Dorothy “Doe” Saltpeter and her friends are ready to make their senior year at the Weston School for girls their best yet, which means pulling the most outrageous pranks on Winfield Academy, the rival boys’ school across the road. But when the two schools announce a shocking merger, Doe is forced to interact with Winfield students, including smug, wealthy Three, her sworn enemy.
To aggravate Three, Doe proposes a fake relationship with his cousin, Wells, who has his own reasons for agreeing to the ruse. As Doe’s and Wells’ lies begin to unravel, Doe uncovers a dark secret plaguing the Weston School, which forces her to rethink her commitment to pranks and rivalries and decide where her priorities truly lie.
This May End Badly is a fun, insightful novel that introduces an instantly appealing heroine. Doe and her group of prankster girlfriends are easy to root for, their pranks ingenious and clever, and her witty relationship with Wells is buoyant and charming.
Yet for all the levity offered by dueling schools and prank wars, This May End Badly thoughtfully explores serious issues as well. During the course of Doe’s school year, debut author Samantha Markum examines harmful family dynamics, childhood trauma and sexual harrassment. Doe must learn to take responsibility for her actions and use her voice, even when that means partnering with people she once considered enemies.
This May End Badly captures the excitement and transitions experienced by many teens during their final year of high school. Doe finds it difficult to say goodbye to her childhood and step into adulthood, which is compounded by the huge changes her friends and beloved school are undergoing. At first, she stubbornly clings to her adolescence and is willing to go to great lengths to keep every aspect of her life, including her relationships, school and responsibilities, exactly how it’s always been.
But as her friends choose colleges, the Weston School enters a new era and Doe’s love life blooms, Doe begins to acknowledge that it’s time to grow up. Along the way, she discovers that becoming an adult isn’t so bad—especially when it means growing with the people you love.