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A Better Bad Idea

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Laurie Devore's new YA novel is a searing look at a forgotten girl who has no good choices left, but one better bad idea . . . Evelyn Peters is desperate. Desperate for a way out of McNair Falls, the dying southern town that’s held her captive since the day she was born. Desperate to protect her little sister from her mother’s terrifying and abusive boyfriend. And desperate Laurie Devore's new YA novel is a searing look at a forgotten girl who has no good choices left, but one better bad idea . . . Evelyn Peters is desperate. Desperate for a way out of McNair Falls, the dying southern town that’s held her captive since the day she was born. Desperate to protect her little sister from her mother’s terrifying and abusive boyfriend. And desperate to connect with anyone, even fallen golden boy Ashton Harper, longtime boyfriend of the girl Evelyn can never stop thinking about ― beautiful, volatile, tragically dead Reid Brewer. Until a single night sends Evelyn and Ashton on a collision course that starts something neither of them can stop. With one struck match, their whole world goes up in flames. The only thing left to do is run―but leaving McNair Falls isn’t as easy as just putting distance between here and there and some secrets refuse to stay left behind. A reckoning is coming . . . and not everyone is getting out alive.


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Laurie Devore's new YA novel is a searing look at a forgotten girl who has no good choices left, but one better bad idea . . . Evelyn Peters is desperate. Desperate for a way out of McNair Falls, the dying southern town that’s held her captive since the day she was born. Desperate to protect her little sister from her mother’s terrifying and abusive boyfriend. And desperate Laurie Devore's new YA novel is a searing look at a forgotten girl who has no good choices left, but one better bad idea . . . Evelyn Peters is desperate. Desperate for a way out of McNair Falls, the dying southern town that’s held her captive since the day she was born. Desperate to protect her little sister from her mother’s terrifying and abusive boyfriend. And desperate to connect with anyone, even fallen golden boy Ashton Harper, longtime boyfriend of the girl Evelyn can never stop thinking about ― beautiful, volatile, tragically dead Reid Brewer. Until a single night sends Evelyn and Ashton on a collision course that starts something neither of them can stop. With one struck match, their whole world goes up in flames. The only thing left to do is run―but leaving McNair Falls isn’t as easy as just putting distance between here and there and some secrets refuse to stay left behind. A reckoning is coming . . . and not everyone is getting out alive.

30 review for A Better Bad Idea

  1. 4 out of 5

    Melanie (mells_view)

    4.5* ”The predictability of pain doesn’t make it go down easier.” A Better Bad Idea kind of blew me away. It’s a slowish burn thriller for sure, but I love the journey our POV characters go on. We get a present POV from Evelyn. A girl who has been pigeonholed in a small town, and plays up that stereotype for her own safety. She wants to protect her innocent sister from the bullsh*t have and have nots games of McNair Falls, and also their mother’s abusive boyfriend. We also get a past POV from Reid 4.5* ”The predictability of pain doesn’t make it go down easier.” A Better Bad Idea kind of blew me away. It’s a slowish burn thriller for sure, but I love the journey our POV characters go on. We get a present POV from Evelyn. A girl who has been pigeonholed in a small town, and plays up that stereotype for her own safety. She wants to protect her innocent sister from the bullsh*t have and have nots games of McNair Falls, and also their mother’s abusive boyfriend. We also get a past POV from Reid, a girl who was doing her best to survive in McNair Falls, but sadly didn’t make it out alive. I don’t want to ruin this story with spoilers, because I read it after reading the blurb and no reviews, and I felt like that gave me the ability to keep guessing where it would go. What I will say is that I enjoyed it. I think the author does a fabulous job telling an intriguing story about a dying town and the citizens within it who are dying literally and figuratively, while also exploring the way we see people the way we want to see them. It’s about people doing what they have to do to survive, even if that means manipulating and lying. It’s about how people you don’t even truly know can influence and change your life, without them even knowing they did. It’s about the fact that you can have everything in the world in someone else’s eyes, but still be empty or broken on the inside. It’s about reaching the end of your rope and lengths you will go to save yourself or someone else. I just loved that this book is empowering and thought provoking, while not taking anything away from the actual story. The only reason I even took a .5 away from my rating is because one character’s story ending sort of bothered me, but I also see why the author possibly handled it that way and it is kind of a great comparison between two characters that I hope other people recognize. I just can’t not mention it, even vaguely. Oops sorry. Anyway, I highly recommend this read. I think it’s entertaining and will also make you think. There are a few triggers, toxic relationships, abuse, domestic violence, violence, mentions of sexual assault, and alcoholism. AVAILABLE NOW! *ARC

  2. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    3/16/21 - A BETTER BAD IDEA IS OUT TODAY!! 3/2/21 - Don't miss the Goodreads giveaway for A BETTER BAD IDEA: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/sh... hope y'all will love this one as much as I do! 3/16/21 - A BETTER BAD IDEA IS OUT TODAY!! 3/2/21 - Don't miss the Goodreads giveaway for A BETTER BAD IDEA: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/sh... hope y'all will love this one as much as I do!

