REVIEW | Bad Things Happen Here | Rebecca Barrow

Okay. Okay, I didn’t love this book. At a push I’m not entirely sure whether I liked this book or not. It really says something that I came back to review this and I couldn’t remember a thing about what happened. It’s a good thing I’d written out notes after finishing it, or I don’t think I’d have had much to say here. It just wasn’t memorable enough for me to have any strong feelings about this book.

Thanks to Hot Key Books for the eARC of this book. It has not affected my honest review.

Character - 4 Atmosphere - 8 Writing - 8 Plot - 5 Intrigue - 6 Logic - 5 Enjoyment - 6 Rating: 6.00 / 3 stars
Rating: 6.00 / 3 stars

About the book:

The island of Parris: paradise or poison?

Luca Laine Thomas lives in Parris, the beautiful island plagued by the unsolved deaths of young women – most significantly, Luca’s best friend. All Luca wants is to heal from the traumatic loss and leave her feelings of guilt and helplessness behind.

Then Luca comes home to find the police at her house. Her sister, Whitney, is dead.

Luca and Naomi, the new girl next door, decide to take the investigation into their own hands, and along the way their connection deepens. Soon, their casual touches and innocent flirtations become something way more real. But finding out what happened on the night of Whitney’s disappearance reveals lie upon lie.

Nothing is as it seems. Will Luca’s search finally reveal truth about her sister’s murder? And will she unravel and escape the clutches of the curse and survive Parris?

What did I think?

The writing was beautiful, but I didn’t like either of our main characters. As a character-driven reader, this just didn’t work for me. Luca was a complex character with lots of layers, but honestly? I found her kind of boring. She was complex but we didn’t get the depth in her that I would have needed to pull me through this story. I hated her attitude towards Naomi. Like, actually hated it. Naomi was a completely flat character, but she still didn’t deserve how Luca treated her. My favourite character in this book was Whitney, and the relationship between Luca and Whitney. Which obviously didn’t last long, with Whitney’s death being mentioned in the synopsis.

This book is sold as a murder-mystery/thriller. I’m not convinced on this. I think that it felt primarily like a contemporary, with a splash of mystery and thriller throughout. This didn’t help my enjoyment, as I don’t like YA contemporaries to start with. There’s very little ‘investigation’ in this for a mystery, and the mystery didn’t really impact anything. It had the character study feeling of a contemporary instead. For a mystery, I’d want more twists, and for a thriller more darkness or tension. This book was too much of a middle ground to work for me. The ending was unsatisfying, and I wanted more of a conclusion. We got enough information to kind of understand what the curse is, but I wanted to know more about what happened to Polly.

I did like that the book talked about the different forms that privilege can take, and how Luca acknowledged that while marginalised in some ways (plus-sized qpoc) she still had the privilege of her family’s money, but I honestly wish this whole book had been a novella focused on this aspect of the story rather than the ‘mystery’ we got.

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Release Date: 28th June 2022

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