Book Review: Bad Romeo (Starcrossed #1) by Leisa Rayven

BR-LR-BR copy

I had participated in my second buddy read in July, with the lovely ladies: Michelle from Undeniably Book Nerdy and Reg from SheLatitude. While the entire experience was extremely fun, the same can’t be said about the book. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to post this, because I had no idea how to present my thoughts on this book without being overly critical/negative, but this is what it is.


21411058Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Published Date: December 23rd 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Synopsis: When Cassie Taylor met Ethan Holt at acting school, sparks flew. She was the good girl actress. He was the bad boy about campus. But one fated casting choice for Romeo and Juliet changed it all. Like the characters they were playing, Cassie and Ethan’s romance seemed destined. Until he broke her heart and betrayed her trust. Now the A-list heartthrob is back in her life and turning her world around. One touch at a time.

Cast as romantic leads once again, they’re forced to confront raw memories of the heartbreaking lows and pulse-pounding highs of their secret college affair. But they’ll also discover that people who rub each other the wrong way often make the best sparks


One of my reasons for picking Bad Romeo was because I had such a good experience with Act Like It by Lucy Parker and the whole broadway/theater thing appealed to me so much I was looking to find something similar. There was also all the hype and positive reviews on Goodreads, which got me quite excited, but boy was I wrong on this one. If I wasn’t buddy reading this I would have just DNFed it…but I really tried to plow through it, to give it a chance.

Honestly, NOTHING worked for me in this book. In fact, it had managed to hit most of my pet peeves. I’m only going to list what REALLY bothered me, so let me take you through this in an orderly manner, just so this post won’t end up being overly rant-y.


Some people are picky about the writing, some on plot…for me its the characters! There was absolutely nothing likable about either Cassie or Ethan. If I’d actually liked either one of them…it wouldn’t have been so difficult to get through.

Firstly, Ethan was a first-class douchebag! His temper, his arrogance, along with his hot and cold treatment towards Cassie, all of what was suppose to make him mysterious or angsty had rubbed me the wrong way. Where does he get off with being such a jerk towards others. And even when the reason for his assholic behavior was revealed, it had just disappointed me further. To begin with, there’s no justification for being a jerk, but we are told there’s a reason to his rude personality. So I had expected a good reason, but it just ended up being a whiny insecure excuse, an event in his life that he couldn’t man up and overcome. Even though Ethan eventually becomes a changed man in the present, I still wasn’t impressed.

As for Cassie, I could not relate to her. Past-Cassie was pretty much a horny doormat, and was forever begging Ethan to take her virginity. I’m all for a woman who knows what she wants and is sexually open, but Cassie is just horny; if I had to describe her, she is like a teenage boy who is dicovering sex. For the most part of the book its all about Cassie wanting Ethan sexually. Present-Cassie is no better, I just couldn’t find it in me to like her. Especially, when she was being uncommunicative and difficult. She wants Ethan to apologize, but doesn’t give him the chance to even open his mouth to say the words; she just blocks him out then accuses him of not making an effort. It’s just there to create more unnecessary drama and to show of their immaturity.

Neither character matures throughout the story. It’s like they’re stuck and I just found them unredeemable.

Another issue was that never felt this whole amazing CHEMISTRY that literally EVERYONE in the book keeps repeating that they had whenever Cassie and Ethan were together . I was being TOLD that they have CHEMISTRY but really I didn’t feel anything. There was no tension, and definitely no “chemistry”…they were just two people who were put together and were suppose to fall in love. I never understood why Ethan was SO attracted to Cassie, it was giving me not so great flashbacks of Twilight (how Edward was just DRAWN to Belle because she was SO “fascinating”) from the start we are told why Cassie was attracted to Ethan (mostly for his looks…and how cool he was being apart from the crowd); but what drew Ethan to Cassie? If it was in the book, I totally missed it!


How do I even start with this…since this had seriously frustrated me. The story flip-flops between the past and the present. It starts in the present, then we’re throw back to the past when Cassie and Ethan were drama students in college; then we’re toss back into the present time, then back, then present…etc. I’ve read books with nonlinear narrative and when done right it would be a smooth read. If I had to provide a comparison, reading this was like being in a car and suddenly someone slams on the break, then suddenly you’re going in reverse and suddenly another HARD BREAK, then we moving forward again; back and forth then a hard break, back and forth then a hard break…


THIS REALLY BUGGED ME! It’s mostly on a personal. I don’t think many people caught this, but Cassie’s housemate. Is apparently Malaysian mixed Japanese…which apparently made him look “exotic”. While I can still buy him having a Japanese name if his mom is a single mom…since he’s Japanese on his Mother’s side, so I can’t argue that. But what sorta Malaysian would you need to be to get this exotic mixed Japanese look? I’m Malaysian and being Malaysian is a NATIONALITY not a RACE; we are Malaysians because we were BORN in this country. We are a multiracial, multicultural, multi-religion country. We are made up of Chinese, Indian, Malay, a diverse group of indigenous people, and more. Saying someone has exotic features because they’re Malaysian mixed Japanese, is like saying someone is exotic because he is American mixed Japanese. What sorta American are you? African American, Asian American, Caucasian American, Latino American…? That small detail ruined it for me.


If you had a chance to see my notes of this book, they’re mostly filled with “You’re kidding me“, “SERIOUSLY?“, “How old are these kids?“, “*roll eyes*” “I’m worried my eyes are gonna get stuck with how much eye rolling I’m doing“, etc.

I won’t be reading the second book…and I doubt I’d be reading any of her works which are spun off this series. Perhaps…I’d be willing to try something of a completely different universe from this, since I’m not opposed to giving an author a second chance, just NOT THIS SERIES.

Would I recommend it? NO! Unless you enjoy high angst and non-communicative characters…this supposedly “epic love story” was definitely not epic, and I don’t see how jerking us back and forth through time, makes for sexual tension. I wanted to like this, but I was just left really disappointed.


The original photograph used in the banner was photographed by Aaron Burden taken from



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