24 January 2015

ARC Review: Me and Mr J

Me and Mr J
by Rachel McIntyre

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Fifteen-year-old Lara finds her soulmate. There’s just one problem – he’s her teacher.
Lara's life has changed radically since her father lost his job. As the eldest, Lara tries to keep upbeat, and the one outlet for all her problems is her diary where she can be open about how dire everything is at home, and worse, the fact that she’s being horrifically bullied at school.

And then a shining light comes out of the darkness – the new young and MALE teacher, Mr Jagger. The one person who takes Lara seriously and notices her potential. The one person who is kind to her. The one person who she falls madly and hopelessly in love with. The one person who cannot reciprocate her feelings… can he?

Releases 5th Feb by Electric Monkey/Egmont UK - ISBN: 978145273442


Amazon US (out 29th Jan) * Amazon UK

I received a copy from the publisher (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review!

What I say: The issues covered in Me and Mr J are very topical in the UK because as I sat down to read Rachel McIntyre's forbidden YA romance an article came on the news about a teacher having a a relationship with a student. The actual item on the news has created a lot of controversy because of the age of the student, the lack of sentence for the teacher and how the pupil apparently 'groomed' him. These aren't really the same issues covered in the book (don't worry no spoilers) but it was definitely thought provoking and made me consider how I feel about such stories and real life events.

I hadn't realised before I started reading Lara's story that it's told in the form of a diary, and as people who are familiar with my blog will be aware, I'm not often a fan of diary format. In the case of Me and Mr J the diary aspect did work and helps the reader understand the implications and consequences of this forbidden romance and to get inside the mind of a teenage girl (a truly terrifying prospect).

I liked Lara and wanted her to stand up for herself more. I could completely understand her fascination with Mr Jagger/Ben - he was nice to her when nobody else was. The story made me realise how much of a problem bullying can be if left unchecked. As somebody who went to a school very similar to Lara's, I enjoyed all the in-jokes and frustrations only somebody who went to an English all girls grammar or public school could. That being said, I'm sure people will love Lara's sarcasm and the often snarky narrator voice in her diary.

As I said, there are some pretty heavy topics covered in the story and if you're expecting a sexy book about an illicit relationship then this is not the book for you. As a YA story we get the naive and often immature POV of a teenage girl but it's not a smutty story and has a far deeper message. 

Me and Mr J is very different type of book to what I had expected but I enjoyed the story and appreciated the issues covered. These tricky topics are handled very tactfully by McIntyre. My only quibble is that I would have liked a longer ending and more info on Ben, but I'm aware that the book isn't really his story, it's Lara's.

3.5 - 4 Stars in my Sky!


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