When recent college graduate Imogene Abney takes a job as a teacher at pricey and exclusive The Vandenberg School, an institution populated by the most privileged boys in America, she is plunged into an unfamiliar world.
Struggling to adjust, Imogene welcomes the friendship of student Adam Kipling. But when Adam starts taking things too far, she crosses a line that could result in disaster —losing her job, jail, and the total ruin of her reputation.
Suddenly Imogene is facing her worst nightmare, even though Adam began their affair, which hardly seems fair to Imogene. Especially when Adam is telling a very different story and the authorities seem to be on his side.
She’s the innocent one…Isn’t she?
I read the synopsis for this book and I was immediately intrigued but at the same time I was appalled at the behaviour of Imogene Abney, the teacher. I had better explain- I used to work in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults and regularly came across referrals regarding teacher/ pupil relationships. It was with some excitement and also apprehension that I began to read. I am so glad that I read this book as I really enjoyed it but more about that in a bit.
I can’t say that I took to Imogene Abney one bit and on more than one occasion I wanted to slap her across the face with a wet flip flop a few dozen times. In my eyes, she was the teacher and Adam Kipling was the pupil and that was the way that it should have stayed. Imogene was the so called responsible adult in a position of trust and she should have kept her distance from Kipling. Even when he tried getting friendly with her, she should have pushed him away and a big massive alarm bell should have sounded in her head. I don’t really care how lonely she felt, what mental health problems she had, how delicate she was or how upset she was- in my eyes there can be no excuse for crossing that line and starting a relationship with a pupil. Imogene must have known the consequences that such a friendship/ relationship could lead to and the fact that she could have gone to prison. To me Imogene comes across as a rather selfish individual. That said, for somebody so young Adam Kipling is a master manipulator and he knew how to get Imogene to do what he wanted and how to exploit her weaknesses. Kipling could have got away with murder. I don’t think that he loved Imogene and that he was just using her. That doesn’t mean to say that I blame him for the relationship as technically he was a vulnerable child, even though some people would use the excuse that he was near the age of consent so it wasn’t that bad, but that doesn’t wash with me and Imogene as a teacher had a duty of care towards Kipling, she should have protected him and she certainly shouldn’t have started a friendship, let alone a relationship with him. I do know somebody who found themselves in such a situation in real life and I had no sympathy with or for them. Never had and certainly never will. In fact I would have personally locked the cell door behind them and thrown the key away, just as I wanted to do with Imogene. Anyway sorry about that slight rant there. I digress so back to the review I do go.
By the tone of my little rant about Imogene above, it sounds as though I hated the book. I really didn’t hate it- in fact I really enjoyed reading it. The writing style was such that I was drawn into the story from the beginning and it was interesting to see how the relationship built. I really enjoyed getting into Imogene’s thought processes and how she rationalised and normalised the relationship in her own mind, even if I did want to shake her by the shoulders as a result. The author’s writing style is so good and the descriptions so vivid that I really did feel like a fly on the wall. Reading this book and reading about the developing relationship was much like watching a car crash happen in that you know exactly what is going to happen but there isn’t a darn thing that you can do to stop it. I found myself ‘interacting’ in the book and on more than one occasion I found myself shouting at something I had read and as if the characters could hear me, which I know they couldn’t. If I get into a book then I tend to ‘live’ the story.
In short, I enjoyed reading this book and it certainly got me thinking. However in my eyes there can be no excuse for a teacher- pupil relationship and nothing I read changed my mind. My safeguarding instincts kicked in and that is why I am so against the relationship. I would recommend this book to other readers but perhaps not to those who are easily shocked. I can’t wait to see what comes next from Corinne Sullivan as I know that it will be one heck of a read. The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a well deserved 4* out of 5*.