This May End Badly

A Novel

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Pub Date 12 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 26 Apr 2022
St. Martin's Press, Wednesday Books


“The bitingly hilarious, heartfelt This May End Badly takes your favorite fake dating trope and adds plenty of downright delightful shenanigans that’ll have readers tearing through the pages.” - Emma Lord, New York Times bestselling author of You Have a Match

Pranking mastermind Doe and her motley band of Weston girls are determined to win the century-long war against Winfield Academy before the clock ticks down on their senior year. But when their headmistress announces that The Weston School will merge with its rival the following year, their longtime feud spirals into chaos.

To protect the school that has been her safe haven since her parents’ divorce, Doe puts together a plan to prove once and for all that Winfield boys and Weston girls just don’t mix, starting with a direct hit at Three, Winfield’s boy king and her nemesis. In a desperate move to win, Doe strikes a bargain with Three’s cousin, Wells: If he fake dates her to get under Three’s skin, she’ll help him get back his rightful family heirloom from Three.

As the pranks escalate, so do her feelings for her fake boyfriend, and Doe spins lie after lie to keep up her end of the deal. But when a teacher long suspected of inappropriate behavior messes with a younger Weston girl, Doe has to decide what’s more important: winning a rivalry, or joining forces to protect something far more critical than a prank war legacy.

This May End Badly is a story about friendship, falling in love, and crossing pretty much every line presented to you—and how to atone when you do.

“The bitingly hilarious, heartfelt This May End Badly takes your favorite fake dating trope and adds plenty of downright delightful shenanigans that’ll have readers tearing through the pages.” - Emma...

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ISBN 9781250799180
PRICE $18.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 630 members

Featured Reviews

This book single-handedly reignited my love for YA romance. For something that I picked up on a whim, I am surprised, but ecstatic that I enjoyed it so much.

This May End Badly follows Doe, a boarding school girl who loves to pull pranks with her friends. Their main target: the male boarding school next door. When Doe begins to realize it is her senior year, and the Weston School that she has dedicated her past four years to may be facing some drastic changes, she decides to hit the her nemesis and prank war adversary where it hurts, with his own family. But when a fake dating plan with his cousin begins to spark real feelings, Doe finds herself over her head.

This book has so many buzzwords that I love in a good YA. Faking dating - check. Boarding schools - check. A strong friendship group - check. While it follows in the footsteps of many stories before it, it remains unique in the humor and complicity of relationships. Not only romantic, but familial relationships and friendships as well. Every character felt flushed out and different from one another. The friends especially were their own people apart from Doe, which I loved. Wells was also a great character. If you're looking for a bookish, but cheeky book boyfriend to fawn over, look no further. That being said, Doe was easily my favorite character. She reminded me a lot of myself when I was graduating college, and I think a lot of young readers will be able to relate or learn from her.

This book was so much fun, but there are also some serious topics that readers should be aware of before reading. Anyone sensitive to abuse, sexual harassment, and grooming should do some more research before picking this up. But if you are a reader who is comfortable with these topics, I highly recommend you pick it up when it releases.

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If there was any way to pre-order a million copies of this book or camp out at the bookstore until the release day I would. It was that good! This May End Badly is the spectacular debut novel by Samantha Markum about The Weston School- an all-girls boarding school- and its epic prank war with its rival, the Winfield School for Boys. But when it is revealed that a male teacher is sexually harassing girls on Weston’s campus, the Weston Girls and Winfield Boys must put aside their rivalry to protect both their schools and their fellow students. This May End Badly tackles themes of identity, sexual assault, and sexual harassment, all while providing an exuberant and entertaining story. Markum balances heavier topics with fast-paced humor in a delicate balance that most writers fail to achieve. Readers of any demographic will leave feeling empowered by Doe and her friends’ accomplishments. I enjoyed the setting of boarding school, I think it’s every kid’s dream to be whisked away to a boarding school and plan shenanigans like these. My only critiques of the novel are that some character introductions felt too rushed. It was difficult to keep up with who’s who for a while. Also, I wished there had been more emphasis on acknowledging the privilege these characters have, especially in their pranking. While these characters are pranking experts who never get caught, they do hold major wealth and racial privilege that allows them to get away with most of their pranks. All in all, This May End Badly was a fantastic read and I can’t wait for its release in April. Book? Pre-Ordered.

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I have to wait 9 MONTHS for this book to come out?! I am so frustrated that I cannot physically have this book in my hands at this moment. I decidedly randomly that I start this book last night at 10 pm. Do you know what it got me? Staying up way past my bedtime and reading throughout my workday.

I couldn't put this book down. I was obsessed with the characters, the romance, and the plot. I fell for Wells the way any girl would do and I'm not mad about it.

I loved the pranks that each school did. I loved the growth of the characters throughout the book. I'm a sucker for the faking dating trope and this book did not disappoint.

I cannot wait to read this book again, and I will probably re-read it soon.

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Wow, this book had me hooked from the beginning. I have read a lot of books so far this year and this is definitely my top book of the year so far.

Following the protagonist Doe on her quest for Weston to continue to be an all girls boarding school was real, believable and I found myself sucked into the plot quickly. This book has everything I love a enemies or friend plot, fake dating to real dating and a strong friends group.

