★★★★ 4 Big Stars! ★★★★
This book seriously sucked me in from the first page to the last. I’m a huge fan of taboo themed books so it’s no secret that I would practically be drooling over a book revolving around a fifteen year old girl having an affair with an older man… Who happened to be her teacher… And who also happened to be married with kids.
Be still my heart.
Isabel Cruz is a fifteen year old high school student who fell head over heels for her high school swim coach, Tom Stevens. The entire story is told through her point of view which is something that I appreciated so much because I felt like it allowed readers the chance to understand that love can truly be found in this type of forbidden relationship as well as at such a young age. What may have started off as your standard crush quickly developed into so much more. I really have to commend Isabel’s maturity here… Sure, there were times when she acted like your typical teenager and made some pretty dumb decisions, but over-all she handled her relationship with Tom extremely well considering everything that they had to go through. Their entire relationship was a struggle and had I been in her shoes, I don’t know if I would have been able to handle all of the jealousy and secrecy that they both had to experience day in and day out.
Tom on the other hand, was extremely sweet. …And let’s be honest here- There’s no doubt in my mind, that had he been my swim coach I probably would have tried to start my own affair with him…
Call me a home wrecker if you must, but my God it’s the truth. The man had some serious feelings for Isabel and he always treated her with the utmost respect. That, along with his extreme patience were both such endearing qualities which made me love and appreciate his character all the more.
This book will definitely show you that love doesn’t always come easy. Their relationship is very illegal… Not only because of the student/teacher factor, but the age difference. Isabel was barely into her mid-teens before she began her love affair with Tom who just so happened to be in his late thirties. Yet, never once did I find any of those things to be what some would call “disgusting” or “gross” and I certainly never thought of Tom as some kind of pedophile. I felt like the love they had for each other was truly genuine, which for me just seemed to push all of thewrong that was in the midst of their relationship to the side and put what truly mattered in the forefront… True love.
I really felt for both characters on such an emotional level- Tom had a wife and children which really put a damper on things between him and Isabel. Despite the fact that Tom openly admits to Isabel that his wife was nothing but a glorified roommate whom he’s not even in love with, she still struggles to come to terms with the fact that he still continues to return to that home life night after night. To make matters worse, he never gives any indication that he plans to one day leave his family for her despite all of his proclamations of being head-over-heels in love with only her.
Beyond that, they both had to consistently be on guard and watch their backs on a 24/7 basis to make sure that their relationship stayed hidden from family, the public and especially authorities. …They both knew that they were taking the risk of a lifetime if they ever became exposed for there would have been dire consequences to be had, but the fact that they were both willing to risk so much time and time again, really showed the depth of their feelings for one another.
The only few negative aspects about this book for me was the minor lack of character development when it came to Tom’s character. To be fair though, the story was told strictly in Isabel’s point of view which could be a big reason why I didn’t feel like I really got to know Tom on the personal level that I did with Isabel. Anyone who knows me though, knows how big of an importance character development is for me and I’m happy to say that while this book lacked a little bit in that department, over-all it wasn’t enough to make me change my feelings about the story as a whole. I also felt like there could have been just a tad bit more length and depth to the details of their relationship as well- Amping up the steam factor would have definitely made a difference when it came to certain scenes, that’s for sure. I know, I know… Books don’t always need graphic sex scenes… But the pervy side of me just missed the lack of it in this story. *hangs head in shame*
Over-all though, the author truly did an amazing job writing this story and addressing such a taboo topic- We’re able to see the hidden feelings and issues that both Isabel and Tom faced and dealt with in the years that they struggled to make their relationship work as best as they could. The thing I loved most about this book was that Eva Márquez created a world where the lines between fantasy and reality became extremely blurred. It takes true talent to be able to bring such extreme emotion out of readers… An emotion so great that you actually question yourself on whether something that’s deemed socially unacceptable to society is really all that wrong. Without a doubt, this is one author to look out for in the future and one book that is definitely worth the read.
PS: …After finishing this book there’s no way you won’t be dying to see what’s in store next for this couple and if their love truly is strong enough for them both to get that much deserved fairy-tale ending. …Now I’m off to read Tainted Love!