Friday, 6 September 2013
Review: The Truth About You and Me by Amanda Grace
Released: September 8th, 2013
Smart girls aren't supposed to do stupid things. Madelyn Hawkins is super smart. At sixteen, she's so gifted that she can attend college through a special program at her high school. On her first day, she meets Bennet. He's cute, funny, and kind. He understands Madelyn and what she's endured—and missed out on—in order to excel academically and please her parents. Now, for the first time in her life, she's falling in love. There's only one problem. Bennet is Madelyn's college professor, and he thinks she's eighteen—because she hasn't told him the truth. The story of their forbidden romance is told in letters that Madelyn writes to Bennet—both a heart-searing ode to their ill-fated love and an apology.
The Truth About You and Me is one of my favourite books I've read so far this year. It's not overly complicated and doesn't span years or centuries, it's just a simple story about a girl who finds herself falling for her college professor. It's heartbreaking and scarily realistic and, although a student/teacher relationship is wrong, there was always a part of me that wanted it to be right. Now that's what I call powerful storytelling.
This is the first book I've read by Amanda Grace (or Mandy Hubbard, when we're not using pseudonyms) and it won't be my last. Her writing and letter-writing format drew me instantly and kept me hooked all the way to the end. I desperately needed sleep but I stayed awake to finish it - I HAD to know what happened, and waiting seven hours just wasn't an option!
Madelyn is a sixteen-year-old high school student who gets early admission to college through a program that lets gifted students attend early. She's spent her life proving her worth to her parents, and listening to them plan her whole future for her, even though it's not what she wants. That's how she ends up taking a biology class, which is where she first meets Bennett, her twenty-five-year-old professor. At first nothing happens, because it's wrong and it can't ever be anything. But slowly they start talking more and more, seeing each other outside of class, and flirting secretly when they can. There's only one problem: Bennett thinks Maddie is eighteen, and Maddie thinks she's doing nothing wrong keeping her real age to herself. Obviously she's very, very wrong.
I knew this book would never be a happily ever after story, but I didn't expect it to play out like it did. I liked Maddie and Bennett so much that I was willing to overlook his position of power in order for them to be together. I was rooting for them, hoping everything would work out in the end. I absolutely did not expect to feel that way, because I know a student/teacher romantic relationship is illegal. I know it's not the right thing to do. Yet these characters came into my life and made me rethink everything I knew.
The Truth About You and Me is a controversial book, as you'd expect. It's also topical and brilliant, and I'm sure it's one I'll re-read in the future. It doesn't have an overly long page count but it still manages to make an impact and stamp it's mark on the world of YA. I'm still thinking about it now - it's one of those books that inspires numerous discussions and stays in my mind for days after. I can't wait to discover more by this author!