Reviews

This May End Badly by Samantha Markum

*Spoiler free*

Thank you so much to WednesdayBooks and NetGalley for the e-ARC!

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.

I’ve been looking forward to this book since I’ve seen friends rave about it online! If they love it, then it goes on my list to check out haha. But I also learned that it’s about a prank war going on between rival schools that gets very intense, there’s also fake dating, and a group of girls ready to protect their school, which all sounded amazing. Trigger warnings: mentions of sexual assault

This book is so, so good. It deals with messy, complicated characters getting into messy, complicated situations, and it amazing all around.

I adored Doe as a main character, and I adored her so much because I hated her at other times. She’s extremely bold, and will make every brazen choice that is put in front of her. She’s passionate, and she lets that passion drive her. If there’s a line drawn in the sand, she’ll look you in the eye as she crosses over it. And this leads her to making choices that kind of suck sometimes, and leads her into sucky situations. And I think that’s what made her so great. She’s not perfect, and she makes bad decisions sometimes. She is so focused on doing what she thinks is right, that she blocks everything else out. And she has to deal with the consequences of that. She has to reckon with what she chose and where those choices led her. She grew, and I loved that about her. I might’ve hated her at points, I might’ve not agreed with her decisions, but she was willing to look at the consequences of her actions head on. And when she takes that passion and puts it into something good, something solid, something that will create good change, wow, it is amazing. Doe is brilliant, headstrong, smart, and amazing, even if she isn’t perfect all the time. I ended up really loving her, which surprised me.

The way this book deals with the complicated situations and messy emotions is amazing. It doesn’t shy away from them. It lets Doe go full force into what she wants, even if she wants looks like it’s not going to end well. And I think that was one of the amazing things about this book, is that it let things get messy and complicated.

I also really loved to see the pranks and schemes that were concocted, because most of them were truly top notch. It’s a pranking book that does pranks extremely well.

The relationships in this book were also amazing. There is fake dating, and oh my gosh the chemistry and the feelings that come about and it’s even enemies-to-lovers as well! The kissing is also freaking amazing.

The friendships were also top notch. It’s a big friend group, and I loved every single one of them. And each of them had their own personalities and lives (I loved how the descriptions of their dorm rooms gave you a peak into their personalities!). These friendships were not smooth sailing throughout the book, because Doe has a lot she has to reckon with. I loved how her friends pushed her to be better, because that is what friends are supposed to do. They all love each other, and their dynamic was incredible.

Pretty much all the side characters were incredible. I loved how they all turned out to be more than I thought they were going to be. They all seem to have their own stories, and their own struggles. And I was surprised at how I ended up feeling about some of them, in a good way!

Even the parents were cool! There is even a bisexual dad!

Another thing I loved about this book was how it examined gender in the face of all girls and all boys school. It didn’t ignore the existence of trans people, which I really appreciated. It also looked at how just because something is perfect for one person, doesn’t mean it is perfect for everyone.

I really, really loved this book. I loved it’s messiness, it’s friendships, it’s fake dating, I loved the sisterhood of Weston girls, I loved the ending, I was grinning so much. It is such a good book.

This May End Badly comes out April 12, 2022! You can add it on Goodreads and pre-order a copy in the meantime!

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