The Story: This May End Badly
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.
From the Publisher:
When a high stakes boarding school prank war leads to a fake dating scheme, two teens must decide if they are ready to take the ultimate risk — falling in love.
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.
My Review: This May End Badly
Okay friends, ever have a novel where you don’t know how many stars to give it?
This one has my pendulum swinging, like a compass whose dial can’t seem to find North, trying to pin point where I land in rating This May End Badly. On the one hand the book is written well, with characters who feel like seniors on the cusp of adulthood. The fake dating is great with the hints of enemies to lovers trope intertwined with the fake relationship.
I think what doesn’t work for me are few things.
First, the school rivalry. I’ve never been a fan of the idea of pranking or the notion of one school is better than the other. And through most of the story some of Doe’s antic ideas are border line mean. In this equation, when it comes to pranking, it always escalates to eventually someone getting hurt. So why promote or be part of it? And I think the author realizes this because of how Doe’s friends react to her eventual moral unraveling.
Next, Doe herself isn’t a very likeable character. She’s a bit too cocky, self-centered, and egocentric. It seems to be her one goal to make sure everyone knows the rivalry between the two boarding schools and that her school is better than the other. She’ll go through great lengths to ensure this, which for the reader can become… exhausting.
Further, Markum has a lot going on in 384 pages. From the school and family rivalries, fake dating, to the main characters mental health, her friendships, as well as a predator teacher, is to say a lot. And I think raising awareness on academia misconduct and ensuring student safety is relevant, but my concern was how it played out in the overall story.
A Few Last Thoughts
It felt like the author knew that some of the content that she wrote about would raise brows, where readers would begin to ask certain questions. And Markum’s side characters do just that, raising logical questions to Doe’s behavior with little results, because of Doe’s inability (prior to the ending) to see and understand what’s really going on. And further, as a parent, why aren’t parents more aware of what’s going on and doing something about it. But that’s a different topic of discussion altogether with the fact that this is all about a boarding school.
What’s the verdict?
With fake dating that has moments of being utterly adorable, there’s a line readers will have to draw in their head when reading This May End Badly. Whether or not they can see past a character who is taking risks that are harmful, dangerous, and egocentric while wondering if Doe will actually atone for her mistakes and change her ways at the books conclusion.
Happy Reading ~ Cece
RATING: – Adequately Inked
Photo Collage by Sheaf & Ink of This May End Badly
|Pub Date||ISBN||Page Count||Publisher||Age Group||Source & Format||Review Posted Online|
|12-April-22||978-1250799180||384||Wednesday Books||YA||NetGalley, Digital Copy||December 7, 2021|
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