Book review: Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: AmazonGoodreads
Publication Date: September 7, 2013
Source: Kindle freebie

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.

So… typically, when I see literally every person that I follow on Goodreads raving about a book, it means that the book is actually good. In this case, I’m not sure if I read a different book than everybody else or if I’m just really picky or if something’s the matter with me… but what the heck did I just read.

It’s been awhile since I’ve done an unconventional review, but I think this book is best discussed in bullet point form. I’m putting this whole thing under a spoiler tag, so just click below to see allll my thoughts. Obviously, I’m spoiling the whole book (so maybe don’t look if you’re planning to read it) and since this is basically just my running commentary as I was reading, there’s quite a bit of swearing.

154 thoughts I had while reading Very Bad Things:
    1. The first quarter really isn’t that bad. I have very few thoughts about it!
    2. (Only that I feel a little weird that the love interest has the same name as my three-year-old nephew, yikes.)
    3. Okay, I’m a little iffy about a lot of what’s happening here.
    4. The relationship between the 18-year-old and the 25-year-old actually doesn’t bother me
    5. It’s a little weird that she’s still in high school though
    6. THE AUTISM THING IS DONE REALLY POORLY
    7. like “I’m not autistic, but I’m not normal either”
    8. WHAT THE F U C K
    9. He chose Teddy for the band because he “likes imperfect people” okay
    10. My Goodreads friends have given this an average of 4.4 stars so yikes
    11. I just went through my Kindle highlights and “Princeton is only a few months away, and you’ll never make it past freshman year if you don’t stop daydreaming”
    12. I never say lmao but L M A O have you ever met a Princeton student?
    13. that’s hilarious, she didn’t mean it to be but I’m still laughing
    14. (I live in Princeton by the way so I know a ton of Princeton students)
    15. her friend literally just said “You need some male meat, chica” and I am gagging
    16. I like Sebastian though
    17. So she starts off every chapter with a quote… from the character that the chapter is about… like they’re so deep and profound but they’re just stupid things like “bad decisions can make some damn good memories”
    18. I mean, obviously…. we’ve all been teenagers before……
    19. “At least he’d decided to let me help Teddy”
    20. EXCUSE ME NORA BLAKELY HE ASKED YOU TO HELP TEDDY AND YOU’RE THE ONE WHO WAS WEIRD ABOUT IT
    21. Do colleges still do paper applications? I mean, I’m old but even I applied online….
    22. “Why would he want a tiny, little popcorn shrimp like me when he could have a Texas-sized catfish like Tiffany?” OH MY G O D
    23. Why does Leo smell like butterscotch? That’s such an oddly specific scent
    24. OH SORRY it’s “BUTTERSCOTCH AND MALE” because this is a new adult book, so the characters have to smell like things that aren’t scents
    25. OH WOW I’m such a rebel that I smashed every plate in the china cabinet and then went upstairs and dyed my hair red!!!
    26. “I’ve had one drink, I wonder if I’ve killed any brain cells yet”
    27. Are you actually in middle school?
    28. I CAN’T
    29. THIS BOOK IS SO BAD
    30. DON’T MAKE ME FINISH IT
    31. what is continuity???
    32. why have I not seen a single negative review of this book???
    33. she’s literally in high school but of course she wears Manolos
    34. Did Leo really just say that Nora shouldn’t be at a theater that plays classic movies
    35. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE LEO?
    36. “I’d think the mall would be where she’d watch movies”
    37. OH GOD
    38. In reference to Nora’s eyes: “What guy thinks aqua?”
    39. oh idk, maybe one whose vocabulary has expanded beyond just straight primary colors?
    40. “DAMN, BUTTERCUP WAS A WHOLE YEAR OLDER THAN I’D THOUGHT”
    41. (oh yeah, he calls her Buttercup because she was wearing a yellow dress the first time he creeped on her)
    42. Oh wow, Leo’s so straight that he can’t admit that another man is good-looking, MY FAVORITE
    43. “You’re like a Lamborghini in a parking lot full of Kias” OH MY GODDDDDDDD
    44. “I wondered if she’d ever made love in a movie theater” Is that a normal thing that people do???
