Book Review: BAD THINGS HAPPEN HERE by Rebecca Barrow

I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in white on pink-yellow-green background
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: standalone


Book cover for BAD THINGS HAPPEN HERE: title in white on a pink orange and green beach arial shot

The island of Parris: paradise or poison?

Luca Laine Thomas lives in Parris, the beautiful island plagued by the unsolved deaths of young women – most significantly, Luca’s best friend. All Luca wants is to heal from the traumatic loss and leave her feelings of guilt and helplessness behind.

Then Luca comes home to find the police at her house. Her sister, Whitney, is dead.

Luca and Naomi, the new girl next door, decide to take the investigation into their own hands, and along the way their connection deepens. Soon, their casual touches and innocent flirtations become something way more real. But finding out what happened on the night of Whitney’s disappearance reveals lie upon lie.

Nothing is as it seems. Will Luca’s search finally reveal truth about her sister’s murder? And will she unravel and escape the clutches of the curse and survive Parris?

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


BAD THINGS HAPPEN HERE is a tense, gulp-it-down-in-one mystery about an island of the super rich where girls have a habit of dying and everyone blames them. It’s such a hard book to put down as initially there are no suspects, so there is just this feeling of the curse. That makes this mystery a necessity to solve or other girls will continue to be hurt because no one is disrupting the pattern of brushing it under the rug and giving killers free passes to get away with it.

This book is such a good portrait of fears and entitlement and self-protection. Why rock the boat with an investigation that might hurt someone on the island when the girl herself can be blamed for her own death? And, of course, the rich themselves have a tangled web of secrets and lies and masks they show the world, a rotten underside to their paradise of an island – one Luca is going to see seeping through as she searches for answers.

There is also an exploration of grief in this book, both immediate grief and the lingering grief from a historic event. I loved that that messy tangle was allowed to shown so unapologetically. Luca’s grief is not the “feminine” one of pretty tears and meekness that is usually shown in media. It’s raw and angry and depressed and lonely all at once, and I liked seeing that reality, all those jagged pieces trying to find a place to sit inside, trying to keep going despite the pain because the world thinks it’s time you “moved on.”

The twists (one after another) at the ending were so good. Even though there wasn’t enough information for the reader to get the first few (because the information reveal that gave you that information was also the twist), they felt so in keeping with the atmosphere of the book thus still felt very satisfying. (Usually, if I don’t think I could have worked out a twist based on previous information, I tend not to enjoy them, but I did here.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s