Monday, 23 February 2015

Review of Me and Mr J by Rachel McIntyre

The bit on the back…

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?

Firstly, thank you to Electric Monkey for approving me for a copy of this title via NetGalley. I read a book with a similar storyline years ago, and then re-read it recently, and that is the main reason I requested a copy of this.

The story is all about high school student Lara and her crush on her teacher Mr Jagger.
Before I begin my review it is obvious that the subject of the story is controversial and realistic so you should know from reading the blurb whether this is something you would like to read, or indeed whether or not this is something you would be likely to buy for a teenage relation.

The story is written in a diary format from Lara Tittless’s POV. Lara is a 15 year old high school student who suffers at the hands of bullies alongside the usual trials and tribulations of growing up. 

The diarised format is very informal and felt quite easy to read. The story is very one sided because of this though and the only perspective that’s given is Lara’s. As there is very little dialogue and interaction recorded throughout it’s harder to read Ben’s thoughts and actions and translate them into something with a meaningful impact on the story. The story is very definitely aimed at the YA market however and I don’t know if I’m almost expecting too much from it. The actual progression of their relationship again seemed very one-sided and very much like it was merely the fantasy of a school girl where her feelings were not reciprocated.

There are three main themes throughout the story – family; bullying and the controversial student/teacher relationship. The bullying aspect of the story felt very realistic in parts and in others it seemed quite extreme. I’d like to imagine that in a perfect world no one found themselves in the situations that Lara did, however that would be blissful ignorance. The fact of the matter is that sometimes the language/scenario felt more mature than the rest of the story making it feel like there was a divide in the story. I think it could be quite relatable for other teens who suffer from bullies but I don’t know if it sets the right example, or what the right example would be.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, considering the nature of the storyline, however I did feel that the ending was rushed and didn’t feel as equally weighted as the rest of the story leading up to it, almost like a quick get out. I would recommend Love Lessons by David Belbin if you are looking for another story with a similar plotline. Read my review here.

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