ARC Review: Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven

Thursday, 8 January 2015

24059456Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven
Released: 1st January 2015
Series: Starcrossed #1
Published by: Pan Macmillan
Genre: NA Contemporary
Source: Publisher
Pages: 416
My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Goodreads | Bookworld | Book Depository
While performing the greatest love story of all time, they discovered one of their own . . .

Cassie Taylor was just another good girl acting student. Ethan Holt was the bad boy on campus. Then one fated casting choice for Romeo and Juliet changed it all. Like the characters they were playing onstage, Cassie and Ethan's epic romance seemed destined. Until it ended in tragedy when he shattered her heart. Now they've made it to Broadway where they're reunited as romantic leads once again - and their passionate scenes force them to confront the heartbreaking lows and pulse-pounding highs of their intense college affair.

For Ethan, losing Cassie was his biggest regret-and he's determined to redeem himself. But for Cassie, even though Ethan was her first and only great love, he hurt her too much to ever be trusted again. The trouble is, when it comes to love, sometimes it's the things that aren't good for us that are the most irresistible.

Don't miss the intoxicating romance beloved by more than two million fans online.
Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Before you even begin to start this book, you may as well know that it pretty much is based on:

And lots of it, people. Be prepared.

I don't read a lot of NA, but the ones that I have tried out have either been really good, really annoying or something in between. Bad Romeo is that in-between, but verging on the more enjoyable side. Filled with witty banter, intense situations and one of the most dysfunctional relationships I have ever come across, even now I'm still not completely sure whether I ship Cassie and Ethan or not.

There was an undeniable something between the two of them when they first met auditioning for The Grove - an elite arts college. Quintessentially Ethan Holt is the shockingly hot and brooding, tall/dark/handsome package that Cassie can't help but notice - and from there is where everything first starts. 

I didn't warm to him at first, and though their relationship seemed to have a whole lot of chemistry on the surface, Ethan was a jerk from the beginning - and continued to be for a whole while longer. One minute, he was really into Cassie and wanted to make things work, while the next he didn't want anything to do with her and was pushing her away. Cassie had her moments of resistance, but inevitably she fell for him every time. Or they fell for each other. Whichever way you look at it. 

The story goes back and forwards in time which was interesting, especially as in the beginning you know how their relationship was beginning in the present day, before going back six years to their time studying as drama students. It was good to get the background info into what had happened between the fated pair, and see how they coped with their highs and lows. Scattered alongside this rollercoaster of a romance was some detail into the secondary characters such as Cassie's roommate Ruby and Ethan's parents. The theatrical details themselves in their classes was fascinating to read about, which broke up the intensity of the storyline in some places. 

Cassie began as the 'good girl' who hadn't ever truly stepped out of line morally, until Ethan came along. From then on she became a lot more...forward with her actions and what she wanted physically out of the relationship. She's no conventional inexperienced female lead for sure, though at times she did seem desperate and hanging onto Ethan's every word - even when it was obvious things weren't going to go her way right then. I don't by any means think that this is a 'deep and meaningful' novel, but I do wish that their relationship was based on more than just the physical side, and had a deeper emotional connection that was sustainable (then again that would have saved them a lot of problems). That being said, Ethan isn't all bad, and I did see some positive character development in him which seemed genuinely sincere. By the end there was somewhat of a resolution, though there is definitely room for the sequel Bad Juliet. 


This is no 'Romeo and Juliet' retelling, but a raw story of two people who are trying against all odds and their own barriers to make the relationship work. Although I may have had my qualms with it, I finished this book in record time - there's something about Rayven's writing style that is subtly addictive. She's definitely an author to watch in the genre, and I'm curious to see what she comes up with in the next book.


  1. TBH I'm not a huge fan of the title lol--reminds me of a bad NA romance--but I'm glad that it was actually a pretty good NA contemporary! I don't read much from that genre because all of it seems so generic and and the themes are probably too mature for lil' ole' me :P This one actually does sound really good though!

    Fantastic review as always, love <33

    1. Thanks Mel :) I still like my NA a little more Colleen Hoover/Ginger Scott style that's a bit more emotional, but this one was pretty good as something with a bit more banter.


Feel free to leave a comment below - I love reading them!