  3. 5 out of 5

    rin

    "pitched as End of the F****** World meets Sadie" this sounds like my type of book "pitched as End of the F****** World meets Sadie" this sounds like my type of book

  4. 5 out of 5

    Heather *Undercover Goth Queen*

    Phew, what a wild ride. Intense, sad, uplifting. I love toxic small towns (in print... not in real life, haha) and I loved these characters. They were all so real.

  5. 4 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    3.5 STARS A BETTER BAD IDEA is an ode to dysfunctional, abusive relationships with a heavy dose of domestic violence, substance abuse, slut shaming, attempted murder and manslaughter thrown in for good measure. Reid is dead. Evelyn is trying to stay alive. And Ashton is the boy they both think (thought) is the key to their happiness. Told from Reid’s and Evelyn’s points of view, jumping time lines A BETTER BAD IDEA tells the story of Reid’s demise and Evelyn’s fight to escape their small town. Laur 3.5 STARS A BETTER BAD IDEA is an ode to dysfunctional, abusive relationships with a heavy dose of domestic violence, substance abuse, slut shaming, attempted murder and manslaughter thrown in for good measure. Reid is dead. Evelyn is trying to stay alive. And Ashton is the boy they both think (thought) is the key to their happiness. Told from Reid’s and Evelyn’s points of view, jumping time lines A BETTER BAD IDEA tells the story of Reid’s demise and Evelyn’s fight to escape their small town. Laurie Devore writes beautiful prose. The characters are so flawed, yet not without redemptive qualities. Even the most moral characters are lacking. I grew up in a small town and wanted out all my life. Only in my forties did I realize the positive aspect of the town and people. If I had read this book in high school, I’d probably think my town wasn’t all that bad. A BETTER BAD IDEA is a slow burn, character study of small town girls on the brink of womanhood suffocating with few choices to escape their pain. For readers who like dark stories with dark characters.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    3.5 Note: I was provided with a free ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own. Short and decidedly unsweet, in this book, Laurie Devore toys with gray areas and what someone must be willing to do when desperate. This book is atmospheric and impoverished South and irrevocably broken characters, in a good way. Though it gets off to a bit of a rocky start and lacks some emotional connection throughout, I think this book is ultimately worth 3.5 Note: I was provided with a free ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own. Short and decidedly unsweet, in this book, Laurie Devore toys with gray areas and what someone must be willing to do when desperate. This book is atmospheric and impoverished South and irrevocably broken characters, in a good way. Though it gets off to a bit of a rocky start and lacks some emotional connection throughout, I think this book is ultimately worth reading until the end. My full review will be available in March 2021: https://gatewaybookreviews.blogspot.c...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michael Marie

    A cringeworthy amount of teen drama and angst. A baffling treatment of attempted murder and manslaughter. Everyone in this book sucks.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kit Frick

    A Better Bad Idea is an anthem sung by angry girls trapped in small towns. Their song is an accounting of narrow minds and brutal fists and harms inflicted and violence to come, swelling to a crescendo that demands more than a tired recital of right and wrong. Devore invites us, unflinching, into the gray.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Melancholic Blithe ⚡

    Okay I am kind of still processing what I read and I am pretty sure I will keep processing it even when I should stop. It is that kind of novel which makes you think, question, think, question and keep on going on in that loop until you finish it. It is hard to put it down, and a sort of hunger possess you to read the book and see where the plot is going. I’ll be honest when I say that I don’t read thrillers frequently. They unnaturally make me think a lot and a point comes where I kind of spoil Okay I am kind of still processing what I read and I am pretty sure I will keep processing it even when I should stop. It is that kind of novel which makes you think, question, think, question and keep on going on in that loop until you finish it. It is hard to put it down, and a sort of hunger possess you to read the book and see where the plot is going. I’ll be honest when I say that I don’t read thrillers frequently. They unnaturally make me think a lot and a point comes where I kind of spoil the book for me (Pro Tip: Don’t flip the pages of the book you are reading especially if it mystery or thriller) but not this time. This time I was completely enraptured by the characters, the plot, the writing style and the build up. The story is a slow burn thriller so naturally the build up was slowly progressing. And as I mentioned before, a slow burn thriller can be a bit frustrating. BUT, NOT THIS ONE. I don’t remember when I was last this desperate to see where the story was headed. Part of the reason could be that the book is heavily character driven while reading, with a plot at its base. The narration shifts in POV, with Evelyn the main protagonist and Reid being a reflection from the past. Evelyn is trying to survive McNair Falls while Reid wasn’t able to. And then there is Ashton who is even more complicated. The plot is highly driven towards how people are trying to make it, to survive the shitty world which they have contributed to make it the way it is. They have their own methods and through the narration we see what everyone was doing. The town itself is dying, its toxicity highly reflecting through the writing. If I haven’t mentioned before, I would really say that the book is amazingly written – it is one of those book which compelled me to read the ending after experiencing the whole story. I don’t want to give much away because there can be endless spoilers here in this book. At last I would just say this – when you plan to read this book, and haven’t read contemporary books set in real world with such heavy themes, don’t pick up the book at night. I mean it is your choice but while reading this I wished I would get more room during day to ponder upon my thoughts rather than dreaming them lol. It was really refreshing to read this book, intrigue and mystery blended together amazingly! *Note: I was provided with a review copy via netgalley in exchange for an honest review for this tour. **Trigger Warnings: Toxic Relationships, manipulation, arson, sexual assault, domestic violence, abuse, alcoholism, murder, intimate partner violence, child abuse, suicide, mental health.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stacia | stacialovestoread

