I recently finished another fantastic YA read. This one had been on my wishlist for quite a long time and I don’t know why I chose that moment to purchase the eBook as my next read but I’m glad I did.
The story has nothing in common with Me Before You at all but one thing that made me think of that book right away was that it, too, had a description that gives you a different idea of what the book is about, just like I wrote about Me Before You.
It touches the very delicate subject of a romantic relationship between student and teacher and that’s a difficult thing to do. Naturally, there are very strong opinions on that and you won’t exactly find open doors when trying to get the POV of the people involved across, especially the teacher’s.
In this case, the teacher is Mr. Mann. He’s new at Nine’s school. The beginning is pretty much what you’d expect. He’s rather young, his teaching methods aren’t very traditional and she recognises Nine’s potential right away – so of course, she has a crush on him from day one. The story moves along pretty quickly and we learn that the feeling is mutual and that Mr. Mann isn’t even seriously trying to hold back. What’s really charming is that Nine isn’t a youthful temptress who seduces her teacher with a playful innocence wrapped in a perfect body. She’s a nerd, she isn’t very charming and not even very feminine, either. You really want to believe that they find a kindred soul in each other.
But still, so far the story is pretty much what you’d expect. What you don’t see coming is how quickly their relationship spirals downwards. For about two thirds of the book, we deal with Nine’s severe heartache, her struggle with loss and a broken heart and we witness as she’s stuck between being a heartbroken teenager and the young woman she’d almost become under Mr. Mann’s guidance. It does get pretty freaky at some point, especially considering that Nine is lacking the support system most young girls have when they’re dealing with their first big heartache. For one, she doesn’t have many friends. And the people she could turn to don’t know about her relationship with a teacher. So the situation does get pretty strange and serious for her.
That’s the part I didn’t expect. I thought the story would focus more on both of them trying to defend their love and deal with the strong opinions of other. But to my surprise, I didn’t like the story any less this way. Nine is a fascinating character, sometimes old beyond her years and sometimes still heartbreakingly young and innocent. Nelson painted such a likeable picture of a young woman, and his other characters were just as detailed and charming. You can’t help but both, fancy and hate Mr. Mann a little bit and if you close the book at the end without having reserved a special place in your heart for Schuyler, I don’t think we can be friends, I’m sorry. As well as Nine’s dad!
Please, do yourself a favor and read this book. I’m not kidding, it really is that good!