Cover Image: A Better Bad Idea

A Better Bad Idea

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Member Reviews

There’s nothing I can ever really say about Laurie’s books. They’re haunting and beautiful and messy and perfect and they are poetry. They are always the most beautiful chaos I can imagine, full of broken people who always somehow remind you a little bit of yourself, even if you’re not all that broken.

I can’t even properly express how amazing this book is, nor would I want to. It’s simply something you’d have to experience for yourself. But Evelyn and Reid are by far the worst characters in her stories, and I mean that in the absolute best way. They are messy and spiteful and sometimes really god damn awful, and yet you root for them with everything you have to be better, to get out. And when they do, it’s so damn satisfying, even if their ending is not always what you imagine it would be, or even a happy one.

Her writing, her stories, her characters, they all pull you in and burrow into you and they don’t let you go. And I love it. They may not be for everyone- it’s easy to hate people like the ones she writes about- but all of her books, including this one, are like nothing you’ve ever read before, I can promise you that.
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This is a story about perception vs  reality.  

I really enjoyed this book and the experience of reading a story that juxtaposes memory and perception of someone, with the reality of who they were.  I also loved the author’s voice and take no prisoners style of emotional warfare.   

On an additional note, the work around intimate partner violence was done in a compassionate but clear way.   You felt the characters love and hatred for her mother, and her desire for the justice denied to her by the lack of power and privilege she holds.  Classism can be tricky to tackle in fiction, but I felt like it was deftly done here.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 💫

Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for this eARC!
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First, thanks to NetGalley for this e-ARC.

Laurie Devore writes YA books about broken people, which I know turns a lot of readers off. But, for me, it's understanding those broken people and working out their stories that keeps me reading.

I'd give this 3.5 stars. This one didn't win me over like Devore's earlier two works did. The characters were certainly dealing with Big Issues, and trying to figure out their lives, but I kept waiting for some kind of twist that never came. Maybe the explanation of Reid's death was supposed to be that twist, but that didn't surprise me in any kind twisty way. 

I can't say I enjoyed the journey, but it was certainly an interesting read.
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I am normally super compelled by a rage-fueled Laurie Devore heroine...but this one didn't quite click with me the same way Winner Take All and How To Break a Boy did. A Better Bad Idea, split into two narratives--a flashback to Reid, a cruel manipulator who relishes in hurting the people around her, and a present-day Evelyn, who runs off with a now-dead Reid's boyfriend after trying to kill her mother's abusive partner--moves super quickly and uses changing time markers (i.e. 'six glasses of champagne later') to mark the movement of time. 

I found myself wishing that the pace of this novel would slow down--I wanted to see Reid and Evelyn get to sit with their anger more, since that, more than various plot incidents, was the compelling through line of the narrative. The back-and-forth timeline also meant that a lot of the major emotional moments happened before I felt fully invested in the characters (and I never really managed to find myself compelled by Ashton).
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A Better Bad Idea is a stunning novel from beginning to end for so many reasons. The complex characters keep the reader engaged as we strive to unravel why we all sometimes chase the ideas that will hurt us the most. Devore's look at poverty and domestic abuse is sensitive and responsible, and serves to connect with survivors everywhere. The empathy in Devore's writing is unmatched, and the lens from which the story is told gives us direct insight into the living, breathing setting that feels as familiar as holiday dinners with family--the good and the bad. 

Devore's ability to write complex female characters urges me to be a more critical and empathetic reader. Her words feel like activism and hope without toxic positivity. This is an important and lovely book that feels more relevant in YA and contemporary literature than most titles currently on the shelves.

Thank for you the opportunity to read!
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I LOVED this book! Laurie Devore is a YA author who deserves to be much better known. I hate the "unlikable characters" label, but she has a gift for consistently making her protagonists both understandable and sympathetic even when they're doing bad things--and she also makes those bad things so much fun to read about! Her books are the perfect combination of painfully real emotions and over-the-top soap opera, and she sensitively portrays issues of mental health, class, gender, and sexuality (with complicated, non-preachy bisexual representation in this one), all without losing the compelling plot. 5 stars.
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I really enjoyed the prose of this book. Both narrators have a lot going on, and all the main characters are well-crafted. I both HATED and loved the characters equally, which is something difficult to do, but Devore made it seem easy. 

The story is not only told from different perspectives, but from different times as well. It goes from before to after and back. It's a great way for the story to unfold from all aspects. This type of order is not always done the best, but I think that Laurie Devore did a great job with it, and it made me love it even more. 

I binge-read it, and I don't binge read everything. It was a really great book that was really well-written with VERY well-crafted characters. 

KIND OF SPOILER: The ending was bittersweet and I really love bittersweet endings. I'm actually a super sucker for them, so I had to give 5 stars.
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