    For some reason I just couldn’t get into this one. I was waiting for the “big plot moment” and after getting 1/4 of the way through the book, it hadn’t arrived. ——— Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this free ebook in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jodie "Bookish" Cook

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Book Review Title: A Better Bad Idea Author: Laurie Devore Genre: YA/Thriller Rating: *** Review: I didn’t know anything about A Better Bad Idea before going into it and honestly that is the best way to experience this book as everything hits you out of nowhere. We follow three main characters, Evelyn Peters, Reid Brewer and Ashton Harper so this book does bounce back and forth between different POV’s a lot which I wasn’t a huge fan of but then I am not a huge fan of multiple POV’s in general. As man Book Review Title: A Better Bad Idea Author: Laurie Devore Genre: YA/Thriller Rating: *** Review: I didn’t know anything about A Better Bad Idea before going into it and honestly that is the best way to experience this book as everything hits you out of nowhere. We follow three main characters, Evelyn Peters, Reid Brewer and Ashton Harper so this book does bounce back and forth between different POV’s a lot which I wasn’t a huge fan of but then I am not a huge fan of multiple POV’s in general. As many of the warnings imply with this book the main trio are an absolutely mess, not just one of them but all of them which was very refreshing to read. The reading experience of A Better Bad Idea was mixed for me as I devoured the first half of the book in one sitting which isn’t something I commonly do unless I am really invested in the characters and/or story. In addition to the multiple perspective, we also jump back and forth in time as Evelyn’s POV is in the present and Reid’s is between 1 and 2 years in the past. I felt that Evelyn who is supposed the be the central character doesn’t actually get a lot of screen time as that goes to Reid which I understand in a sense but it took a lot of developmental time away from Evelyn and her motivations. At one point a massive motivation for Evelyn was her sister but we actually spend very little time discussing the sister as everything is focused on Ashton and Reid which made Evelyn feel very flat and one dimensional as a character. Despite the few issues I had with this book, I really enjoyed it. The novel opens with Evelyn and Ashton committing arson which didn’t make sense at the time but it does when you learn that the entire books is built around secrets and toxic relationships. For the first part of the book, we only follow Evelyn and this was just as well because she is lacking in the rest of the novel. In her part we get to really understand who Evelyn is as a person and what she wants, I am being vague because almost everything falls into spoiler territory with this book and I don’t want to give away the many twists and turns this book takes. This book is almost completely character driven so if that isn’t your thing then this might not be the book for you. For me, the characters were the best part of the book despite some issues with development later on. I really loved seeing how the character’s thought processes, and the motivations behind some of their actions. A big part of this novel was Evelyn and Ashton discussing Reid who we learn on the first page of the book is dead and comparing themselves to her because she was a huge part of both of their lives in different ways. The plot was also interesting for me as we learn early on Reid is dead and we want to know why and how especially after we are introduced to her POV in the second act of the book. As we slowly gather the pieces of the puzzle and put them together, we can see how something in the past can continue to affect us in both negative and positive ways even years later. I also like seeing how Ashton and Evelyn reacted to the information that we the readers are also gathering which made the plot really engaging and definitely kept you hooked as you watched the characters evolve throughout the novel and not always for the better. This book was also really intriguing not just the mystery/thriller aspect but Devore’s writing really added to this. Once the thriller aspects really come into play this book is almost impossible to put down but I did have some serious issues after the ¾ mark. I felt in the final act that there were a lot of the loose plot lines that weren’t handled correctly, they were either just left midway through or not resolved at the end, mainly to insert more dialogue between Ashton and Evelyn which did feel really repetitive at time. Honestly, Reid’s POV was my favourite as she was far more introspective than Ashton or Evelyn and it helped me focus more on her story. As you can probably tell I had a real love/hate relationship with this book. I felt it had some real potential but it didn’t quite live up to it and I honestly felt the knowledge that Reid was already dead should have been made into a reveal much like We Were Liars as that would have really added to the atmosphere and tensions as at times it doesn’t feel like there are any real stakes for the characters. Even days after finishing A Better Bad Idea I still don’t quite know how I feel about it and I will probably have to re-read it in the future just to figure out whether I fall in the love it or hate it camp. Overall, I did feel the experience was worth the effort I put into it but I wasn’t completely satisfied with it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Madhu MaBookYard -