    45. “We could move to the back row, and she could sit on my lap while we tore into each other.” Please don’t. Really. Please don’t. I never want to go to another movie theater again now.
    46. OK SHE LITERALLY JUST SPELLED HER OWN GODDAMN CHARACTER’S NAME WRONG
    47. SHE CALLED HIM SEBASTAIN
    48. I’M PRETTY SURE IT’S BEEN SEBASTIAN FOR THE LAST 128 PAGES BUT YOU’RE THE AUTHOR I GUESS
    49. “making me forget my own name” I think I’m missing out in life because this has literally never happened to me
    50. Can I just take this opportunity to mention that LEO HAS A FUCKING GIRLFRIEND
    51. Okay okay she’s “a girl he’s seeing” and they’re not putting labels on it but TIFFANY IS BASICALLY HIS GIRLFRIEND and we all know how I feel about cheating
    52. “Something big shifted inside me… inside my heart”
    53. SPARE ME THE DRAMATICS, LEO, YOU HAVE A FUCKING GIRLFRIEND
    54. “He taught me consensual sex could be incredible. I figured he deserved to be Valedictorian for that alone.”
    55. ……….I feel like those two things are about as unrelated as possible
    56. Her nemesis (I assume?) just started kicking her chair because I guess they’re actually five years old?
    57. “only available to students with a 29 on the ACT” okay so I went to a private high school that offered college-level classes and there were definitely prerequisites that I had to meet to take them but I don’t recall something as arbitrary as an ACT score being one of them????
    58. I was going to say “in what kind of math class do you have to write paragraphs to support your answer” but then I remembered my high school geometry class and ok, I’ll allow it
    59. OH SO SHE CAN GET MAD AT HER EX FOR HAVING A NEW GIRLFRIEND BUT SHE DOESN’T SEE ANYTHING WRONG WITH RELENTLESSLY PURSUING LEO
    60. I actually love Sebastian ok
    61. “Do you have a boyfriend I don’t know about, ’cause if you do, I’m gonna challenge him to a duel… with pistols at dawn or swords… or whatever they do here in Texas”
    62. (MEANWHILE SHE’S TRYING TO GET WITH SEBASTIAN’S OLDER BROTHER BUT ANYWAY)
    63. of course she wears Dior to prom, who doesn’t???
    64. also all this talk about her altering her fancy dresses and I’m imagining that scene from Pretty in Pink where Molly Ringwald takes that nice dress and hacks it up into a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE dress but she thinks she’s making it better
    65. “This mouth is all I think about,” he whispered and pressed his lips to mine. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK LEO YOUR GIRLFRIEND IS IN THE OTHER ROOM
    66. “an erotic, open-mouthed tango” I’m sorry but that’s like the least sexy kiss description I’ve ever read
    67. “This… this was a kiss.” I thought it was an open-mouthed tango????
    68. “Gorgeous tits,” he murmured, because that’s just what every girl wants to hear in the heat of the moment!!!
    69. THIS FUCKING BOOK
    70. I just read a chapter out loud to my boyfriend and his only comment was “What’s wrong with this book?”
    71. OH THEY COME OUT OF THE BATHROOM WITH THEIR LIPS SWOLLEN AND THEIR HAIR ALL MESSED UP NORA’S LIPSTICK IS ALL OVER HER FACE AND FUCKING LEO’S FUCKING GIRLFRIEND IS LIKE “PROVE TO ME THAT NOTHING’S GOING ON BETWEEN YOU TWO” THAT IS NOT THE APPROPRIATE RESPONSE
    72. “a waiter walked by with a tray of shooters” what kind of high school party is this
    73. EXCUSE ME THEY’RE IN HIGH SCHOOL AND DOING SEVEN SHOTS IN A ROW I’m A GROWN ADULT and if I did seven shots in a row I’d be on the floor
    74. “Hi. I don’t think we know each other? I’m Nora Blakely, sometimes referred to as the smartest kid at BA.” Who says that?!?
    75. “Bridget and I aren’t exclusive, and she doesn’t mind sharing… or watching if you want.” YOU’RE IN HIGH SCHOOL.
    76. “What would the extra person do while the other two were busy? Maybe do a critique?” Never had a threesome myself, but yep, I’m pretty sure that’s how it works.
    77. “…the yellow of his gaze mesmerizing me, reminding me of a calico cat I’d once had” I mean, I love cats and I’ve had my fair share of felines in my 28 years of life, but I can’t say that I’ve ever compared my love interest’s eyes to any of my cats……..
    78. I sighed regretfully. “I will never share my man.” NORA YOU ARE LITERALLY HOOKING UP WITH A GUY WHO HAS A GIRLFRIEND
    79. “Do you know what your problem is? … You’re a mean person.” Ooh, scathing insult.
