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The Accidental Bad Girl

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After getting caught hooking up with her best friend’s ex on the last day of junior year, Kendall starts senior year friendless and ostracized. She plans to keep her head down until she graduates. But after discovering her online identity has been hacked and she’s being framed for stealing from a dealer, Kendall is drawn into a tenuous partnership with the mastermind of a drug ring lurking in the shadows of her Brooklyn private school. If she wants to repair her tattered reputation and save her neck, she’ll have to decide who she really is—and own it. The longer she plays the role of “bad girl,” the more she becomes her new reputation. Friends and enemies, detectives and drug dealers—no one is who they appear to be. Least of all Kendall.

377 pages, Hardcover

First published May 15, 2018

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About the author

Maxine Kaplan

2 books86 followers
Maxine Kaplan lives in her hometown of Brooklyn, NY, where she caters to the whims of a dimwitted, but soulful cat. Her books are THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL and WENCH. Follow Maxine on Twitter @MaxineGKaplan

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5 stars
152 (23%)
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210 (32%)
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205 (31%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 147 reviews
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,084 reviews17.5k followers
April 16, 2018
The Accidental Bad Girl is a book that almost slipped under my radar. With a blurb that promises entertaining drama and not much else, I think I was expecting to find this one good but not great. A three-star read in the making. And those stories have merit, don’t get me wrong. But honestly? It was so much better than that.

I think one of my favorite things about this book, in general, is how it subverts and plays with genre expectations. I liked that this book subtly subverts the usual character dynamics of good girl and slut. I love that despite a premise that leaves a perfect opening for girl hate, this book never gets dragged under, and our lead has several great girl friends. I love that the lead of this book is not a virgin and never shamed herself for not being one. And I love the feminism; there is a tirade against rape culture here hidden under the facade of simple good girl to bad girl drama. Perhaps that’s the best tagline for this book: a lot of depth under a facade of innocent drama.

On the topic of the lead of this book, she is such a badass. I love her. I’m pretty sure I was screaming “iconic” at almost everything she did in this book. like, if any of you remember my literal prereview from right as I finished this book:
the main character of this book is possibly one of the most iconic of all time I love her I would die for her and I would protect her with my own body but she'd definitely be better at protecting herself than I would be at protecting her so I'll let her handle it herself

The side characters are just as compelling; there are around seven major side characters, and every single one has some kind of narrative sympathy or agency within the narrative. [Simone is, obviously, my favorite.]

I honestly don’t know what to say about this one, because it is not what you are going to expect. The Accidental Bad Girl is a strange mix of mystery and contemporary with several clever plot reveals that kind of flipped what I thought I was reading on its head. The Accidental Bad Girl is subversive, dimensional, and totally addicting. Definitely worth a try.

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Profile Image for Jessica ❥Chatterbooks Book Blog❥.
774 reviews2,627 followers
October 27, 2018

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The Accidental Bad Girl by Maxine Kaplan is an entertaining, action packed YA contemporary that has a lot to say. After reading the blurb and the first few pages of the story, I thought I knew the type of book it was going to be and the direction it was going to take, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Maxine isn't your stereotypical "bad girl," and the focus of this novel is much more than "mean girls" and bullying. It brings up a variety of serious topics relevant not just to the young adult audience of the book but to society in general. 

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Don't worry though, there isn't a heavy or melancholy feel throughout the novel. The characters provide lots of entertainment, laughs, and heartwarming moments that make the story feel lighter than it might have otherwise. At times, this book actually seems  a bit over the top and unrealistic, but that contributes to the milder atmosphere of the novel as well. Before going in, you need to be prepared to suspend disbelief, but if you can, there is a lot to appreciate about this story. 

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Kendall is a part of the popular crowd at  school until she's discovered by her classmates in a compromising position with her best friend's ex-boyfriend. Cue the mean girl behavior and slut shaming from friend and company, but that's not all! Kendall's Facebook has been hacked. 

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Her mysterious hacker manages to get her into some hot water with a local drug dealer. Someone stole some of their product, and now that the finger has been pointed in Kendall's direction, she's being blackmailed into working for him by helping to find out who the actual thief is and delivering his product. It doesn't take long for things to spiral out of control, or for Kendall to find out she's in much more danger than she ever realized.