    "I wonder what that’s like, to feel someone watching you. To know their only intention toward you is love. Respect. Or better yet, fear." . My Rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟 [4/5] . Thank you Turnthepages Tours and Netgalley for the gifted Review copy, which lets me give you my unbiased opinion. . This book follows our main characters : Eve, who tries so hard to fit in at home and protect her sister from everything that touches her; Ashton, who is wallowing in his grief and is struggling to find a way to come out of it; "I wonder what that’s like, to feel someone watching you. To know their only intention toward you is love. Respect. Or better yet, fear." . My Rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟 [4/5] . Thank you Turnthepages Tours and Netgalley for the gifted Review copy, which lets me give you my unbiased opinion. . This book follows our main characters : Eve, who tries so hard to fit in at home and protect her sister from everything that touches her; Ashton, who is wallowing in his grief and is struggling to find a way to come out of it; and Reid, who has a very different view of life and is the reason why this book exists. It's a story about complicated human emotions, effects of grief, the need for control when everything else falls apart and a single moment that can change your course of life. It's a story about survival. . TW : Mentions of domestic abuse, drinking, toxic relationship, murder and death. . First, I absolutely loved the writing style and the way this story was told. The characters each had so much to deal with and their view of their problems were done in a way that everything was important. No trouble was less and none were greater. The author did an amazing job portraying the madness and the craze that comes along with grief and a moment when that tether snaps your control runs free. . Second, I absolutely loved the characters and what they represented. They were flawed, had issues to deal with and viewed life as if it owed them something. It was realistic and raw and honest in a way I really enjoyed. Especially Reid had the character portrayal of someone broken but with so much strength. The relationship between the characters and how they were connected gave a lot of weight to the story. . "I’m an illusion. An illusion of music too loud, of carefree summer nights, of racing down dirt roads and taking clothes off and sweat and fights that end in kisses and pain." . Now coming to the writing , story and character development, I feel like Eve made the most impression while I was reading. The transformation she went through was difficult to read about, but it was necessary. And the character driven story had a solid plot to support it. The change in timeline gives you a different perspective every time, but it took some time to get used to and get familiar with the timings and the characters. The topics discussed and the scenes that inspired the plot of the story was necessary, and even though I didn't like how the story ended for the characters, I can definitely see why the author did it that way. The grittiness gave way to realistic endings and I liked that about this book. . Overall, I really liked the story and the characters and the concept this book delivers with the difficult themes that it discussed. I loved the writing style and the format of the book even though it took time to get familiar with. I was not fan of the ending, but I liked it nonetheless. If you are a fan of psychological fiction (I don't know if it falls under this category but it's definitely gave me the hard hitting contemporary thriller vibes) then definitely pick it up! . Kindle/ Netgalley/ Arc/ March2021

  13. 5 out of 5

    lily reads and other things

    Thank you to NetGalley for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review. Okay, y'all this book was so good. We follow Evelyn who runs away with her sorta friend Ashton after they commit arson. This book deals with secrets and toxic relationships. For the first Act, we just follow Evelyn. The second Act is when we are introduced to Reid's perspective. Reid's perspective is always in the past, while Evelyn's goes between the past and the present. Characters: I'd say this is a character-driven book with Thank you to NetGalley for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review. Okay, y'all this book was so good. We follow Evelyn who runs away with her sorta friend Ashton after they commit arson. This book deals with secrets and toxic relationships. For the first Act, we just follow Evelyn. The second Act is when we are introduced to Reid's perspective. Reid's perspective is always in the past, while Evelyn's goes between the past and the present. Characters: I'd say this is a character-driven book with a good plot. The characters and their lives were what was my favorite part of this book. I loved seeing how these characters think, what their thinking process is, and why they are doing some of these things. A big part of this book was Evelyn and Ashton talking about Reid, and comparing themselves to her. I do think Evelyn and Reid are alike at the same time as being completely different from one another. The characters had so many layers and I loved that. I loved how unique each character was. Plot: The plot was so interesting and seeing what these characters chose to do with each new piece of information. I loved how when something happened in the past we sometimes would see the characters in the present react to this information. I really loved the plot, it kept me engaged and I loved how the characters evolved throughout the plot. Writing: I really enjoyed Laurie Devore's writing! I'm not that picky when it comes to writing style and I really enjoyed Laurie's! Intrigue: Y'all, I read this is like 3 days. I read half the book in ONE day. I was so intrigued. If I started reading it I couldn't stop. I had to know what happened next. I had to know what these characters chose to do next. The intrigue in this book started from the very first page until the very end. Enjoyment: I freaking loved this book. There's no question about it. This book was phenomenal. It deals with so many hard topics (trigger warnings down below). I loved the characters (and hated then at some points) they were amazingly crafted. In conclusion, you should read this book if you love: thrillers, secrets, amazing characters, multiple povs, multiple timelines. I loved this book and I hope if you do pick it up you love it too!! If you're interested in it I highly recommend preordering it as it comes out on March 16th!! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ trigger warnings: arson, murder, abuse, toxic relationships, domestic violence, violence, mentions of sexual assault, and alcoholism

