First Lines: It wasn’t like he begged me to sit shotgun in his ancient station wagon. Mr. McFadden only offered me a ride home because I happened to be backstage looking for a taxidermied puffin.
This was a book that I liked the cover, loved the blurb, and thought it was worth the read. I always feel sort of lucky when I find a new book like this on the library shelves.
Rebecca Rivers is an actress to the bone. And when she receives a lead role in her school’s performance of The Crucible, her life changes. She grows close with the other leads and even gets to kiss the handsome Charlie Lamb on stage. No one can find fault with Rebecca, not even the notoriously picky director. Though the five friends vow never to date, Rebecca can’t help having feelings for Charlie. But the drama off-stage can be more dramatic than that on stage. A life-altering accusation threatens to destroy everything…even if it’s not all true.
To be perfectly honest, this is a DNF at pg. 241. But before I get to my reasons for stopping (because that will have spoilers), I’ll share with you some other information.
Frankly, the writing isn’t bad. It unraveled in a logical way, with the plot sometimes dropping clues about things ahead of discussing them to avoid an info-dump. All well and good. The characterizations as well were also good. Charlie, a social chameleon, completely fits the way he’s described. Sure, the characters are a bit extreme at times, but a lot of real people are too.
Ok, one unspoilery thing I can say about why I stopped is that I can’t stand mean girl-types and horrific, unfounded rumors. I can’t. (I actually despise the movie Mean Girls. Despise.) And I have a very low tolerance for “wild child” behavior (like smoking pot, smoking cigarettes because everything thinks it looks cool, and getting drunk before noon). All of this plays a role in the story and I hated it. Should I have realized that some of this would be present before the book started (based on its tagline and blurb)? Yes. That’s on me.
Now I’m about to go into the spoilery stuff. (Well, if you can call it spoilery considering I actually have no idea how the book ends.) If you care to read on, go ahead. If not, skip to the part below the lovely symbols.
Here’s why I couldn’t finish the book: the plot took a dramatic shift into the realm of teacher-student relationships. At the time I’d stopped reading, nothing had actually happened. But Rebecca kept fantasizing about kissing her teacher and it really weirded me out. (I’m a teacher. This summer, a former teacher of mine was just sentenced to 4 years in jail for his relations with a student. It’s sick.)
And frankly, trying to avoid those relationships is lesson number one in becoming a teacher. You think I’m joking, but I can vividly recall one of my professors describing exactly how much you DO NOT want to be even in the ballpark of one of those accusations coming out. Rule One: NEVER give students rides (which clearly Mr. McFadden just did in the first lines).
I can’t handle those kinds of plots. Reading about Rebecca’s fantasies and Mr. McFadden’s indiscretions, I wanted to rub my skin raw. I’m disgusted now just thinking about it again.
If you skipped the spoilery stuff, I’ll sum it up in this way: the book was making me vastly uncomfortable and I had to make the decision between being uncomfortable and finishing the book or making myself happy and quit. So I quit. Why finish a book that’ll practically give me nightmares when I could be reading something I find more engaging?
Overall, it’s probably not a bad book. But that plot twist killed anything and everything I may have felt for this book.