ARC Review & Blog tour: Very Bad People

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Very Bad People!

Title: Very Bad People
Author: Kit Frick
Publication date: April 5th
Age-range/genre: Young Adult / Mystery
Trigger warnings: referenced death of a parent, referenced sexual assault, referenced adult/minor relationship, murder, infidelity
Rating: 3.75/5 stars
Summary: [from goodreads]

Six years ago, Calliope Bolan’s mother drove the family van into a lake with her three daughters inside. The girls escaped, but their mother drowned, and the truth behind the “accident” remains a mystery Calliope is determined to solve. Now sixteen, she transfers to Tipton Academy, the same elite boarding school her mother once attended. Tipton promises a peek into the past and a host of new opportunities—including a coveted invitation to join Haunt and Rail, an exclusive secret society that looms over campus like a legend.

Calliope accepts, stepping into the exhilarating world of the “ghosts,” a society of revolutionaries fighting for social justice. But when Haunt and Rail commits to exposing a dangerous person on campus, it becomes clear that some ghosts define justice differently than others.

As the society’s tactics escalate, Calliope uncovers a possible link between Haunt and Rail and her mother’s deadly crash. Now, she must question what lengths the society might go to in order to see a victory—and if the secret behind her mother’s death could be buried here at Tipton. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

recommended for: fans of dark academia novels, secret societies, and books like Truly Devious.

Very Bad People is a thrilling dark academia novel full of secret societies and family mysteries, and asks the important question: how far would you go for justice?


thank you to Turn The Pages and Netgalley for providing me with an eARC for this novel in exchange for an honest review.


initial thoughts
secret societies
family secrets
sisterly bonds
ending thoughts


I am not a ghost. I am solid, flesh and bone. I am seen.

initial thoughts and premise

I was immediately drawn into the premise of the story and our protagonist, Calliope. She’s a character who’s easy to root for. She’s a little shy, very friendly, and eager for a fresh start at her new boarding school. If you’re not aware, I love boarding school mysteries, so I was excited to see where this story went.

While at school, just after she starts, Calliope is initiated into the secret society Haunt and Rail. While she doesn’t share the same excitement as her peers in being selected, she and the reader can see there is more to the society than what they seem. One specific underlying thing is the society’s connection to Calliope’s late mother, and how they may be connected to her death.

When it comes down to it, who are the ghosts?

secret societies

The Haunt and Rail is an intriguing secret society, and different from one I expected. My initial thought was that they were just another one of those school societies for students from prestigious backgrounds, but it’s so much more than that. Their main objective is to fight for what’s right on campus, whether that be renaming school buildings named after racist politicians, campaigning for better wages for the school catering stuff, or more.

However, the way they go about this is… chaotic good at best, and morally shaky at worst.

I did appreciate that the society was focused on exposing the wrongdoings of faculty members and more, and that we got to see this in a dark academia novel. It didn’t brush away from real issues in schools, from the fact that old buildings are named after senators and politicians who are downright racist and should not be part of the school’s legacy, or that school staff are underpaid and overlooked.

It also poses one big question – how far should students go for change?

[…] the secrets have only sprawled out beneath me like an iceberg beneath its unassuming tip.

family secrets and mystery

There are two interweaving storylines going on – Calliope trying to find out what happened to her mum, and her also trying to keep up with the society and their tasks and demands. It’s when the two start to become more connected that things take a turn for the worst.

The build up of this is slow, to grow anticipation and suspense. It had me second guessing things, just like Calliope. Was the Haunt and Rail really involved? Was it all just paranoia? Could someone have really gone as far as to kill Calliope’s mother over a decades old secret? I kept going back and forth on my theories, and the reveal was very satisfying as it answered all my questions.

“Wouldn’t you do anything for your sisters?”

sisters and sibling bonds

Familial relationships are another important aspect of the novel. Even though Calliope is very busy with school and the society and trying to find out what happened to her mother, she still tries to find the time to speak to her sisters. Things are tested later on in the novel, the more time she spends at school and focused on the Haunt and Rail, rather than staying connected with her sisters.

I always adore being able to read about sister relationships, and its clear that Calliope cares so much about her sisters despite being so far from them. I also understood Lorelei’s, her younger sister, bitterness towards Calliope for leaving. It made for a realistic depiction of sisterly relationships.


My main qualm with the novel is that it did feel slow in some parts, so the pacing was off. However, it really sped up and became very intense in the last quarter, which I immensely enjoyed. It was such a riveting last part that I could not put the book down. Overall, it was an enjoyable read and an intriguing dark academia novel.

I’ve also made a little playlist for the novel if anyone would like to check it out!


Thank you for reading! Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour!

March 30Brinns Books – Book Review, Favorite Quotes
March 31Beauty & Her Books – Favorite Things About Very Bad People
April 1Mochas_and_madness15 – Mood Board, Book Review
April 2Ravenz Reviewz – Book Review, Favorite Quotes
April 3Kait Plus Books – Mood Board, Character interviews / Modest Hiccup – Book Review, Favorite Quotes
April 4Struck by Stories – Book Review
April 5Whispering Stories – Book Review / Literary Liza – Book Review, Favorite Quotes
April 6Stories With Saima – Book Review, Book playlist
April 7The Bookish Context – Book Review, Character interviews / Confessions of a YA Reader – Book Review

Links for Very Bad People:

4 thoughts on “ARC Review & Blog tour: Very Bad People

  1. This sounds just like the kind of dark mystery academia I need, which is saying something since I don’t usually read any academia books all that much. This one sounds awesome though and I can’t wait to read it. Wonderful review ✨

    Liked by 1 person

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