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tanner

    Listen, I didn't think I would give this 5 stars (No shade against the author; I've changed up my rating scale - 0 no opinion, 1 - horrible, 2 promising but bad, 3 - good worthy read, 4 excellent everyone should try, 5 best book ever and tells my story*** ) Now, I only typed all that out because of the five star description - tells my story. So, as a trigger warning and as a nod to the importance of these characters and their stories; intimate partner violence, child abuse, suicide (general ment Listen, I didn't think I would give this 5 stars (No shade against the author; I've changed up my rating scale - 0 no opinion, 1 - horrible, 2 promising but bad, 3 - good worthy read, 4 excellent everyone should try, 5 best book ever and tells my story*** ) Now, I only typed all that out because of the five star description - tells my story. So, as a trigger warning and as a nod to the importance of these characters and their stories; intimate partner violence, child abuse, suicide (general mental health stuff). For those who need it NOW flip to the back of the book for hotline numbers. Laurie Devore - thank you for this book. As a person who has lived abuse in more ways that I would ever have dreamed of, I'll tell you there's a darkness that settles inside you with all of that anguish. As a person who was a young adult, and a young child facing the kind of abuse written in this book : these are not angsty teens. These are traumatized teens. The reason I like this book so much is because it hands readers a raw look into some of the horrors people live, in real life. And - it refuses to give you a heroine who is *fixed* by: a boy, a friend, a person, an object. You are given a real person (sorry people) who is/are FIGHTING FOR THEIR LITERAL WILL TO LIVE. Oh man, I loved this story. One does not walk away from trauma thinking pure thoughts. You carry it like a scar, always. But, for those who need to hear this: Scars fade. With time, with care, with patience. Sometimes scars need a long time, sometimes they need a week, or even a day. The point here is - wait. Wait for a moment, a fragment in time where life shows you BEAUTY. Perhaps that's a person, but most of the time its something seemingly insignificant. Always fight to survive, and keep fighting to live - wait for those moments. Because those moments, like salve to a scar, soften the edges and the itch of the traumas. Laurie - I don't know if it was you or a close friend/family member who experienced a similar life to me or your characters, but you captured this issue beautifully, awfully truthfully. Thank you. Take care of yourself. Sidenote: clearly I've read this before the original release - I received an ARC from the author/on Netgallery. I did not have to give a review and if I did share my thoughts the only stipulation was honesty.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    A Better Bad Idea is my first read by Laurie Devore, but I’ve had my eye on Winner Take All since it came out and now I’m definitely going to go back and read it. A Better Bad Idea is a contemporary novel exploring life in a small Southern town, prejudices that echo through generations, how the choices we make can determine the course of our lives, and the impact of domestic violence on all involved. All three of our main characters (two alive, one dead) are damaged and are somewhat unreliable n A Better Bad Idea is my first read by Laurie Devore, but I’ve had my eye on Winner Take All since it came out and now I’m definitely going to go back and read it. A Better Bad Idea is a contemporary novel exploring life in a small Southern town, prejudices that echo through generations, how the choices we make can determine the course of our lives, and the impact of domestic violence on all involved. All three of our main characters (two alive, one dead) are damaged and are somewhat unreliable narrators, so if you appreciate books with complex and damaged characters, stories of small town life, and/or books that deal with real-world issues, then this is one you should pick up. Fair warning, there is both discussion and depiction of domestic violence in this book, so please be aware if that is a trigger for you. I actually lost my sister to domestic violence in January 2008, when I was a few months pregnant with my son. However, the focus here is more on the connections between Evelyn, Reid, and Ashton and the aftermath of Evelyn and Ashton’s *first* bad idea, so I didn’t think this book would hit me so hard. But then, at the very end, there is one little scene in the general store that just had me gushing. Yes, it’s a difficult book to read, but it’s also a special one, telling a story that’s far too common, but with an ending that will make your heart feel lighter. I highly recommend this one! Also!!! Please, I implore you, read this piece from Laurie for The Mary Sue, “The Rise and Fall of the Unlikeable Female Character”. Rating: 4 stars! **Disclosure: I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher for purposes of this blog tour. This review is voluntary on my part and reflects my honest rating and review of the book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Justice Hill

