I received a copy from Netgalley.
A pretty good coming of age novel. There was nothing about it that particularly stood out with to start, I've seen this title in UK bookshops for some time. While the f/f relationship definitely piqued my interest, I’m always up for f/f in YA fiction. However, the whole teacher/student premise just bothered me a little. However, when it popped up on my auto approval list for Hatchett Children’s on Netgalley I figured, what the hell and decided to give it a shot.
It’s a UKYA, and it tells the story of 18 year old Ashleigh who’s in her last year of college. She’s a fairly middle of the road student, kind of derivative about the “swotty” students who study and get good grades. The novel opens with Ashleigh at a party, waiting for her friend Luke. She meets a really hot guy Dylan and starts flirting. Ashleigh’s home life is pretty rotten, her parents seem to be fighting all the time and she doesn’t appear to like being around in the house when it happens, particularly as it’s obvious something is wrong but the parents are pretending everything’s fine. Understandable. It’s a horrible situation to be in.
There was nothing particularly wrong with Ashleigh as a character, she had her stroppy teenager moments, there was drama with her best friend Cat, who’s a lot more outgoing than she is. The thing with Dylan isn’t really progressing as Ashleigh would like. She can’t seem to figure out her feelings for him. They date and talk.
And then a new English teacher, Ms Murray comes along and completely captivates Ashleigh’s attention. She starts paying attention in her class, starts to care about her school work and impressing this new teacher. Ms Murray is actually a very personable teacher, she can hold the kid’s attention and get them talking. She treats the kids like people and does seem to care about helping them with their work and making sure they do well. Ashleigh starts getting more involved in school activities and making friends with people she would normally ignore.
There is some jealousy with her friend Cat, and a fair bit of drama where Cat’s over the top personality can get grating. All the while Ashleigh is starting to discover new feelings when she’s in her English class. Things with Dylan are finally progressing, but the feelings she’s having towards him are lukewarm compared to the sparks she feels around Ms Murray.
To be fair, I was pleased to see that the whole student/teacher thing was barely there. It was more Ashleigh discovering a possible new side to herself she had never realised was there. Her feelings developed in a very believable way from hey, cool teacher, to out right crush to omg what the hell is happening to me, why am I feeling this way about the teacher and not my boyfriend?
While Cat the BFF could be a pain in the ass, when Ashleigh finally comes out and realises what the feelings mean, Cat is great about it. You couldn’t ask for better more supportive friend. Though some of Ashleigh’s newer friends are not that nice about it. There’s mean rumours and more drama.
The drama with Ashleigh’s parents is also dealt with quite realistically, though the dad is really annoying, particularly towards the end of the novel. I loved how Ashleigh’s relationship with her mom grew over the course of the novel.
So all in all, a pretty good coming of age novel. Nice to see it done with a lesbian romance theme. More of these, please.