Originally posted on my blog Chasing Empty Pavements
Ever read a book that fills you so completely that by the time you turn (or swipe) by the last page, you feel every bit of yourself shattering into a million pieces, never to be put back together again? No? I just did. I want more than anything in this entire world (seriously) to make someone feel this way after reading something I've written. I went into this book low expectations, mainly because I'd just come off of a string of really crappy NA books. I figured this one would be no exception. Except, I was oh-so-wrong. So very, very, wrong. This book far surpassed my expectations and my desire for what a book should be. I gave myself approximately 45 minutes of a break before I opened up my Kindle and began swiping every beautiful, lyrical line I could find (hint...there's A LOT of them!)
Let me just say that this book made me simultaneously cry with happiness that there are still magnificent writers like Raeder in this world but also made me yearn so deeply to possess a fifth of her skill. The writing was that good. The language, metaphors, similes and imagery would be worth reading it alone, but the story and the character just add another level of awesome-ness to this story. It's risky, gritty, REAL. The character of Maise is a character that I see a lot of people disliking. She's complex, very flawed and up front about her desires and issues. I, for, one found this refreshing for a NA character. Actually, I haven't found a character that I felt this akin to in a long time. But Raeder created a character that I fell in love with in spite of her flaws. I also love the secondary characters. It's rare for an author to have such fully developed side characters as the main character is. So, not only were the main characters AMAZING but the story/premise itself was fantastic. It's not one that's particularly unique or new, but the way it was told and the power structure involved gave it a fresh new look. The whole teacher/student relationship thing is a very risky subject and many readers won't even touch books with subject for moral reasons but I, for one, LOVE to push myself and my boundaries of what is morally right and wrong. This book completely encompasses the idea that "life is an enormous shade of grey." There is not so much white or black in this world as people would like to believe. There is only varying shades of grey. I loved that Raeder took a taboo subject and not only dissected it, but dissected it in a completely new and dangerous way. I just love authors that push the boundaries.
The only thing I'd wanted to see in the book and didn't was a little more of Evan's backstory. There's a certain "something" in his past that I wish Raeder would have delved deeper into because I think it's important to fully understand characters as readers but I also think Maise deserved a little more knowledge of the subject. I also think it would have rounded out Evan's character just a bit more. Because of this "thing," he comes off skeevier than he really is, I think. But that's seriously the only thing I think I would have liked to see more of.
Overall this novel was incredible. It made me feel all the FEELS and I felt it down to the core of me. It reminded me why I want to write in the first place...so that readers like ME can respond to novels in a way that encourages deep thought, conversation and insane pimpage. This was one of those intoxicating, can't concentrate on anything because you are drunk on the words kind of reads. So really, what I'm trying to say through all this babble is... GO READ THIS BOOK! NOW!