    Thank you so much to Turn the Page Tours and author Laurie Devore for sending me a copy of this jaw-dropping book in exchange for an honest review. A Better Bad Idea surprised me in a so many ways. Devore’s writing being paired with these raw characters was just an amazing combination. The writing style is truly unique and the way the book’s timeline flows will have you anxious the entire time you are reading the book. BUT anxious in a good way! Evelyn and Reid’s characters truly read like a teena Thank you so much to Turn the Page Tours and author Laurie Devore for sending me a copy of this jaw-dropping book in exchange for an honest review. A Better Bad Idea surprised me in a so many ways. Devore’s writing being paired with these raw characters was just an amazing combination. The writing style is truly unique and the way the book’s timeline flows will have you anxious the entire time you are reading the book. BUT anxious in a good way! Evelyn and Reid’s characters truly read like a teenager and their thoughts were sometimes erratic, but in all honestly my thought process was a lot like this growing up as well. I really related to their need to escape the life that they have been given. While I was reading I found myself comparing Reid and Evelyn to each other quite a lot even though they grew up and ended up in different circumstances. I find that this helped to bring A Better Bad Idea full circle and tie everything together in the end. The plot of this book is so so good. I am not going to say a lot about it because I think going into the story with just the blurb is enough. But it has been a very long time since a contemporary book hit me this hard. I completely felt for these characters and the story Devore has written for them. Evelyn and Reid are going to be on my mind for a very long time. The story’s setting being in South Carolina really hit a soft spot in my heart. I grew up in SC and I still live here today. Devore’s descriptions of the weather and scenery in SC is so spot on; it truly felt like I was in the story with Evie. It was very hard for me to come back from reading this book at times because reading about my home always makes me not want to put a book down. It is so clear that Devore put her heart into describing the setting for her story. Overall, this book was truly a masterpiece and surprised me with every page.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laura (crofteereader)

    This one is messy - fascinating - a train wreck you can't bring yourself to look away from. Three bisexual (one confirmed, two implied) disasters whirling around each other in a chaotic, toxic orbit : Reid "I must control everything even if that means breaking it just to feel like it's mine" Brewer, Ashton "I feel too much and the only way to let it out is to drink and keep reaching" Harper, and Evelyn "I can only show people what they want to see otherwise they'll see right through to the rotte This one is messy - fascinating - a train wreck you can't bring yourself to look away from. Three bisexual (one confirmed, two implied) disasters whirling around each other in a chaotic, toxic orbit : Reid "I must control everything even if that means breaking it just to feel like it's mine" Brewer, Ashton "I feel too much and the only way to let it out is to drink and keep reaching" Harper, and Evelyn "I can only show people what they want to see otherwise they'll see right through to the rotten core of me" Peters. This trio was fascinating and absolutely wildly f*cked up. I sat down and inhaled the first half of this book in one sitting. Jumping back and forth between Evelyn (present day) and Reid (1-2 years before), we painted a complex but, honestly, rather repetitive picture. Spending so much time with Reid took away from Evelyn's story and left less room for Evelyn's motivations. For example, a big factor for Evelyn is her half-sister but there's very little actual time spent discussing Evelyn's sister - it's all about Reid and Ashton instead. And it starts to really spiral at about 65-75% where I felt like I was just reading the same conversation over and over again. There were a lot of loose threads in the middle that I feel weren't handled - in favor of the dialogue between Ashton and Evelyn. I liked that Reid was a bit more introspective; I think it really helped focus her story in a way that Evelyn's wasn't. But that may also be because we know how Reid's story ends right from page one. {Thank you Fierce Reads for the advanced copy via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review; all thoughts are my own}

