Cover image for Very bad things
Very bad things
McBride, Susan, 1964- , author.
First Edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Delacorte Press, [2014]
Physical Description:
227 pages ; 22 cm
"When a photo of Katie's popular boyfriend Mark having drunken sex with a tattooed girl at a party goes viral at their exclusive boarding school, Katie is devastated. Mark swears that he doesn't remember anything. But Rose, the girl in the photo, is missing--and Katie receives a gruesome present in the mail: a badly wrapped severed hand with a red rose tattoo"--
Reading Level:
HL 710 Lexile.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Young Adult

On Order



A dark, moody, boarding-school murder mystery teens won't be able to put down.

Katie never thought she'd be the girl with the popular boyfriend. She also never thought he would cheat on her--but the proof is in the photo that people at their boarding school can't stop talking about. Mark swears he doesn't remember anything. But Rose, the girl in the photo, is missing, and Mark is in big trouble. Because it looks like Rose isn't just gone . . . she's dead.

Maybe Mark was stupid, but that doesn't mean he's a killer.

Katie needs to find out what really happened, and her digging turns up more than she bargained for, not just about Mark but about someone she loves like a sister: Tessa, her best friend. At Whitney Prep, it's easy to keep secrets . . . especially the cold-blooded kind.

"I'll read anything by Susan McBride." --#1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris

People are saying GOOD THINGS about VERY BAD THINGS . . .

"A compelling mystery that will suck readers in and keep them turning the pages to reach the exciting conclusion." -- Joelle Charbonneau , New York Times bestselling author of The Testing

"Fans of the Pretty Little Liars series will appreciate the high drama and plot twists."-- School Library Journal

"Fast-paced, well-crafted . . . this will be a popular book."-- VOYA

"A white-knuckled climax."-- Booklist

"An eerie psychodrama."-- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"The venerable yet sinister school, complete with a web of subterranean steam tunnels, is as absorbing as the tightly wound mystery."-- Publishers Weekly

Author Notes

SUSAN MCBRIDE is the award-winning author of fiction for adults and teens. She lives in a suburb of St. Louis with her husband, their daughter, and two cats who think they're dogs. You can visit her at and on Facebook at SusanMcBrideBooks.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Katie didn't feel out of her league dating popular jock Mark, because the two fit together so well. But when pictures of Mark with Rose surface, and then Rose's severed hand identifiable by its rose tattoos is delivered to Katie's prep school dorm, she realizes she is in way over her head. The eerie scent of roses seems to follow her everywhere, and Katie wakes at odd hours certain that she is being watched. But by whom? Determined to clear Mark's name and keep herself from ending up like Rose, Katie delves deeper, much to the chagrin of her overprotective roommate and best friend Tessa. Everyone at Whitney Prep has secrets and backstories tinged with tragedy and darkness, making it hard to point the finger of guilt at any one student. Shifting the perspective among Katie, Mark, and Tessa gives the reader a full view as the narrative accelerates into its dramatic, twisting revelations and a white-knuckled climax. Hand this to readers looking for a book teetering between classic romantic suspense and a psychological thriller.--Booth, Heather Copyright 2014 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In her first book for teens, adult author McBride (the Dropout Debutant Mystery series) draws readers into upper-crust society and the dangerous secrets that lie beneath it. Fifteen-year-old Katie has felt unsettled during her four years at a New England prep school, despite having a loyal best friend in her roommate Tessa and dating Mark, a hockey star and the headmaster's son. Lately she has reason to worry: several students seem to want Katie's relationship with Mark to end, and she suspects someone is following her, leaving roses in the library and her room. Then a "sex pic" of Mark and a Katie lookalike circulates, and after the girl in the photo turns up dead, Mark claims he can't remember anything about the night when it was taken. To save her future with Mark, and possibly their lives, Katie tries to find the killer. McBride's fast-paced plot is fueled by jumps between multiple characters' perspectives, and her rendering of the venerable yet sinister school, complete with a web of subterranean steam tunnels, is as absorbing as the tightly wound mystery. Ages 12-up. Agent: Christina Hogrebe, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-Katie has mostly recovered from the tragedy of her father's suicide and is excited about her future: graduation and college with her boyfriend Mark, a popular hockey athlete. She attends a prep school on scholarship and has found a best friend in her roommate Tessa. Katie's senior year takes a sudden turn, though, when a mysterious package arrives at the dorm for her and contains a gruesome object within. Soon she's questioning who she can trust and trying to piece together a story from a hazy night of partying that resulted in the death of an innocent teen girl. Fans of Sara Shepard's "The Pretty Little Liars" series (HarperCollins)√Öwill appreciate the high drama and plot twists. The horror elements are tame making this book appealing for middle grade readers as well as teens.-Samantha Lumetta, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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