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The constant action and mystery involved in the story sucked me in, intrigued me, and had me questioning everything until the very end. The uncertainty of not just the situation but the characters themselves kept me flipping the pages long after I should have gone to bed. The ending was wild! I don't see how anyone could put the book down after a certain point. My curiousity would never allow me to leave myself hanging like that. Lol 

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Who hacked Kendall's Facebook? Is that who stole the drugs in the first place? What kind of drug is she actually delivering anyway? Is everyone really who they say they are? Who can she trust? Can she trust anyone?

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The Accidental Bad Girl tackles slut shaming, gender double standards/sexism, sexual assault, rape culture, bullying, friendship, drug abuse, and self acceptance. It does it in a manner that doesn't weigh you down, but the author doesn't shy away from getting serious when the story requires it. 

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The only place I was disappointed was in the romance department. I wasn't thrilled with the way that aspect of the story went, but I admit that I see how it makes sense for the book. Some people might actually find it refreshing! 

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Overall, this was an enjoyable read that was easy to get into. I admire the way the author was able to put so many great messages into one book. It's a lot to try to juggle, and I think that she did a pretty good job of it for a debut author. I'll definitely check out more of her work in the future. 

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YA fans, I recommend this one to you!

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review.
Profile Image for Erin.
Author 5 books43 followers
October 2, 2017
Okay, do you guys remember the movie GO? Yes, the one from the 90s with Sarah Polley after she was in AVONLEA but before she was in SPLICE. And also Joey from DAWSON'S CREEK. And Tim Olyphant (love him!) as the skeezy-but-hot drug dealer. Sorry, I digress. The point is that I loved GO as a teen, though I haven't seen it in ages so I have no idea whether it's stood the test of time.

BUT it kinda doesn't matter because Maxine Kaplan has written a book that captures the youthful, adrenaline-fueled spirit of GO, plus the surreal high-school-noir vibe of BRICK, the cheeky-smirky smart-girl humor of VERONICA MARS, and even a little touch of FIGHT CLUB's "blow up your life" ethos. Not only is this book an addictive page-turner, it's feminist AF and, ultimately, explores some pretty deep questions about what it means to be a girl, given that we girls are constantly bombarded with fucked up cultural dichotomies and toxic projections of femininity. Kendall (aka Ken aka Ken Doll aka Barbie) is SOOOO much more than she appears on page one. By page 200 she's a burgeoning badass and by page 350 she's a force of nature. Here's one of my favorite lines:

What really killed me about this whole mess was that everything I was, everything I had ever been--athlete, honor student, class officer, friend; smart, social, responsible, funny--had been wiped out the second I'd had sex.

Go forth, Kendall, and take on the world. We need you.
Profile Image for Robyn.
420 reviews98 followers
June 27, 2018
The start of Kendall Evans Senior year in high school is already getting off to a rocky start. She is shunned by the girls she used to consider friends because of an incident that took place at the end of her junior year when she was caught in school half naked with her best friend’s ex-boyfriend, Grant. Now she finds herself out of the “in” crowd and kind of at a loss as to where she belongs. It doesn’t help matters that her facebook account gets hacked and she finds herself in the middle of some pretty shady drug dealers. Kendall is being blackmailed and her only option is to help Mason, a local drug dealer run his drugs and find the culprit behind drugs that have gone missing or Mason will make sure that Kendall does not get into the space program she so desperately craves.

Is there a way for Kendall to get out of this mess, piece together her shredded reputation, and find herself along the way?

Kendall is not always an easy girl to like. She is a mean girl and even though she doesn’t try to intentionally be mean, she puts no stop to her friends being mean to others. Is that really worth it to be in the “in” crowd in high school? High school can be rough and even worse if you are a girl. Girls can be mean and judgemental. I guess in a way Kendall just wanted to be accepted by her peers. Was Kendall wrong for sleeping with her best friend’s ex-boyfriend? Yes! Could I understand why her friends abandoned her? Yes, but then her “friends” slut shamed Kendall and bullied her. Karma just came back and took a chunk out of her in my opinion.

I really wasn't sure if Kendall could actually ever redeem herself or if she was meant to be an unlikeable character. She just kept making bad choice after bad choice. It was hard to see her making decisions and acting grown when she was still seventeen years old. There is a turning point though and you can see she has a conscience especially with Simone, a girl she befriended at school. Once that turning point hit, it really shined a new light on Kendall for me and she became a good girl and a bad girl at the same time and quite frankly, she kinda rocked!

