Bad Romeo (Starcrossed #1) – Leisa Rayven REVIEW

I can’t help but wonder if perhaps Bad Romeo wasn’t the right book choice for me, that being said I did find it compulsively readable and entertaining. That is if you consider being entertained varying degrees of wanting to smack the main characters heads together.


Bad Romeo 

Leisa Rayven

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.

Like the majority of the population I abhor the idea of performing in public, whereas for Cassie acting is a type of catharsis. A calling that she neither can, nor wishes to, resist. Cassie was born with a terrible affliction, the almost complete inability to make a decision on her own. The exception being her one act of rebellion applying to the exclusive and highly sought after drama school The Grove in New York City. Desperate to fit in she is a follower of the worst sort, however her vacuous nature seems to work to her advantage in the audition process as when she confesses that she has no idea who she really is in the final interview that piece of honesty and perhaps the blistering chemistry with another student gains her acceptance to the program.


It is at these auditions that she meets Ethan Holt, who for some bizarre reason in my mind, is the spitting image of Despicable Me 2’s Antonio Perez. Ethan is the stereotypical loner, of course the only person that he deigns to communicate with, when he isn’t ignoring the world, is Cassie. Alternating between the present, where now the wildly successful actors are set to star in another play together after a bad breakup, and six years past when their electric performance in Romeo and Juliet resulted in the commencement and later demise of their off stage relationship.

Yeah, sure, I can do a passionate play with my ex-lover, who broke my heart not once, but twice. No problem. I bang my head against the wall.
If there were a Nation of Stupid People, I would be their queen.
Leisa Rayven, Bad Romeo

In the present it is as if the two have changed places Cassie has reacted to the heartbreak Ethan inexplicably caused with drunkenness, chain smoking and a string of one night stands as if adopting Ethan’s modus operandi when it comes to relationships. Whereas Ethan is repentant and seems to want to have a happily ever after with Cassie. I found the connection between the main characters somewhat contentious at times particularly from Cassie’s perspective where Ethan spent the majority of their past in turns invading her privacy, shunning her and when he did acknowledge their attraction it was only to tell her that he could never give her what she wanted other than the possibility of really good sex.


For the most part I found I liked Bad Romeo despite myself, I would credit this to the author’s obvious skill as a writer that I would continue to read even when I endangered myself with the threat of an incipient migraine from excessive eye rolling at the actions of these two boneheaded characters. To be fair my lack of tolerance for their great angst could also be attributed to the fact that I could not help but imagine my own offspring in their place and how horrified I would be if in ten or so years my seven year old daughter were to become involved with someone of Ethan’s ilk, a man-child with abandonment, trust and Daddy issues. What is wildly romantic at eighteen or even twenty something is strangely less so once one becomes a parent.

Given that this is her debut work I can only expect that her next offering will hopefully be somewhat less overwrought. Not that I doubt for a moment Bad Romeo and the next in the series will have a wide range of fans and despite my own reservations I am sure I will pick up Broken Juliet by dint of curiosity if not a previously undiagnosed streak of masochism.



Author, actor, lover of guacamole. Afraid of clowns and fluent in sarcasm. World class snuggler.

Repped by Christina Hogrebe of the Jane Rotrosen Agency.

Debut novel, BAD ROMEO, to be released December 23rd 2014 (Macmillan)



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