I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Better When He's Bad by Jay Crownover
Also by this author: Rule, Jet, Rome, Nash, Leveled: A Saints of Denver Novella
Series: Welcome To The Point #1
Published by HarperCollins on 2014-06-17
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, New Adult, Romance, Suspense
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Welcome to the Point . . .There's a difference between a bad boy and a boy who's bad. . . . Meet Shane Baxter.Sexy, dark, and dangerous, Bax isn't just from the wrong side of the tracks, he is the wrong side of the tracks. A criminal, a thug, and a brawler, he was the master of bad choices, until one such choice landed him in prison for five years. Now Bax is out and looking for answers, and he doesn't care what he has to do or who he has to hurt to get them. But there's a new player in the game, and she's much too innocent, much too soft . . . and standing directly in his way.Dovie Pryce knows all about living a hard life and the tough choices that come with it. She's always tried to be good, tried to help others, and tried not to let the darkness pull her down. But the streets are fighting back, things have gone from bad to worse, and the only person who can help her is the scariest, sexiest, most complicated ex-con the Point has ever produced.Bax terrifies her, awakening feelings she never thought she'd have for a guy like him. But it doesn't take Dovie long to realize . . . some boys are just better when they're bad.
Fair warning and full disclosure, I am a total Jay Crownover fangirl. I’ve tweeted at her like twice. When Better When He’s Bad, her first Welcome To The Point book came in the mail, I might have had an excitement meltdown. I am excited for every single book that Crownover releases, and I think this whole NEW SERIES WITH ACTUAL GRIT AND BAD BOYS has pushed me right over the edge. In a good way, of course. I want to put the caveat out there that Better When He’s Bad is totally way different from the Marked Men series, but that’s a good thing. It’s nice to see an author try new things with their writing and succeed at it.
Better When He’s Bad is set in an area where there’s no post code envy called The Point which is basically all of the bad neighborhoods rolled up into one. Dovie is just living her life, sort of, when this guy with a star tattoo on his face shows up at her apartment and she’s like, oh my brother named Race told me to watch for you and that I could trust you. And the guy, whose name is Shane Baxter, is all girl please, I was just in JAIL for a nickel which is prison speak for five years. It is then discovered that Race is missing and he’s like the clue to the puzzle as to whose fault it is that Bax did time and also wrapped up at the center of the conspiracy mystery is Dovie. Meanwhile, while we’re running around all over the Point trying to solve the mystery, Dovie and Bax begin hooking up as people do in New Adult books and it’s kind of mindblowing for both characters. And also a little bit dangerous and alluring. Will Bax lose his heart to Dovie? Will she find her heart broken by Bax? READ THIS BOOK RIGHT THIS SECOND. There’s not really an excuse given that it’s under $5 right this minute as I type this on July 7th.
Yo, Dovie is a total fighter. I mean, you first meet her and are like, how is this girl even hustling in the Point. How does she survive the struggle? But, then we get to know her and we see that she’s had a terrible life. Instead of letting her awful life get her down in the dumps, she uses it as motivation to work hard and make something out of her life. Dovie works two jobs and goes to school at night to be a counselor. Granted, my real life employment hat came on and said, hey, in order to be an actual counselor you need a master’s degree in social work or in mental health counseling, it’s more than a bachelor’s degree and she’s going for her associate’s and then eventually for her bachelor’s. So, that’s why I did that little aside. It’s just an accuracy quibble. Who knows, she may be planning on getting her master’s but it wasn’t mentioned. ANYWAYS. I liked that education is a way out for Dovie and that she’s not doing the typical go away to college after high school route, because her life is anything but typical. So yeah, Dovie might not be physically a badass, but to me she’s a fighter because she never gives up and she doesn’t put up with Bax’s bullshit. I love love love that.
So, the thing about Bax is that he’s violent towards other criminals and is a total felon but also swoonworthy to Dovie. Like, personally, I think that at times he is a bit much and in need of therapy because he has a lot of issues. His family is all kinds of messed up. He went to jail. He grew up boosting cars. He gets out of jail and still walks on the wrong side of the law. Oh, and the whole violence thing. He’s also definitely arrogant and big and bad. BUT despite all of this, he’s good to Dovie. He’s honest with her and upfront about the fact that he did not immediately look at her and fall and love and think she was the hottest thing ever. No, that stuff took time for him and he admits it. He admits he thought she was basic when he met her. He’s pretty talented at the adult times too, that’s one thing I noticed about his character.
So, okay, to really break this down for you, I actually really, really liked Better When He’s Bad. I mean, it’s not quite Marked Men love for me, but it was good. You should know I’m not about the violent actual literal felon characters, which definitely impacted my feels for Better When He’s Bad. Crownover does a fantastic job with plotting and character development and making situations that I am like, what even is this, seem plausible. When it comes to New Adult, her books are my gold standard, and well, this one passes with flying colors and I will totally be on the lookout for the next book in the series: Better When He’s Bold which is Race’s story and releases in like 2015, I think.