I really loved The Accidental Bad Girl, but at times it also made me very angry. The author really brings home the point that as much as girls/women feel liberated, they always hold that stigma of being considered loose or amoral. Slut shaming is real and many girls have faced this consequence when guys get off scott free. Girls are classified as a slut and for boys its “boys will be boys.” Do I think this stigma will ever change? Probably not. It is such a double standard and why it is acceptable to boys and not girls is something that I will never really understand.

There is a lot going on in this story, but I never felt like anything overshadowed Kendall as she came into her own. This is very much a growing up story as well as a mystery thrown in that was very well played. I was at a loss as to who hacked her Facebook and started Kendall down this road and when it was finally revealed I was shocked. Maxine Kaplan surely does have some tricks up her sleeve and she knows how to keep her readers guessing. Also, the ending is so spot on and I couldn’t help but be proud of Kendall for seeing herself for what and who she is.

The Accidental Bad Girl is a clever account of one girl’s journey into finding herself and coming into her own and accepting who she is. Maxine Kaplan writes with heart and takes issues such as slut shaming and brings it to the forefront. She does not sugar coat her words regardless if they are harsh and demeaning. Kaplan weaves interlocking stories that come together so effortlessly and so refreshingly honest that you will have a hard time putting this book down. I sure did. I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this highly immersive YA story.
Profile Image for ᒪᗴᗩᕼ .
1,495 reviews147 followers
September 1, 2019


High School Drama
Date Rape
Drug Dealers
Social Media Mystery

and eventually...

Owning Your Mistakes & Your Accomplishments
Real Friendship
Undercover Cops & Take Downs
With Audio Performed by Julia Knippen


On the outside, this feels like a vapid high school drama, with a dose of forced drug dealing.  You might even pass it up because of this.  But, you should give it a chance because it might just surprise you.  For the first half it felt just like all that to me...what with her incredibly lax parents and her shitty so-called friends...but it does eventually go somewhere. 

With a little mystery, and the tackling of some tuff issues, including slut-shaming, date rape & rape culture, and by the end, even her parental units step it up a bit.  Ultimately, it had a fairly good overall message and it surprised me how much I ended up liking it.

Narration by Julia Knippen was effortlessly executed, and this would make an excellent movie, too.  It actually reminded me of the movie Easy A.


Plot⇢ 4/5
Narration Performance⇢ 5/5
Characters⇢ 4.2/5
The Feels⇢ 4/5
Pacing⇢ 4/5
Addictiveness⇢ 4/5
Theme or Tone⇢ 4.2/5
Flow (Writing Style)⇢ 4/5
Backdrop (World Building)⇢ 4/5
Originality⇢ 4.2/5
Ending⇢ 4.2/5 Cliffhanger⇢ Nope.

Book Cover⇢ Love it!
Setting⇢ Brooklyn, NY
Source⇢ Audiobook (Library)
Length⇢ 9 hours, 36 minutes
Profile Image for Jen Ryland.
1,483 reviews903 followers
May 4, 2018
Did this Veronica Mars-esque book about a girl at a private school who a) gets publicly caught with her best friend's ex and b) ends up in some shady business live up to Veronica's early 2000s awesomeness?

For the most part, yes. See Jen Ryland Reviews The Accidental Bad Girl

Read more of my reviews on JenRyland.com! Check out my Bookstagram! Or check out my Jen In Ten reviews on Youtube - get the lowdown on current books in 10-30 seconds!

Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review!
Profile Image for Dana Mele.
Author 5 books377 followers
December 31, 2017
The Accidental Bad Girl is a clever update to the classic noir genre. It’s a whiplash fast read with characters who kept me guessing and twists and turns that had me flipping pages late into the night to see what happened next. Recommend to fans of mysteries and thrillers!
Profile Image for Dahlia.
Author 19 books2,401 followers
April 2, 2018
Oof, I freaking LOVED that. Fun and twisty and action-packed and smart and surprising and did I mention fun? This really, really needs to be better marketed as a mystery-thriller because it's the best one I've read in a while.
Profile Image for Derek Milman.
Author 3 books426 followers
December 15, 2017
Damn! This book was like an early Sleater-Kinney album: spiky and complicated and punk and badass and feminist all in one, with a cool, seething midnight gloss. There's an undercurrent of Hitchcock, Veronica Mars, and neo noir. The voice practically jumps off the page; the characters are flawed, fascinating, and multi-layered. And they make terrible, awful mistakes, consumed by a wide range of dark and tangled emotions. I LOVED IT!

