This hadn’t been an ordinary love, though. Not a love between two dear friends or even high school sweethearts. This had been the most taboo sort of love there was: a relationship between a student and her teacher. Isabel started her high school career as a normal student but set her sights on Tom Stevens as soon as she met him, and pursued him with an intense – and sometimes reckless – fascination. When he finally approached her after swim practice and told her that he shared her feelings, it was the start of a forbidden and dangerous relationship.
Join Isabel as she makes her way through this dark love story, hiding from teachers, lying to her parents, and defying the authorities to make a life with the man she loves. Watch as she discovers the wonders of love and romance, and the terrible betrayal of jealous friends. And cry with her when she learns the hard truth about life and the people in her world.
Sweetest Taboo is inspired by the true and tragic stories of students who fall in love with their teachers, and live with the hard truths of forbidden romances. In a world full of after-school specials on sexual predators, this touching book seeks a different path, casting both student and teacher in a gentle light, and showing that true love may lie at the base of even the most illicit romance.
This is the story of the forbidden secret love between a student and a high school teacher.
Quite a premise, eh?
When 15-year-old Isabel sees Mr. Stevens (a married teacher and father of two in his late 30s), she feels an instant attraction. Then she goes out of her way to entice him ... and succeeds. They end up "dating" throughout her three years of high school.
I enjoyed the writing style. It written in first person from Isabel's point of view and I thought the author did a good job getting into Isabel's teenage head. I didn't find that it dragged and, despite the controversial subject matter, it kept me interested and wanting to know what was going to happen next. From a writing standpoint, I would recommend it.
I didn't feel this was a romantic love story, though. I had issue with Tom Stevens. As the adult, he should have dissuaded Isabel's interest in him even if he felt the spark too. As time progressed, things get very hot and heavy. It seemed like all they did when they were together was get naked. I found his actions and words of love to her icky and creepy and I couldn't decide whether he was genuine or a pervert child molester (since it was Isabel's voice rather than third person, we don't know ... we only have Isabel's perception of the events). I didn't really fault Isabel, though. Though she's aware of the consequences of what they were doing and what he had to lose (his job, his family and his freedom), she's 15 and caught up in the romance of it all.
This is being marketed as a contemporary YA romance. I found it was a bit more mature than that given the subject matter (the scene where she loses her virginity is part of the story).
How do you feel about a high school student dating a married teacher? Would you read this book given the subject matter?