Genre: New Adult Romance
I was infatuated with Asher Kelley the moment he came tumbling through my brother’s window five years ago.
Even bruised and bloodied, he was the most beautiful boy I’d ever seen.
We couldn’t ever be together.
I was too young, and he was too untouchable.
He was too troubled, and I was too naive.
But the heart is rebellious, and mine decided it didn’t care about any of those things.
As I got older, harmless flirting turned to stolen moments in dark corners.
Until one day, he was gone without a trace.
Now, three years later, he’s back.
Callous and cruel.
He’s my brother’s best friend. My parents’ worst nightmare.
I should hate him.
But like a Bad Habit, I can’t quit him.
I was drawn to Briar Vale from the first time she looked up at me with stars in her big, blue eyes.
She was just a kid, nothing but elbows and knees, but she was the most beautiful creature I’d ever seen.
We could never be together.
I was too old and she was too off limits.
She was too good and I was too fucked up.
Eventually, the temptation became too much to resist.
I risked everything for a kiss and she betrayed me.
Three years have passed and I’m forced to see her again, but now she’s all grown up.
She’s my best friend’s baby sister. My downfall.
I hate her for what she did.
But she’s always been my drug of choice.
Is it a sign that I’m getting older when I say I found Bad Habit to be incredibly problematic? Almost everything about Bad Habit has some problematic twist on it. From the age of the characters to the male love interest, there’s something that makes the reader uncomfortable throughout.
Briar is fourteen years old when the novel opens with a sexual scene between herself and Asher, who is seventeen. The author, Charleigh Rose, does her best to write the scene making Asher look like an innocent victim as Briar throws herself at him, but, ultimately, fails. I’m not usually a reader who gets hung up on age differences between characters because these types of romances exist in real life, so I can’t complain when an author is realistic in their portrayal of relationships since I often complain about how unrealistic romance novels can be. Unfortunately, Rose does not write Briar as a mature fourteen year old. Briar lives up to every connotation of her. Had Briar between written more intellectually, emotionally, and physically mature the scene would have played out differently.
The other issue I had with Bad Habit was Asher as the love interest. He’s angry, slightly violent, and dominating. He’s the typical alpha male, but on steroids. I don’t mind reading these types of male characters, but only when their counterpart is up to the challenge of dealing with their personality. Unfortunately, Brair is incredibly weak when it comes to anything involving Asher. She looses all sense and sensibility once he touches her and becomes putty for him to mould as he sees fit, which then returns us to a conversation about her age and consent.
Finally, Briar has a sexual fantasy that is essentially rape. While I don’t believe in censorship, there are some fantasies that should not be explored in new adult romances. Rape culture is alive and thriving and moments like these add fuel to the already out of control fire.
Overall, Bad Habit is full of clichés and problematic story lines, so I would absolutely not recommend it to anyone.