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlin Bartlett

    Like her first two books, Laurie Devore's A BETTER BAD IDEA is full of destructive, angry girls. And they have good reason to be. Evelyn doesn't know how to escape her life, the town that views her as trailer trash and a slut, and her mom's abusive boyfriend. On a night of particularly ugly abuse, Evelyn is desperate to protect her younger sister and decides to take matters into her own hands. She collides with Ashton Harper, the town's golden boy who has been on a downhill slide since his girlf Like her first two books, Laurie Devore's A BETTER BAD IDEA is full of destructive, angry girls. And they have good reason to be. Evelyn doesn't know how to escape her life, the town that views her as trailer trash and a slut, and her mom's abusive boyfriend. On a night of particularly ugly abuse, Evelyn is desperate to protect her younger sister and decides to take matters into her own hands. She collides with Ashton Harper, the town's golden boy who has been on a downhill slide since his girlfriend Reid's death, and together they formulate a plan. This book is full of characters who make one bad decision after another, but for reasons I understand. Laurie Devore writes some of the best angry, complicated girls in YA today, and I loved getting down to the nitty gritty messes that are Evelyn and Reid. These girls so desperately want to be loved but are terrified about what that might entail, so they armor themselves with the reputations the town gives them, earned or otherwise. Most of this book takes place with Evelyn and Ashton on the run, and I wish we were given more of a solid plot structure at times -- it was hard to build up any anticipation because I wasn't sure where we were going, other than getting to know Evelyn, Reid, and Ashton's dark insides. Laurie is a master at crafting those poor, dying southern towns whose occupants want nothing more than to escape. Everything from dialogue to setting to metaphors aligns to paint the picture. If you're a fan of SADIE or any Courtney Summers book, definitely give this one a try! Thanks to NetGalley and and Macmillan for the e-ARC! (CW: abuse, alcoholism, murder)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shay | Books Are Magic Too

    Recently I’ve seen a lot of chatter about “unlikeable” protagonists, and I don’t know about you, but sometimes the characters that you’re MADE to dislike are my favorites because they add so much to the story. This character driven title was the perfect read for going in clueless (my favorite way to read!) and I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I read this one & how much I enjoyed Devore’s writing style. The dual POV with two different characters, one present day & one past, I was immedia Recently I’ve seen a lot of chatter about “unlikeable” protagonists, and I don’t know about you, but sometimes the characters that you’re MADE to dislike are my favorites because they add so much to the story. This character driven title was the perfect read for going in clueless (my favorite way to read!) and I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I read this one & how much I enjoyed Devore’s writing style. The dual POV with two different characters, one present day & one past, I was immediately hooked into this story. It was my first book by this author, and I’ll be sure to pick up others in the future! While it may have quite a few trigger warnings from violence, to sexual assault, to domestic problems & toxic relationships - this story handles all of these situations within a small town in a way that makes you relate to the characters and hope that they claw their way out of their desperation for something MORE. While this is not a part of my own story, I enjoyed the well thought out characters and how the author chose for her characters to react and, keep the title moving. I don’t want to ruin anything with more details, but this was a book I was glad I had the chance to read thanks to Turn the Page Tours - head over to my blog to enter to win your copy & check out the rest of the tour at https://booksaremagictoo.com/2021/03/...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bri

    Received an eARC in exchange for an honest review. 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 Eve Received an eARC in exchange for an honest review. 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.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Teens on the Run McNair Falls is a dying southern town. Evelyn Peters has lived there her whole life. She’d love to run and make a new life but stays to protect her half-sister from her mother’s abusive boyfriend. She’s still mourning her beautiful friend Reid, who wanted to escape but didn’t make it out of the town alive. She’d also like to connect with Ashton Harper, the golden-boy who was Reid’s boyfriend. One tragic night she and Ashton collide in an incident that sends the world up in flames Teens on the Run McNair Falls is a dying southern town. Evelyn Peters has lived there her whole life. She’d love to run and make a new life but stays to protect her half-sister from her mother’s abusive boyfriend. She’s still mourning her beautiful friend Reid, who wanted to escape but didn’t make it out of the town alive. She’d also like to connect with Ashton Harper, the golden-boy who was Reid’s boyfriend. One tragic night she and Ashton collide in an incident that sends the world up in flames, and they to go on the run. The book is about the three teens trying to come to terms with the past and who they are. The story is told by Evelyn in the present and Reid, who is now dead. A great deal of the book is taken up with the thoughts of these characters which at times makes it a rather slow read. The book is billed as a contemporary thriller, but it could equally be a romance. However, neither fully describes the book. It is a character driven story about teens coming to terms with the world and their place in it. I thought it was well done, The ending tied things up although there seemed to be a number of loose ends in the middle. I received this book from NetGalley for this review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jaye Berry

