Nearly twelve months sober, Adrian Birch feels like a nobody. But when her wrist is broken in a hit-and-run accident, she’s avenged by the Badger, a secretive street vigilante. Instantly obsessed, Adrian takes to staging suicide and constructing chance meetings to get his attention. Their resulting affair is harsh and needy, wrought with McKenna’s signature dark eroticism—until the connection gets out of hand and ignites the violent passions of the city.
Hailed for her “evocative,” “intense,” “deftly drawn,” and “engrossing” stories by reviewers at Publishers Weekly, USA Today, and Jezebel, McKenna now establishes herself as a rising star in neo-noir. Badger challenges the reader to imagine how an impulsive young man is killed, offering only the perspective of the fascinating and unreliable Adrian Birch.
“I got no designs on being normal. I’m never gonna be normal.”
WOW. I am not sure calling this any kind of romance is fair. Dark, gritty, emotional and heart-wrenching, yes. This book will make you feel every kind of emotion including heartbreak. I know I am late to the party on this one but if you have the book on your TBR list, read it immediately. I had a hard time moving on after reading this.
“I heard the bicycle approach, then slow. I stood with held breath, anticipating words but not receiving any. There was a scuff and a clatter, soft footsteps, a huff. Then the Badger was standing beside me on the concrete ledge, staring down at the water with his hands in the pockets of his hoodie. I felt as if I was standing next to a celebrity, an angel, my grubby cut-rate Christ.”
This story was unique and fantastic. I was spellbound from the very first page. And even though I knew it was not a hearts-and-flowers romance, I still felt very connected to bother the heroine Adrian and Badger, the anti-hero of this story.
“My sister’s default is wide-eyed joy and possibility, and mine is a sort of involuntary gloom — not one I wallow or revel in, but not one I’ve ever been able to kick, either.”
Adrian is a recovering pill addict who is struggling to make amends with her family and make ends meet in Boston. After hitting rock-bottom and spending time in jail, she is ready just to live a simple, normal life. She is SO unlike her twin sister and suffers from massive self-esteem issues. But even with all of that, I still found her incredibly relateable and even very funny at times.
“Just this funny feeling, like this hook in my guts is dragging me toward something. Only I don’t know it’s you until . . . there you are.”
“I get that, too. Like a magnet.”
“I don’t know why, but I feel calm around you. And I don’t feel that much.”
“I have been called a downer before,” I joked. Badger gave me a squeeze.
Adrian and Badger have a very unconventional “relationship” (if that’s what you can even call it). He is almost incapable of expressing normal human emotion and yet he still feels the pull of the kind Adrian. She is the only one who can get under his skin and is the closest he can get to even having a friendship with another human. Adrian realizes that she might be replacing one addiction with another but she sees the pain and suffering that Badger has experienced and she can’t help fall in love with this beautiful, damaged soul.
“His damage was all so much more tangible than mine, so tactile. Like the darkest scenes from his life were stamped in Braille across his skin.”
This book has really beautiful writing and characters I will never forget. This is a gritty, raw story that also has some stunning moments of humanity and kindness. I am only sorry I did not read this book sooner! Adrian learned so much from Badger and she also grew and changed as a person over the course of the book. Every experience and every person she met meant something to the plot and added depth and emotion to the story.
“Lying there with Badger, or Isaac, it looked nothing like my parents’ steady, companionable love, or like Amanda’s easy romance with Derek, like nothing I’d ever seen in a movie or read about in a book. It was homely and broken and faulty, and wonderful.”
This was my first book by this author and now I plan to read her romances under her other name. I can’t recommend this book highly enough for the sheer beauty, pain and emotion that the characters made me feel. ‘Badger’ was the kind of book that I rushed home to read and that I did not want to end. An absolute must-read!
“The only bearable thing about being human is that you can change, the second you feel like. Get it through your head that you changed, and cut yourself some slack before you fucking choke to death from all the apologies in your throat.”
Connect with the Author:
Read an excerpt: http://www.caramckenna.com/media/excerpt-badger.pdf
Purchase a signed first edition paperback: http://www.brainmillpress.com/books/badger/