The Brooklyn setting is so immersive. It's not specifically set in Bushwick, but many nights I've spent speeding around that neck of the woods came into my mind, those industrial buildings glowing in the background. I always wondered what was happening behind those smudged windows, with the pale colors and the gyrating shapes.

The Accidental Bad Girl gives you a deeply satisfying, transporting, nail-biting peek inside.

Read it!
Profile Image for Thamy.
454 reviews24 followers
May 17, 2018

Not your regular contemporary YA.

3.5, because most of the plot was too surreal. But it deserved the round-up to 4.

Kendall isn't the queen bee but she's close enough when she gets herself involved in a big scandal along with her best friend's ex-boyfriend. Now everyone seems to either hate or avoid her. To make things worse, her Facebook account was hacked and attracted the attention of a dangerous drug dealer, who also happens to be really angry after having his "doses" stolen. Kendall is then blackmailed into finding out the culprit, probably the same person who hacked her into all the mess.

I was ready for some funny but romantic YA book and was pleasantly surprised by how seriously Maxine Kaplan took such a plot. Kendall really keeps getting in trouble and this damages her psyche, whom she believes to be, among so much else. Even though it's not really humor, the atmosphere is very light. You know it's serious but it's suffocating to read. You'll still have fun at how ridiculous Kendall's situation becomes.

The thing is, the author does own that it's a lot of bad luck for a girl who's always had it easy. But I don't think other parts were on purpose. I believe it was all too far-fetched, the stealing of the said "doses", the way some drug dealer would trust a highschooler to take care of that (among other things). Kaplan tries to explain what makes Kendall so unique but I didn't buy it. Because of that, at least the second third of the story I read rolling my eyes. This really made me miss a lot of the fun. It's just too much happening! After that part, though, it seems gets a hold again of everything and things get really serious.

I loved how many sides to the incident Kaplan explores, how she dialogues with all the issues present—although I felt she could have made a better counterargument to drug use. You start the story with one idea but it goes so much deeper. I liked that a lot.

Even though I never got it why so many people thought Kendall was that special, she was still a great heroine. It was actually easy to identify with her. She's fun, and she holds her head high, but she also makes mistakes and learns from them. I have no complaint there.

I recommend the book to those who are up to a YA with less romance and more action. It does have a little of the former but it's surely not the focus.

Honest review based on an ARC provided by Netgalley. Many thanks to the publisher for this opportunity.
Profile Image for fatma.
900 reviews570 followers
May 12, 2018
2.5 stars

Thanks to ABRAMS Kids/Amulet Books for providing me with an e-ARC of this via NetGalley!

This was...not what I was expecting. Okay, let me qualify that statement. To be fair, I hadn't really expected much of this book. Given the title and the reviews I'd been looking at, I gathered that it was a contemporary about slut-shaming in a high-school setting. And it was about that, but it was also way larger in scope than I thought. First and foremost, I wanna say that the messages The Accidental Bad Girl puts forth are unabashed and unapologetic. Kendall's character arc is well-done and, I have to admit, pretty badass. The ending in particular is a nice moment that's a succinct rebuttal of rape culture and slut-shaming and gender double standards. That being said, I think this book was way too plot-heavy for my taste. Frankly, the plot was exhausting. Past a certain point in the story the plot revelations were just never-ending: one revelation would lead to the next would lead to the next would lead to the next so that by the end I just felt spent. And it wasn't just the amount of plot that I had a problem with, it was also the content of the plot itself. The climactic scene in the end in particular felt like it was straining for a grandiosity that it just didn't have. Above all, though, I think my biggest qualm with The Accidental Bad Girl is that I couldn't tell what kind of book it was trying to be. At times it felt like your regular contemporary, others like a mystery/thriller, sometimes veering into detective or action-y territory. To put it simply, I understood where it wanted to go, but I didn't understand how it got there.

Despite its flaws, The Accidental Bad Girl was a compelling read. It moves along quickly and has a pretty fierce protagonist. If you want to read a feminist takedown of the notion of the "bad girl" in society, The Accidental Bad Girl is the book for you.
Profile Image for Jordan (thejordanjournals).
298 reviews557 followers
July 25, 2018
EDIT: Uping my rating again to a 5/5 stars.
Uping rating to a 4.5/5 stars.
3.75/5 stars.

I went into this not really knowing what to expect, but I was actually pleasantly surprised.

