I didn’t think it was possible to have a dark romance that was also really, really sweet at its core. But Leah Raeder has done it and for me, to give a New Adult romance such a high rating is a testament to how good this book was.
First off, Raeder’s writing is so beautiful and intense. The story is written as if the narrator was reflecting on her past self. Sometimes, Maise would insert an offhand remark like “if only I had known he was a teacher” that made the story gripping and a little ominous. There were so many quotable phrases and the way Raeder writes the passing of time feels so real and fluid to the story.
I absolutely adored the two main characters Maise and her love interest, Evan. They were so refreshing and unlike anyone I have read about in New Adult fiction. I loved Maise’s character. She was so unabashedly confident in what she wanted and who she was and her sexual activities. Evan, oh swoonworthy Evan, is such a likeable male love interest because he is not so overly possessive, controlling, and arrogant like so many aggravating NA male love interests. I could talk all day about him. I loved them both and I loved them together.
The conflicts and obstacles they had to go through was also refreshing and real. I loved that they both knew they wanted to be with each other despite the consequences from the very beginning instead of the whole novel spent with one person saying this was “oh so wrong” and the other person pushing their love on the other person. Instead, the conflicts gave insight on what it’s like for a student and teacher to be in a relationship: the age barrier, the societal taboos following them, and the power imbalance.
I can’t forget that I also enjoyed the fact there was was no shaming of sexuality or the sex life of any character in the book. No slut shaming. No virgin shaming. Also, no sexist gender tropes that I see a lot of in NA. Seriously, what is there not to like in this book? I don’t know what else to say except go read this wonderful book.