on her own accord. Instead, Very Bad Things ends on a sour note that doesn't really make me believe that Nora has grown as a person.