I would say this is a great “gateway” book for people trying to dip their toes into the adult thriller/mystery genre. It has a lot of the same elements that adult thrillers rely on—an unlikeable female protagonist, an epic chase, a mystery you're trying to solve, and even some of the sex and drugs influences often seen in adult novels. However, it’s YA. So, all of those elements are very watered down, in comparison. It really followed the same general arc and flow of an adult mystery, just more suitable for a younger audience.

I also really appreciated the discussion surrounding girls and sex and the slut narrative. I think the novel does a good job of establishing that teenage girls who like sex and want to explore that side of themselves aren’t inadvertently also sluts. It comments on the double standard of why boy and girl teenagers are seen and judged differently when it comes to sexual activity. Furthermore, the main character changes and checks her own perception of what it means to be a “slut.” Thus, the novel comments on both slut shaming other girls and slut shaming oneself, based on what others are saying. Finally, a really clear and important definition and conversation around rape and consent are also included in the sexual narrative of this story.

Overall, this novel had both a compelling mystery plot line and a commentary on the “slut” narrative. I thought the two were interwoven together very seamlessly without one overshadowing the other. I am definitely looking forward to what this author writes next.
Profile Image for Amelinda Bérubé.
Author 3 books166 followers
December 15, 2017
This book is as whip-smart and sneaky as its protagonist. Between the compelling action and the unflinching feminism, it's impossible to put down - and even when you manage to, it leaves you thinking.
Profile Image for Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries).
1,225 reviews391 followers
September 19, 2018
Simone was quiet for a while. I watched as she seemed to process the information. Her face was beautiful but a little confusing: unreadable and ethnically ambiguous. I was staring, trying to parse whether she was part Asian--maybe Vietnamese?--when she said matter-of-factly, "She's kind of scary. I think you should stay away from her if you can. Just my opinion." (The Accidental Bad Girl, p. 31)

And not long after it's confirmed Simone is biracial with a Chinese mother, this:
Simone stuck her tongue out at me in a rare moment of pure, unconsidered silliness. "I am the master," she said, laughing."You are about to get a unique glimpse into the famed Simone Moody party maneuver. I ninja myself into places: No one's ever there to see me enter or leave." (The Accidental Bad Girl, p. 125)

White woman made a fictional Chinese girl say what?

[gif description: a young black boy screams "that's racist!"]

That's racist like making nonsense "Chinese-sounding" noises at a Japanese person--or any Asian person at all, for that matter.

Never mind the messy plot and how little it entertained me for once when the bad guy was a wee bit obsessed with the heroine because I normally fucKING LOVE THAT SHIT, book is bad and I got rid of it within 24 hours of encountering the second quote.
Profile Image for PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps .
2,306 reviews219 followers
September 14, 2018
After Kendall is caught almost having sex with her best friend’s ex, she becomes persona non grata. Once popular, now the only people in school who talk to her is the nerdy Gilly and Simone, who “went crazy” and disappeared for two years. Someone blackmails Kendall into getting involved in a drug ring and the former good girl becomes THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL.

For someone as bright as Kendall, she lacked common sense and a natural self-preservation mode. Readers have to suspect their disbelief that any part of the story is plausible.

THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL is filled with slut shaming. Simone seemed to be the only female who refused to buy into the expectations of others. She was sex positive, despite a traumatic incident. Almost every character used drugs with little consequence.

Maxine Kaplan never sold me on Kendall becoming a drug runner, which I needed to buy into in order for me to fully engage in the story. I did enjoy the quality of her word building.

THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL is a quick read, but easily forgettable story.
Profile Image for Marie.
479 reviews179 followers
August 23, 2018
When you first stop and stare at this cover, read the synopsis, you feel like it's going to be a fun read. It's so much more than that though.
I had so much fun reading this book. I loved the badass main character, I really liked the mystery going on and was entertained from page one. I also appreciated so, so much the discussions happening regarding rape and slut-shaming in this story, too.
Definitely recommend it.

Full review coming soon!