    80. “I clearly had no idea how to land a good punch, but Mila and I had watched Fight Club junior year.” I… just… 😒
    81. “She ran at me like a crazy woman at a Macy’s clearance sale”
    82. Oh I’m at 52%, at least I’m more than half done
    83. “she tried to kick me again with her stilettos” have you ever worn stilettos? it’s hard enough to walk in them let alone balance on one leg to kick someone?
    84. how did this girl just grab Nora’s nipple piercing? through her dress? I’m so confused
    85. “Well, don’t worry about me, okay. I live in a twenty million dollar mansion alone!” 😱😱😱
    86. “I’ve seen worst” WORST. WORSTWORST.
    87. “Are you saying we’re soulmates?” THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY.
    88. “Oh, and no Leo, no soulmate, no mister right, no true love, no beloved.” you’ve known him for like… a week
    89. her mom is the worst
    90. also this whole book has been so dramatic so far that the dramatic reveal (that her brother drugged and raped her) doesn’t even feel that surprising
    91. and she’s alluded to it at least ten separate times, so…
    92. RANDOM THIRD PERSON NARRATION FOR A SECOND BUT DON’T WORRY FIRST PERSON IS BACK AGAIN
    93. What happened to Teddy…….. where did he go…. he just disappeared
    94. “Later that day, even though I swore I wasn’t going to, I found myself parked outside a fucking high school, leaning against my newly painted Escalade, waiting for a girl.” BUDDY YOU’RE 25 MAYBE DON’T SHOW UP AT THE HIGH SCHOOL
    95. “What’s that?” “It’s a book, Nora.” WOW
    96. HERE IT IS
    97. IT FINALLY HAPPENED
    98. She’s…….. wait for it………
    99. Not like other girls 🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄
    100. half the book has gone by without a single mention of him but hey, Teddy’s back!!!
    101. “You know those people that think they can sing, but really can’t? Well, that’s not me. I knew I couldn’t sing worth crap” OK SAME
    102. LEO PUTS SUGAR IN HIS PASTA SAUCE I DON’T TRUST HIM
    103. She’s telling Leo about the threesome offer I can’t 🙄
    104. Just tell Leo that Finn is your brother OMFG I’m dying here
    105. “Don’t ask me about him” now he’s going to think Finn is your ex forever
    106. “a song about losing your religion played” am I really to believe that teenagers these days do not know the CLASSIC that is Losing My Religion by REM??????? AM I REALLY THAT OLD 😭
    107. “Why was he my Romeo, but I wasn’t his Juliet” YOU KNOW THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END RIGHT
    108. She’s a senior in high school earning $180/week pre-tax and she thinks she’ll have “a small nest egg saved up” by the time she starts college……… I’m officially too old for this book
    109. oh it’s a reference to Normal, Illinois which always makes me think of BEN FOLDS (and now I have Effington stuck in my head)
    110. He texted are you wearing a green dress and a pair of sexy cowboy boots? I wrote back FYI, stalking is a crime in Texas
    111. amazing, if only she were talking to Leo and not her perfectly decent ex
    112. “he’s got big hands. and feet. wonder what else is big” “your mouth” lol
    113. What…….. the fuck…………… so Sebastian’s like “Nora and I have a problem” and Leo’s like I KNEW IT SHE’S PREGNANT WITH YOUR BABY UGH I CAN’T BELIEVE IT I WISH SHE WAS HAVING MY BABY
    114. “I’d realized that she could be mine if I let her; now I knew I’d made a mistake” WHY BECAUSE YOU THINK SHE’S HAVING YOUR BROTHER’S BABY?
    115. “I thought I would die if I never got to kiss her again”
    116. I guess that open-mouthed tango was really something………
    117. he’s picturing Sebastian and Nora having sex right now
    118. I CAN’T
    119. HANDLE
    120. THIS
    121. holy shit that was some kind of scene
    122. “I lifted the table where’d I’d been working and threw it across the room”
    123. ok setting aside the whole “where’d I’d been working” thing, sex should make you happy and relaxed……. not make you throw tables across the room……….
    124. I mean I guess he also just found out about Finn but still……. throwing a table across the room seems excessive
    125. “I thought about […] how I’d misjudged her. How I’d thought she was a spoiled rich girl. I couldn’t have been further from the truth.” I mean, she really is a spoiled rich girl even if bad things have happened to her… it doesn’t make her not spoiled and it doesn’t make her not rich
