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Thursday, 12 June 2014

Review: Very Bad Things (Briarcrest Academy #1) by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Published September 9th 2013 by Little Dove Publishing
From: Net Galley
Rating: 4 out of 5



Born into a life of privilege and secrets, Nora Blakely has everything any nineteen-year-old girl could desire. She’s an accomplished pianist, a Texas beauty queen, and on her way to Princeton after high school. She’s perfect...

Leaving behind her million-dollar mansion and Jimmy Choos, she becomes a girl hell-bent on pushing the limits with alcohol, drugs, and meaningless sex. 

Then she meets her soulmate. But he doesn’t want her.

When it comes to girls, twenty-five-year-old Leo Tate has one rule: never fall in love. His gym and his brother are all he cares about... until he meets Nora. He resists the pull of their attraction, hung up on their six year age difference.

As they struggle to stay away from each other, secrets will be revealed, tempers will flare, and hearts will be broken.

Welcome to Briarcrest Academy... where sometimes, the best things in life are Very Bad Things.



I lost a lot of sleep by reading this book. It kept me up until well after 3am this morning. Does that mean its good? Well, for the most part, yes.

We're brought into Nora's world very abruptly. Early on we begin to see the relationship between Nora and her mother. How patronising the woman is, and completely uninterested in Nora in any way, shape or form, other than a walking human doll to dress up and tell how to act. And then Nora did what she did and blew me out of the water.

We get introduced to Leo at this point. Leo is a lot older than Nora. When it began I did have this skeevy feeling because of the age gap. I thought it wrong. But gradually as the story continued this didn't bother me.

Nora and Leo DO have an insta-lust thing going on from the start but it doesn't amount to much when Leo puts the brakes on any kind of relationship happening between them other than friendship. As we continue through Nora's days and weeks we see a side of her character actually bloom. The freedom of getting over her guilt (her step-brother did a terrible thing to her) and her mother's denial of the incident. 

One thing that stood out to me when I finished was that Leo was entirely right to stay away from Nora in the beginning. Nora grows leaps and bounds in this book. Almost like going through the stages of grief. Finally at the end she becomes someone else. Someone who is well grounded, someone who has a family as such who help her and nurture her, someone who has learnt by her mistakes. 

 I loved the romance, the will-they-won't-they. I loved how Nora and Leo became this 'entity' even before they became a couple. There were moments when I thought Leo was an idiot and he didn't appear to have any friends of his own age. But the ending rounds everything up nicely. Yes, we don't know why her mother treated Nora so badly, and we don't know who her mother was before she became Mrs Anchor-woman. But, frankly, I couldn't care less!


You can reach Ilsa Madden-Mills  here:

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