My Blog - Drizzle & Hurricane Books - Twitter - Bloglovin'
Profile Image for Jaime Questell.
Author 1 book78 followers
November 7, 2017
There is so much to love about this book! Kaplan's prose is sharp, the dialog is crackling, and the feminism is front and center. The twists and turns of this novel were so well-planned out. I loved this and can't wait to see what Kaplan does next!
Profile Image for Julia Rubin.
Author 3 books175 followers
January 9, 2018
Daamn! Maxine Kaplan's debut is sharp, witty, and will leave you on the edge of your seat! Amazingly complex characters + hilarious dialogue + feminist noir makes for one hell of a read.
July 18, 2019
Damn! What a book! When I requested this novel, I was expecting a fun typical YA novel. What I was not expecting was the amount of depth this baby carried. There was a large amount of current issues covered in this book such as; slut shaming, drugs, rape and more. I also want to add that I think the cover is just as badass as the book! I highly recommend this one!
Profile Image for Rumsha A • Storiesandplottwists.
132 reviews12 followers
October 10, 2018
 I love both chick flick movies and books and here is why i think 'The Accidental Bad Girl' by Maxine Kaplan was different from all those.
For starters, the main character of this book; Kendall, can not identify herself neither as a mean girl nor a nice girl. She's somewhere in between and she owns it. Shit hits the fan when she is 'forced' to accept the identity of a mean, bad girl. There's drugs and sexual abuse and relationships and fake friends.

The drama unlike other YA/NA/high school books was not over who got to become the prom queen or who got to win the heart of the hottest cheerleader. The book had substance, and to think it was Kaplan's debut, amazing !
If a movie were to be made on this one, people will love it, if not more than equally as much as other chick flicks. The author had me gasping with disbelief in the last few pages where she revealed who the actual culprit was that stole Kendall's id and framed her into the mess in the first place.

At last, i would like to convey my gratitude to not only the author, but especially to Harry n Abram publishers.
Profile Image for julianna ➹.
207 reviews263 followers
January 4, 2018
i've honestly been reading so many innocent-girl-turns-bad books and i kind of love it

also ayyyyy my first book of the year

thank you so much to Abrams books for sending me an arc of this book! of course, my opinion is completely honest and unaffected.
Profile Image for Jessica Bayliss.
Author 10 books137 followers
July 3, 2018
I loved this YA about a girl who is labeled a "bad" girl and decides to live up to the image everyone has cast upon her. A really unique YA thriller and a super-fun read.
Profile Image for Kiana.
952 reviews45 followers
June 19, 2018
This book is seriously underrated. Less than 200 ratings on Goodreads, yet it is one of the best books I’ve read all year. For one thing, it’s wholly original—sure, there are stories about the good, all-American model student turning “bad” as the result of some unfortunate circumstances (and, Breaking Bad-style, deciding that they actually somewhat enjoy it), but The Accidental Bad Girl brings so much more to the table. Above all, it’s a brilliantly executed character study of a girl who has been unfairly wronged and, in order to survive, layers more and more personas onto herself until it’s difficult to tell which one is the “real” her anymore. But it’s also a superb deconstruction of tropes such as slut-shaming and nice-guy syndrome in a way that’s shrewder and cleverer than any other I’ve seen. And, to top it off, it’s one hell of a thriller.

A high-school-based thriller is rarer than an adult thriller, and much harder to sell, for one specific reason—the characters are in high school. When we’re dealing with the high-stakes world of crime and drug-dealing that protagonist Kendall is wrapped up in, it’s easy for her young age to seem unrealistic, but it works oddly well in The Accidental Bad Girl; I think it helps matters that the characters are rich and privileged in a way that allows them to slide under the radar, as well as have access to such expensive and sketchy drugs. But it also does the story wonders of good because it juxtaposes Kendall’s life of crime with her more vulnerable position as a student and social outcast, and watching how her secret life and school life slowly blend together is fascinating.

I loved Kendall. Plain and simple. I loved the concept of a perfect popular “Barbie” character who suddenly falls from grace after being caught hooking up with one specific guy. I loved the tough, nasty attitude that she is forced to put on in order to survive the dangerous, horrible situations that she is unwillingly thrust into. I loved the way that her experience as a stereotypical “mean, popular girl” aids her in her work as a cool, composed criminal and her ability to put on a smile and fake it works to her advantage at various underground meetings. I loved that she’s smart and knows how to take care of herself while still being noticeably in danger throughout the story. And I loved her relationship with fellow outcast Simone, which is a great example of an unlikely friendship and a “popular girl seeing how it looks from the other side” without being at all sentimental. Most books live or die by their protagonist and Kendall is a huge reason for The Accidental Bad Girl’s effectiveness. She is a fully-formed and truly unique character, cunning and calculating while still possessing a moral compass and strong self-esteem.