This book is fast paced and also has a lot of depth. I loved Doe and Wells relationship and found myself smiling and rooting for them throughout the story.

This book is by far the best YA book I have read in at least a year. Thank you Net galley and publisher for the advanced read. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. I am hopeful there will be a sequel soon.

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Thank you so much to the publishers and NetGalley. This book was so good. I loved the writing style and I loved the characters. It was funny at sometimes, romantic, and I loved how it focused on friendship as well as romantic relationships.

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So good! It had almost all of my favorite tropes. Enemies to lovers, fake dating, boarding school, and dark academia. A fast paced read. Seriously so amazing!

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I thought this was an excellent book. It was so much more than a fake dating trope and a high school prankster. The characters were great. The plot was fantastic, the premise unique. Great writing. The opening scene was hilarious. It definitely set a certain tone for the rest of the book. The feminist Girl Power vibe I got from the brief Weston school history lesson early in the book was especially satisfying when it circled back around in a big way at the end.

Doe’s first person narration is great. She’s witty and sarcastic and makes a very enjoyable narrator. I really appreciated how the author seamlessly blended typical teenage drama with much heavier topics. It gave gravity to a story that could easily have been frivolous and ridiculous. It’s peppered with important lessons that even grownups often still need to learn without feeling too preachy.

I really liked Doe’s friend group and her (not so) fake boyfriend, Wells. Their relationship is pretty sweet and they’re really great together even when they’re not “together”.

Doe deals with all the typical teenage stressors like friendship drama and feeling like she’s expected to know what she’s going to do with her life, but she has to deal with much more than just that, which is what makes this book so interesting and, I think, unique. Doe’s got more issues than Vogue and they all come creeping up on her in the 11th hour of her time at Weston. She loses nearly everyone close to her because of her behavior. This is relevant not just to teens but pretty much any person who is alive and breathing. We all need to check ourselves before we wreck ourselves. And she done wrecked herself. Doe then realizes she needs to engage in some much needed self reflection.

Every character is well written. The dialogue is excellent. I’m pretty impressed with this author. I will definitely be up for reading anything else she writes.

Side note: At one point, Doe recounts a conversation she had with someone at school where they talked about what food they missed most from their hometowns. Hers was Provel cheese which is the bat signal that means not only is she 1) from St. Louis, but 2) a fan of Imo’s Pizza. That’s my girl!  🙌🏼 😂  All the authentic St. Louis references made this native St. Louisan happy. ❤️

I would recommend this to anyone.
5 stars out of 5

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This book was definitely one of my favourite reads of the year so far! There’s so much rivalry and betrayal and pranks + fake dating my expectations were high and this book surpassed them. Doe and Wells were such amazing characters to follow im so obsessed and even though I think this is a stand-alone I need a sequel in my hands ASAP

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(tw; mention of sexual assault)


Fake dating? Rival boarding schools? Pranking? The synopsis for this sounded like the perfect YA read to me, and it served that exactly. I don't give 5 stars to just any book, but this one I can say fully deserves it. I loved every aspect of this book and there's truly nothing about this book that I could pick out and say I didn't enjoy. I can say with no doubt this will do amazing when it's published, and I'll definitely be counting down the days until I can get my hands on a physical copy. I tempted to even reread this ARC because I enjoyed it so much.

I really loved the main character of this book, Doe. She was just so realistic. She struggled, she had pain in her past, she mad mistakes. but she grew and through it all was able to find herself. This book didn't shy away from real issues, and instead shed light on just how real they are. Such as bullying, children dealing with divorce, and sexual assault. I feel YA books try so often to stay lighthearted to the readers, but by bringing these topics into the novel it really changes the reading experience. It becomes eye opening, and could even help readers understand what they may be going through, and I thought it was well done here.

The friendships in this book were so strong, and although they had their rough spots as the story progressed, they were able to work through them. It was really refreshing to have such a nicely developed friend group, which can sometimes lack, but it was beautifully in this novel. Also loved the rival dynamic between Three and Doe, surely it was irrational, but it was still one of my favorite parts of the book.

WELLS AND DOE. I love the fake dating trope, so they really had me from the beginning, but I truly just loved their relationship development. Their bantering, the plotting against Three, and their eventual realization of the true feeling they had for each other. It was just so good. I would love to read a book of just these two scheming together.

Definitely recommend anyone who loves fake dating, boarding schools, pranking, and anything of the sort picks this up. Release date is April 12 of next year!!

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This May End Badly is one of the most entertaining and witty contemporary YAs I've read in a long time! I adored Doe and the whole cast of characters, who all felt so real and complex. Doe's banter with Wells (and everyone else, really!) frequently had me giggling so hard that I had to fight the urge to read passages out loud to anyone within earshot. Highly recommend this book to anyone, especially readers who love snappy dialogue, bold characters, and all the feelings. An absolute delight!

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READ THIS. Such a good book and it is raw and real and covers several important and delicate topics in a way that is authentic. Doe certainly learns from her mistakes and I truly loved how she took accountability and how she gave true and genuine apologies to the people that she hurt.

5+ stars, definitely!

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