    This was just basic YA thriller and I'm not impressed. A Better Bad Idea is about a girl named Evelyn who is desperate to get out of her town. She's also desperate to protect her sister from her mother's abusive boyfriend. After one night that ends in flames, Evelyn and fallen golden boy Ashton are on a collision course that starts something they can't stop. This is told from Evelyn and a girl named Reid's point of view in jumping timelines. Reid is dead and Evelyn can't stop thinking about her. A This was just basic YA thriller and I'm not impressed. A Better Bad Idea is about a girl named Evelyn who is desperate to get out of her town. She's also desperate to protect her sister from her mother's abusive boyfriend. After one night that ends in flames, Evelyn and fallen golden boy Ashton are on a collision course that starts something they can't stop. This is told from Evelyn and a girl named Reid's point of view in jumping timelines. Reid is dead and Evelyn can't stop thinking about her. As the chapters count down to what happens, we slowly get a bigger picture of what actually happened in this messed up dysfunctional story. It was so edgy, we have all the substance abuse, domestic violence, murder, arson, slut shaming for some reason? And I just didn't care?? I know I'm dumb but I just couldn't get into the way the story was told and I didn't care for any of the characters. Everything felt dragged out when we basically knew what happened. Then the ending was just a neat bow on it and I sleep. It had potential but for me but it was all so angsty and cringy and I just didn't vibe. YA thrillers just always miss for me.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I'm not sure if enjoy is the right word for this book, but after the last one I was relieved to dive into a well written book. Something that pulled me forward not because I wanted to finish it quickly, but because I needed to find out what happens. This is a story with 2 narrators, Reid in the past and Evelyn in the current and a boy that they both know, Ashton. Reid was the type of person to push people's buttons and not seem to care what people think of her. McNair Falls, SC is too small for I'm not sure if enjoy is the right word for this book, but after the last one I was relieved to dive into a well written book. Something that pulled me forward not because I wanted to finish it quickly, but because I needed to find out what happens. This is a story with 2 narrators, Reid in the past and Evelyn in the current and a boy that they both know, Ashton. Reid was the type of person to push people's buttons and not seem to care what people think of her. McNair Falls, SC is too small for her. She decides she wants Ashton as her boyfriend, but she doesn't always treat him right. Then we meet Evelyn who is from a disadvantaged home, with a step-dad figure who is abusive. Evelyn tries to protect her 6 year old sister but loses it when she as a 17 year old can't protect her from abuse. What happens then is Evelyn doing something reckless and running away with Ashton who has his own problems. It's not an easy book bc TW for discussion of abuse and what Evelyn feels she deserves or whether it matters at all. It's very well written.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Taylor McCabe

    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 ch 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).

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    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 explanatio 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 (view spoiler)[Reid's death was supposed to be that twist (hide spoiler)] , 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.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Angie Jenkins

    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 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!

  27. 5 out of 5

    k_dorman

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I picked up this book after having read How to Break a Boy, which quickly became a favorite of mine. A Better Bad Idea is a bit more complex than How to Break a Boy, but the writing and characters are still strong and captivating. The story follows, Evelyn Peters, a social outcast, whose home life is anything but cheerful and her encounter with fallen golden boy, Ashton Harper, who is still grieving over the death of his girlfriend, beautiful, unpredictable Reid Brewer. Evelyn and Ashton decide I picked up this book after having read How to Break a Boy, which quickly became a favorite of mine. A Better Bad Idea is a bit more complex than How to Break a Boy, but the writing and characters are still strong and captivating. The story follows, Evelyn Peters, a social outcast, whose home life is anything but cheerful and her encounter with fallen golden boy, Ashton Harper, who is still grieving over the death of his girlfriend, beautiful, unpredictable Reid Brewer. Evelyn and Ashton decide to take their fates in their own hands one fateful night and are forced to leave their small town behind. Evelyn begins to uncover things about Ashton that she's not so sure she likes and the more time she spends with him the more she questions if she can even trust him. But Ashton is charming, and allusive and troubled, a combination of things that keep Evelyn drawing even closer to him. The storyline was brilliant. I loved how the story went between Evelyn's point of view and Reid Brewer's point of view before she died. Can't wait to read more by Laurie Devore. Highly recommend A Better Bad Idea for anyone looking for an explosive adventure between two unlikely people.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I’m not the biggest fan of books that are written in a timeline that’s not linear but I didn’t mind it so much with this one! Stealing a quote directly from the book to summarize it without a spoiler: “I wish she hadn’t hurt so much.” I find the story of small town teens full of desire for something else really interesting and thought it was done really well here. I also liked that because the book dealt with some heavy subject matter, there were resources in the back.

  29. 4 out of 5

    linnea h.

    You absolutely must read Laurie Devore’s work at some point in your life I’m BEGGING you. Every single one of her books brings me to a place with girlhood that I wasn’t sure if ever be okay going. There’s honesty here, and violence, and to be seen and heard like this is something special that Laurie is so good at. This book comes out in like a week. Please read it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    You MUST read this book! Laurie Devore creates characters who are so flawed and even some who make such bad choices, but she develops them so you are pulling for them! She has mastered the southern bad girl to perfection! The book holds you to the end with the last third of the book building to the dramatic close! Don’t Miss this one!

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