The other main reason why I enjoyed The Accidental Bad Girl was because it was so incredibly smart in its underlying commentary. There are a lot of themes in here, from sexual assault to complicity to slut-shaming, and this book handles and often subverts all of them in a really refreshing way. Simone and Kendall are both seen as poorly behaved or even crazy sluts (while, of course, the guys aren’t viewed in nearly a similar light) and they push back and challenge this concept in a very empowering manner. But, most of all, it criticizes and debunks the idea of “nice guy syndrome” in a wonderful way, though I won’t spoil how—there’s also a great twist surrounding bullying and one victim thinking that they can “teach” the mean people a lesson by giving them a taste of their own medicine and, within a couple of commendable sentences, The Accidental Mean Girl accurately shows how hypocritical and stupid that concept is.

I definitely recommend giving this book a go. It’s a gripping thriller, but it’s also way more than that—the amount of intelligence and character work in this novel is even better than the action elements, and each page was fantastic. Perfectly paced, completely exciting, and all done in a way that feels credible, The Accidental Mean Girl is nearly everything I could ever want in a book and is absolutely one of my favorite reads of 2018.

4.5 stars.
May 15, 2018
I read someone comparing this book to Easy A in their review. And i was like oh yeah that’s an example i would use to describe this book.

Kendall, was a very, Olive, esuqe character. She is such a badass, when trapped in such impossible situations she just handles them like a boss! She never once back down or moans about whats happening to her. Just go with the flow like the boss she is. And stands by the choices she has made.

Other characters:

The side characters are very interesting, and some do not turn to be who you think they are (ooooo). But everyone has such a nice backstory and reasons for what they have done. And they provide a nice backbone to the story


It is a mixture of mystery, mixed in with a dash of contemporary and a whole load of action. It never fails to delivers on that high “omg this happened”, till the end of the books. The last few chapter are indeed very thrilling.


This book has high themes of feminism, although in the first few chapters it looked to me like it would be basic girl against girl timeline. But its refreshing how this book handles it all. Their are some great female friendships happening in this book. Its very dark, and does delve into a lot of topics pertaining our society. I love how it handles slut shamming and labeling. Being blackmailed into situations and all that.

Overall, this book is a nice mixture of action, mystery and contemporary, that does keep you hooked until the end for answers. And I love the fact that despite all the wrongs happening in this book it always finds a silver lining, and has a lot of good happening too.

Thanks to ABRAMS Kids/Amulet Books for providing me with an ARC of this book.


Well this was really fun! Review to come! 💓
Profile Image for Grace P.
350 reviews39 followers
May 13, 2018
3.5/5 Stars

Kendall is inherently a strong character with a bit of unpredictability. From the buzz for the book, I’m not quite sure what I expected of this book, but, in the end, it surprised me. The different relationships that Kendall had with her parents, her new friends (Gilly and Simone), and her old friends-turned-enemies (Audrey and Ellie), made for a dynamic that continued to draw me in. Centered around blackmail and betrayal, the story is a mystery but also so many other genres. Some characters were clearly present so that readers would love to hate them, and it definitely worked. My favorites character was the awkward and out-of-place Gilly, who Kendall comes to know over the course of the story.

THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL has a tone and mood, unlike any YA book I have ever read. The plot felt almost eerie with such suspense and darkness. Kendall’s involvement with criminals only further enhanced the feeling of dread that this novel always left me with before I picked it up again. It may not be a book that I read in one sitting, but it is one where you feel you need to theorize who betrayed who and what is coming next. I truly enjoyed the unpredictability and unique overall feeling that it offers.

Kaplan wrote characters who are unexpected, stubborn, and incredibly flawed. Kendall’s journey is full of not just intrigue but self-discovery and life lessons. A variety of plot elements are woven together to make readers think about the story long after finishing it.

I would recommend THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL to readers who love mystery and suspense, as well as those who enjoy complexity and incredible character development. This novel is bound to make readers curious while taking something away at the end. Overall, Kaplan’s debut is perfect for readers who love a blend of contemporary genres and seek a riveting plot and setting.
Profile Image for Morris.
964 reviews164 followers
February 18, 2019
I don't know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn't a book so deep as this one. It's a scathing indictment of society featuring a badass young woman that is perfect for the times in which we live. Highly recommended!

