Book Review: Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow

“The island of Parris: paradise or poison?”

Set to be published on 28th June, Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow follows Luca who 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. Will Luca’s search finally reveal the truth about her sister’s murder? And will she unravel and escape the clutches of the curse and survive Parris?


Thank you to NetGalley for a free advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

An atmospheric young adult thriller with dark secrets and a haunting curse, Bad Things Happen Here is the perfect book for young readers this summer. With refreshing characters, a beautiful setting, and a modern observation of what it is to be young and explore one’s self and sexuality, all with a bit of murder on the side.

As with most young adult thrillers, the thriller aspect is only a small part of the story which only had much of an impact at the end. But before that, Bad Things Happen Here is a brilliant coming-of-age story with phenomenal representation, so I would consider it more of a powerful exploration of identity than just a thriller.

Luca is a brilliantly original lead character. Although she has her flaws, she’s also very confident, empowering and headstrong, all of which make her an engaging character to follow.

I was hoping for more descriptions of the island as I couldn’t really picture Parris away from the book’s cover, but the small-town setting works well to heighten the tensions and I really got a feel of summer with the lazy days spent with friends and the spark of new relationships.

I could really see this being made into an indie film with talented young actors set against beautiful sunset-hued backdrops and an indie pop soundtrack, so I think Barrow perfectly captures that sense of melancholy and the emotions of being on the cusp of adulthood.

Barrow is sure to be a very popular author with young adult readers as this is exactly the kind of book that we need to see in our modern all-encompassing world, and it’s definitely one that I would recommend this summer.


Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow
Release Date: 28th June 2022
Print Length: 353 pages
Genre: Young Adult Thriller
Publisher: Hot Key Books

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