Mia and the Bad Boy: Why I Don’t Read Romance Often

Mia and the Bad Boy (Backstage Pass #2)

Lisa Burstein

Rate: 2

I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

So I’m going to preface this book by saying that I didn’t realize that Mia and the Bad Boy was the second book in a series. The first book is Aimee and the Heartthrob by Ophelia London (yes, the first book is by a different author). You don’t have to read the first book to read the second, but the two stories do share characters and a universe. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, on to my review of Mia and the Bad Boy.

Misleading cover and synopsis: The cover, if you really analyse it, makes it seem like Mia is the type of girl that wears rockstar style clothing, plays the guitar, and makes out with guys against a brick wall. That’s not true. Mia is the pink-polo-shirt-wearing type of girl, she can’t play the guitar to save her life, and until much later in the book, she’s never been kissed. The cover tries to make it seem like Mia is some sort of bad-ass or that she turns into some type of bad-ass, but that’s not what happens (but more on that later).

Furthermore, the synopsis makes it seem like Mia can’t stand who Ryder really is and that she doesn’t want to be making out with him, but really she gets over crass attitude fairly quickly and wants to be with him. The summary implies that Mia is trying not to vomit when kissing Ryder when really she’s trying to stop herself from kissing him more.

Descriptions: If you like science, then this story is for you. Imagine an author just trying to explain that a character blushed, but using the scientific process of it happening in the body to get the point across. That is Mia and the Bad Boy. I didn’t sign up to read a science textbook so I rather see blush or cry than the scientific equivalent. Additionally, at the beginning of the book, it seemed like Burstein added descriptions as an afterthought. For example, (this is NOT a direct quote) she would write, “Mia nervously smoothed down her hair. It was stick straight.” Instead of saying, “Mia nervously smoothed her straight hair.” The former just seems like a hasty addition instead of a deliberate description.

Mia: Mia begins as your stereotypical goody-two-shoes: to her, curse words are jarring, talking and thinking about anything sexual is embarrassing, and rules are meant to be followed. These aren’t bad things. I’m sure people are raised like this. What bothered me about Mia was that she had a difficult time separating fantasy-Ryder from real-Ryder and she blamed Ryder for turning “bad.” The first problem is pretty self-explanatory: either accept people for who they are or cut them out of your life. The second, however, shows a problem with Mia than a problem with Ryder. Ryder didn’t make Mia bad, he didn’t force her to do anything she ultimately didn’t want to do. However, away from the watchful eyes of her parents, Mia was able to fully be herself, take risks, and do things she normally wouldn’t do. She blames this change of behavior on Ryder when really her behavior is a product of her taste of freedom. The blurb insinuates that Ryder pressures Mia into “being bad”, but other than a brief incident of breaking and entering, Mia doesn’t do anything that’s essentially wrong. Yes, she’s going against her parents’ well wishes, but that doesn’t make her bad. I just didn’t like how Mia blamed Ryder for her taking advantage of being away from her parents.

Things parents should never say to their child(ren):  I understand first hand the kind of pressure family can put on a teenager to succeed in life. While my mom just wants to see me succeed in whatever makes me happy, meaning get as many A’s as possible and as little B+’s as possible and have a career not a job, my grandfather, who plays an active role in my life, sees success as straight A’s and a PhD in a meaningful career. It’s a message I’ve heard since the first grade so I understand the pressure Mia is under to conform to her mother’s wishes and “be a good girl.” However, some of the things Mia’s mother said are things that no parent or family member should ever say to a child.

  • “You don’t sound very excited. This is the beginning of everything we’ve been working for.”

Unless you (the parent) have taken tests for your child or done assignments for your child, you don’t get to take credit for the work they’ve put in and you don’t get to judge them on how excited they are. One thing my mother and grandfather don’t do is take credit for my success. My success is the product of my hard work and it’s offensive for someone to come in and take credit for it. We didn’t write my final paper, did.

  • “You’re on your way to making us proud.”

Woah, at 16 I would think that Mia’s done something to make her parents proud, but no according to her mother she’s only on her way to making them proud. If there’s one sure-fire way to hurt a child, teenager, adult, person, alien, etc., it’s telling him/her that you’re not proud of them and that they haven’t done anything to make you proud yet.

Excuse my little non-story related ranty bit about parents, but it’s finals time and I would flip the script if someone said these things to me.

Why I gave this story a 2 (other than the parents bit): At the beginning of the book, Entangled Teen Crush warns that the story contains mature language and sexual situations, which I didn’t mind. The story is by no means an erotica, but I wasn’t going to be surprised by some curse words or heavy petting. What bothered me was the realisticness of the situation. Mia and Ryder are together a month. That’s not how long they’re dating, that’s how long their arrangement will last. Yet Mia goes from having never been kissed before to giving up her V-card. I’m by no means slut-shaming, but I didn’t find it at all realistic that she would be making such progress in a relationship that she wasn’t sure was a relationship with a guy that she wasn’t completely sure would still talk to her at the month’s end. I told myself while reading this book that if Mia and Ryder had sex, I was giving up on this book. I wasn’t going to stop reading it, though I was pretty sure of how the story was going to go from all the romance movies I’ve watched, but I knew that if it happened there was no way I was rating this book above a two so now this story is stuck with a 2.

Overall, Mia and the Bad Boy isn’t bad. It may not seem that way from my review, but it isn’t bad. Mia and the Bad Boy is what I imagine a rom-com would be like if it starred One Direction and one of the members of the group was the lead actor.


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