This review is based on a copy provided by the publisher in exchange for honest feedback.
Profile Image for Gayatri Saikia   | per_fictionist .
476 reviews68 followers
October 5, 2019
The Accidental Bad Girl is a dark and eerily real high school thriller that follows the journey of Kendall's fall from grace to her redemption. Kendall's worst nightmare comes to life after she is caught red-handed/ pranked hooking up with her best-friend's boyfriend on her last day of junior year. She starts with her final year, on a rather dull tone after being abandoned by her friends and shamed by her classmates. And as she somehow tries to hold herself and complete her senior year, she is hit by another jolt when she realizes that her online identity has been compromised and now she has to become a BAD GIRL to save her GOOD GIRL image.

First of all, what a ride man! what a ride! I didn't expect the book to be so intense, tenuous and impactful but it was! THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL contained so much in itself and somehow for me it blurred the lines between fiction and reality. Whatever goes on in high-schools, be it slut shaming, drug addiction, blackmailing, stalking, identity theft this book talked about it all. I generally love books that give the vibe "Whatever-happened-to-her/him-could-easily-happen-to-you" and this book was just that.

Kendall is basically our normally school going teenage girl who has her own vices and concerns. She is one such character that you wouldn't admire initially but she grows on you. She definitely had her part in taking some foolish decisions but she is also a perfect example that "a single mistake doesn't define you". Maxine Kaplan has given us a character in the form of Kendall, who is strong headed, iron willed but also at times arrogant and easily gets on your nerves. She is what I would call a grey character and I absolutely love those. Because they are relatable, alright?

Simone on the other hand comes as a beacon of sunlight, to Kendall's life and is equally admirable for her loyalty and everything she did for Kendall, playing the most important role in dragging Kendall out of the hell hole. Through the character of Simone, Kaplan tries to convey that all it takes is a good friend to calm your chaos and bring you hope no matter whatever situation you are in.

The other co-characters are compelling as well and each of them has a layer of intrigue enveloping them that makes the tale interesting and creates a lot of subplots. Although I liked how the author tried to bring into focus the various adversities of college/school life, I somehow felt that one or two things deserved a bit more closure. If the author is planning a sequel for them I am soooo ready for it.

 Maxine Kaplan effortlessly brings so many diverse characters and plots together that ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL becomes unputdownable from the moment you indulge in it. The  gradual growth of Kendall and Gilly's characters is noticeable. 

All in all a suspense filled high school drama for the likes of Mean Girls, Nerve and Easy A fans. Surprisingly fast paced and equally brilliant. 
Profile Image for Cee.
2,381 reviews99 followers
May 16, 2018
*I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
2 stars

I don't exactly know how I got through this book. I was hoping for some mystery or a good girl fumbling through being a bad girl with some trusty sidekicks, but that isn't really what happens. So, I suppose me getting through it shows that it is somewhat gripping and written well.

I feel like even if I talk about the characters I'll be giving spoilers away, so let me just say I liked Simone (side character), but no one else... well, Mason, but I always like an interesting bad guy. Liking the main character is a huge point towards liking or disliking a book, so since I didn't truly like her, it didn't help the book. The thing is, I don't think we are supposed to really like her-- or thinking deeply about her might make the reader uncomfortable, I know looking at her has made me look deeper at myself. So, I didn't like it, which didn't help the book, yet she is such an interesting, real character.

The plot was okay, but I do wish she had listened to Gilly's advice in the beginning. The talk on slut-shaming, gender differences/inequalities, and rape is handled... mostly well, I think.

One thing I am happy about? The romance. I was so worried about who she would end up with, that the ending was refreshing.

Not sure who I'll recommend this to, but I do see the appeal, so eventually I might push this into someone's hands.
Profile Image for zyth ༄ ‧₊˚.
56 reviews105 followers
April 10, 2023
The Accidental Bad Girl was a fun read, one I got through pretty quickly and had a lot of fun reading, but under its light appearances, it tackles so many tough and important themes, too. This book has high themes of feminism, although in the first few chapters it looked to me like it would be basic girl against girl timeline. But its refreshing how this book handles it all. Their are some great female friendships happening in this book. Its very dark, and does delve into a lot of topics pertaining our society. I love how it handles slut shamming and labeling. Being blackmailed into situations and all that.

Overall, this book is a nice mixture of action, mystery and contemporary, that does keep you hooked until the end for answers. And I love the fact that despite all the wrongs happening in this book it always finds a silver lining, and has a lot of good happening too.

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