Book Review

ARC Book Review: This May End Badly by Samantha Markum

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Samantha Markum
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: April 12th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


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.

This May End Badly is a story about friendship, falling in love, and crossing pretty much every line presented to you—and how to atone when you do.

Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for an eARC.


Love a great young adult contemporary with some romance. This is definitely one of those reads!

The romance was so sweet!! I loved the fake dating (of course) and how clearly smitten these two were from the beginning, even if Doe didn’t realize it yet. Occasionally she was too concerned about the reasons they were fake dating, but that played into her character growth by the end. I adored Wells and Doe. I thought they were authentically teens, making some poor decisions and learning how to apologize and accept help. Doe was a wonderfully strong main character and one of the best parts of this book.

Some serious themes were also handled (see trigger warnings). While it didn’t seem to fit the original plot of the story, it did work to bring these two schools together. I think it could have benefitted from a bit more flow, but I love a good teamwork moment and This May End Badly accomplished that.

I liked the prank wars and competing schools. I adored Doe’s entire group of friends and all of the coming of age growth and conversations throughout. A really superb young adult novel you should check out too!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: one fade to black + light innuendo
  • Violence: some pranks that cause minor harm
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: sexual harassment, grooming by a teacher

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