Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Mad World by Hannah McBride


I saw this recommended as a suggested read for another book I had enjoyed and the pretty cover and summary intrigued me enough that I was eager to pick this up (plus it's named after an awesome song). MAD WORLD is about Madison, a girl from the proverbial side of the tracks and daughter of a drug addict, who lives in a double-wide trailer. One day, she sees a news article about a girl who looks just like her named Madelaine, except this girl is the daughter of a rich business tycoon and has the whole world wrapped around her finger. But-- coincidentally enough-- they have the same birthday.

When Madison reaches out to her, Madelaine eventually writes back. The two of them realize that they are twins separated at birth, and Madelaine decides that wouldn't it be fun if they Parent Trap it and swap places for a couple months to meet each others' parents and get a taste of each others' lives? Madison reluctantly agrees and is instantly thrown into the shark-infested waters of her twin's polished life, and comes to the disturbing realization that actually, Madelaine is kind of a bitch. And soon, she's a dead bitch.

Now Madison is the only twin left and her father expects her to take her sister's place. But with an entire school that hates her for reasons that she still isn't clear on, and a fiance who seems to think her lower than slime, all of the varnish of this shiny new life has abruptly peeled off, and Madison starts to realize that a gilded cage is still a cage.

So I really enjoyed this book. Was it a perfect read? No. But I ate up every moment of it. The pacing and suspense were excellent and I loved the attention the author paid to every character, not just the mains. Unlike a lot of heroines in these bully romance stories, I liked that there were some valid reasons for the bullying in question, and I liked the heroine's feminist streak. She also had some really great female friendships in here, especially with Bex, and that's something I love to see. I also liked the romance, although the author brands this as a "college bully romance," and it really isn't. It's set in the heroine's senior year of high school. If I had known it was a high school romance, I probably wouldn't have picked it up, because I don't like reading smutty high school stories. The author was pretty tasteful about it, though. The book doesn't get smutty until after the heroine turns eighteen, and most of the focus of the book is on the building of romance and emotional connection, which I really appreciated.

While reading, I waffled between a four and five star rating. It did a couple things that annoy me, like the use of whisper-scream and whisper-hiss (please don't), and sometimes the dialogue could be a little canned or corny (especially during sex scenes). Plus, it straight up lied to me about being set in college. But for the most part, this was just really addicting and fun, in the same way that Zodiac Academy and Royals of Forsyth were addicting and fun, and it won me over to a genre of books that I don't typically like or enjoy reading. With a cliffhanger that cruel, I will absolutely be diving into the next book in the series very soon. Thank God it's already out. I feel so, so sorry for the people who were reading these in real time and had to wait.

4.5 out of 5 stars

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