Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow
Published on July 28, 2022
Reviewed by Jayde Valosin
There is a curse on the island of Parris. At least, Luca Laine Thomas thinks so. Every few years a girl on the island dies- three years ago it was Luca's best friend, Polly. Now, there's a new family in Polly's house, and everyone but Luca seems content to move on with their lives. When Luca's sister Whitney winds up dead, she can't let Parris win again. Along with her new neighbor (and friend, and maybe something more), Luca is determined to investigate Whitney's death and find out who, or what, hurt her sister. Before the case is solved, secrets will be revealed and more than one betrayal will challenge everything Luca has ever known.
Bad Things Happen Here is a mystery, but it's so much more than that. Far from a fast-paced thriller, this book spends its time weaving together a story of privilege, secrets, and family that will draw you into the investigation right alongside Luca. Rebecca Barrow does an excellent job of creating atmosphere, and bringing to life the feeling of a summer day. Though the island of Parris is pretty universally wealthy and white, Luca's strong sense of self as a Black, queer, fat character is an important component of the story and influence on how she interacts with others in the book. If you liked the setting and mood of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, this book may be a good pick for you. Perfect for beach reading, lazy days, and those who like character-driven stories.