At issue are questions about consent and responsibility. Though the legal age of "consent" in most states is variable, the law becomes moot when one of the parties involved is a teacher and the other is one of his(her) adolescent students. In that case it is a crime.
Morgan Monetti - a 17-year-old honors student and talented cello soloist, believes herself to be more mature than others her age and fancies herself in love with her married calculus teacher, TJ Hill. He's clearly enthralled by Morgan's view of him as her hero and allows himself to cross over the line -- meeting secretly with her in empty practice rooms and other places, even once in his own home. Meanwhile, TJ's wife, Rain, has been undergoing fertility treatments as she is single-mindedly focused on having a baby. It's easy for Morgan to believe her own fantasy of a future with TJ, even though their relationship isn't the romantic liaison she had imagined. When the police discover the couple together in his car, Morgan half undressed, everything unravels quickly. TJ is arrested and Morgan, in an unguarded interview, explains that they are in love and that there was no coercion, that she totally consented to everything, and indeed they are having an affair.
The central themes in the novel -- lies, betrayal, adultery, manipulation, maturity, marriage -- are handled deftly and realistically. Both Morgan and Rain "stand by their man" and believe everything will come out all right in their "whole golden world." The characters are interesting and though somewhat stereotypically portrayed, the reader develops empathy for everyone involved while trying to understand all of their reactions and motivations.
I enjoyed this novel and think it would be fabulous for a book club discussion as there are so many different topics that could be addressed.
Amazon Vine ARC