eARC Review – This May End Badly by Samantha Markum

Title: This May End Badly

Author: Samantha Markum

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: April 12, 2022

384 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

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.

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.

Review

I love YA boarding school books. Doesn’t even matter what genre, but I love it. Add in a rival boys school, prank wars with the other school, fake dating, and forced proximity – we have ourselves a book that is specifically targeted for me. And I loved it.

Doe and her friends are starting their senior year at Weston and continuing to prank the Winfield boys school, led by Three – a legacy and one of the five ‘founding family’ types of Winfield. They’ve been at war since freshman year but this year is different – the schools have announced they will be merging for the next academic year. Doe will do anything to stop the merger from happening, she loves the school as it is and takes it upon herself to keep up the pranks. But, she has to get under Three’s skin as well – and fake dating his cousin Wells is the perfect irritant. But, can this fake relationship turn into a real connection before the pranks get away from them?

My only issue with this book was the immaturity that Doe displayed with with her friends and the pranks. I know this was the point – but it was almost too much for me. And then the ending took this book from light-hearted to very serious, it was a bit jarring. It had a great message and I fully support the point behind it, but I wish it had been a bit easier of a transition. I did love Doe and Wells together, and was really glad there wasn’t a hint of a love triangle with Three. I was really worried it would go that way which would upset me – but phew.

Very solid YA contemporary read. Recommend.

Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

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