    126. “because he was my soulmate” seriously Nora you’ve known him for what… a month at this point? calm down with this soulmate nonsense
    127. “You never stop loving someone; you just learn to live without them.” very deep, Nora, good job, but also very false statement
    128. she got LIFE-SIZED ANGEL WINGS tattooed on her back with the phrase “She Flies With Her Own Wings” in the middle I CAN’T, Nora you’re gonna regret that in like five minutes
    129. “It was exotic and perfect.” I DIDN’T KNOW ANGEL WINGS WERE EXOTIC
    130. “Is it true that soulmates always end up together?” stopppppppp with the soulmates already omg
    131. “Sebastian told me she was seeing Drew, and I’d flinched, hating the thought of her with him, telling him about soulmates. I tormented myself with images of them together, sharing epic kisses.” You realize how creepy you sound right now, right?
    132. Leo’s been whining about how much he wants Nora for at least the last 275 pages (I’m on page 276) and yet he just yelled at her to get the fuck out of his bedroom, makes total sense
    133. what….. the fuck……. they were just having a conversation about Nora’s boyfriend and Leo’s girlfriend and now “his hot tongue explored the details of my tongue” 🤢
    134. “he pushed me back against the sturdy bookshelf, picking me up and positioning me so his hips fit into my pelvis” (I feel like there’s a sexier way to say that)
    135. “Make me come, Leo.” you’re in public can you stop
    136. she just walked back upstairs to her boyfriend…. I don’t know what kind of love shape (square? pentagon?? who even knows) this book is but can it stop
    137. I swear to god if Nora and Leo finally get together because her fucking brother tries to rape her again I am going to SCREAM
    138. her brother is literally trying to tie her up right now and she falls to her knees and starts praying….. this girl has not once prayed throughout this entire book…. maybe run instead……
    139. is Nora literally murdering Finn right now
    140. is Leo literally murdering Finn right now
    141. Finn literally just caught on fire and died 🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄
    142. SO MANY TYPOS
    143. they finally had sex at 93% and they didn’t even use a condom because they’re DUMB
    144. I’m only half paying attention to this epilogue and I thought this girl just said “Mom, I needed that” in the middle of sex but THANK GOD WHAT SHE ACTUALLY SAID WAS “MMM I NEEDED THAT”
    145. omfg
    146. they’re fucking engaged
    147. SHE’S 19 CALM DOWN
    148. “My tiger. My soulmate.” 🤢
    149. jesus christ it’s not done yet
    150. “first we’d made love on the weight bench, then the butterfly press” ew
    151. “and then on the mats” GET A ROOM
    152. “good thing the cleaning lady came tomorrow” so rude I can’t
    153. are you sure she’s 19? “it’s simply amazing to think of it, to think that I’m nurturing life in my womb”
    154. jesus christ, this was a bad book.

 

I’m being generous with two stars. Not recommended.

#killingthetbr: 11 months on shelf


Have you read Very Bad Things? Did you, like everyone else, like it a lot more than I did? Let’s talk in the comments!


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15 thoughts on “Book review: Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills

  1. Emily says:

    I haven’t read this book and I’m not planning on it, but I absolutely LOVED reading through your running commentary! I get the idea that this isn’t your favourite book haha?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Becky @ Velvet Spade Reads says:

    Hahahahaha. Yes! This totally made my Friday. Like, you should find a shitty book and do this every week just to cheer me up on Fridays :D. Oh, Sara – I have 154 thoughts on your 154 thoughts but it would take me too long to go through them. Mostly, I’m really confused as to why people like this book. It truly sounds pretty awful!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Winged Cynic says:

    lolols so many angry caps! I totally relate to the “THIS BOOK IS SO BAD DON’T MAKE ME FINISH IT” mentality though; whenever I read a questionable book like this one, I’m hurtling towards the finish line to get it out of my hair. 😂😂😂 Fun post!

    Liked by 1 person

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