Aussie Book Review: Bad Romeo (Starcrossed #1) by Leisa Rayven

“While performing the greatest love story of all time, they discovered one of their own . . . Cassie Taylor was just another acting student with big dreams at her prestigious performing arts college . . . then she met Ethan Holt. She was the good girl actress. He was the bad boy on campus. But one fated casting choice for Romeo and Juliet changed it all. Like the characters they were playing on stage, Cassie and Ethan's epic romance seemed destined. Until it ended in tragedy when he shattered her heart.

Now they've made it to Broadway where they're reunited as romantic leads once again - and their passionate scenes force them they're forced to confront the heartbreaking lows and pulse-pounding highs of their intense college affair. For Ethan, losing Cassie was his biggest regret - and he's determined to redeem himself. But for Cassie, even though Ethan was her first and only great love, he hurt her too much to ever be trusted again.

The trouble is, working with him again reminds her that people who rub each other the wrong way often make the best sparks. And when it comes to love, sometimes it's the things that aren't good for us that are the most irresistible.”

In Bad Romeo, Cassie Taylor hears that she is going to be cast alongside Ethan Holt in a theatre adaptation of Romeo & Juliet. More than six years before, her and Ethan had been an item at college but she thinks she’s now over him and once again in control of her life. However, when they meet again, all her memories come to the fore and we are taken back to the beginning of the end.

Bad Romeo was one of the last books I read for 2014. As most of you know, it’s not very often that I read and review books from the New Adult genre so, when I received my ARC copy of this novel and read the blurb, I didn’t think that I would like it. But oh boy, have I changed my mind now that I've read it! What started out as Twilight fanfic has turned into something that has the younger generation abuzz and, having said that, I believe that Leisa Rayven is destined for great things.

I really enjoyed this book. Leisa executes the story well by giving it to us from Cassie’s perspective and using flashbacks and emails that Ethan sent to her, which helps to fully develop her characters. All of this as well as her scene setting and dialogue went a long way to drawing me in and keeping me glued to the story. 

The narrative switches between past and present, allowing the reader to piece together what has brought Cassie and Ethan to this point, with Cassie’s voice full of angst, ambivalent emotion and tormenting thoughts.

This is a slow-burning, emotional roller-coaster of a story that gives insight into how it all began and I found myself investing everything I had into Leisa’s characters and their story. The level of pain, anguish and love that she incorporates is simply superb and will keep you engaged until the last page is turned. So, if you enjoy a character-driven romance with a large focus on inner turmoil and introspection, then put Bad Romeo on your list of must reads. After the grand finale of the Twilight saga, I’m sure there are a number of readers out there who are looking for something in a similar vein – only this time, without the vampires. Right now, I'm waiting for the release of the sequel, Broken Juliet, due to be published in May!

Chemistry, unresolved sexual tension and humour set against the backdrop of drama school and Broadway make this highly anticipated debut from Leisa Rayven extremely readable for Romance and New Adult readers alike.

I wish to thank Pan MacMillan for providing me with a hardcopy ARC of this novel.

About the Author

Writing has always been a passion for Leisa, and even though she originally intended to be an actress, it wasn’t long into her time at drama school that she began writing plays.

Those plays were bad. Very bad. Well, her friends thought they were good, but that's because they were always cast in them and any opportunity to be on stage was met with an obnoxious amount of enthusiasm.

Since then, she's honed her craft, and several of her plays have been produced and toured throughout Australia.

These days, playwriting has given way to fiction writing with Bad Romeo being released worldwide during December 2014.

Leisa lives in Australia with her husband, two little boys, three cats, and a kangaroo named Howard.

(Howard may or may not be her imaginary marsupial friend. Everyone should have one.)


  1. I enjoyed reading Bad Romeo too. Will be interested to see how the sequel pans out.

    1. Oh thank goodness I have a kindred spirit Kathryn. I thought I was the only one out of everyone I know that had read it :)


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