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.
Title: This May End Badly
Author: Samantha Markum
Publication Date: April 12, 2022
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
A great prank-filled plotline and a FANTASTIC fake dating trope. Sign me up for boarding school!
There were so many things to love about this book so I’ll start with the characters. Our main character, Dorothy (Doe), is the ringleader for a group of girls who prank the neighboring all-boys boarding school. She has a great group of friends, an outgoing personality, and lots of people seem to really like her. Then everything starts going wrong, starting with the announcement that her school and the all-boys school with merge together the following year.
While on the surface Doe has an obsessive behavior about saving her school from dooming itself (aka merging with the boys’ school), there’s really more to it/her than obsession. Her school was her saving grace many years ago and she feels like she owes it to the school and future girls to save it. Plus, she’s a little terrified of growing up and moving on with her life. We continually see this theme in her actions and as the people around her point it out. It’s a real problem that she has to recognize and work on throughout the book. We see a lot of growth in her towards the end of the book, but I did still feel like there was some unresolved-ness about her future towards the end.
Next, I have to talk about Wells, Doe’s fake boyfriend that she’s using to pull off the ultimate prank against her archnemesis. He is a great fake boyfriend! Normally fake dating couples are afraid to touch each other or are just very stiff and awkward around one another. Wells just jumps right in with the ear whispering, or the hand holding, or the little kisses (so many cute little kisses). He’s a natural fake dater. But I also loved that he felt very natural and free in every scene. He was so easy to like and just made me smile every time he was in a scene.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t say Christian Page was coming for my heart for a second. Wouldn’t mind reading a book about him.
The pranking plotline was a lot of fun for me. The pranks were unique and made me laugh out loud multiple times. And in general, I thought the plot moved at a good pace. I will mention that this book seemed a little long for some reason? I was reading it on my phone so I’m not entirely sure if this book was actually longer than most contemporary romances, but it just seemed longer time wise. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as I wasn’t bored. But I did notice it.
I also want to point out that there is a ‘school predator that is a teacher’ storyline in this book. It’s not really addressed until the end, but it’s definitely discussed throughout the book. I’m not entirely sure why Markum chose to include this storyline in the book as it felt like a different vibe from everything else. I don’t think it was bad or poorly written for the most part, I’m just not really sure why it was included in the book.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am so happy I got to know the Wellborn boys and the girls of Weston.
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed a gifted and advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.