Book Review: Eighteen by JA Huss

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Title: Eighteen
Author: JA Huss @jahuss
Reviewer: Grace
Genre: New Adult
Length: 246 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis
Eighteen is hard.
And so is Mateo Alesci.
He’s hard to read, hard to predict, hard in every way that counts. He wants things from me.
Dirty things, nasty things, forbidden things.
And I have to give in.
His attention is completely inappropriate, but I can’t say no. The way he looks at me… the way he watches me through my bedroom window… the way he drags me deeper and deeper into his completely forbidden fantasy world just… turns me on.
He knows it turns me on.
He holds all the power. He holds all the cards.
He holds my entire future in his hands.
And I have to give in.
Because Mr. Alesci is my teacher.
And I need everything he’s offering.


Grace Review
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of JA Huss.  Her work is so original and unexpected, that I look forward to every new release.  With this story, she tackles the very popular theme of a student/teacher romance.  Get your attention?  Well this isn’t your ordinary student/teacher romance.  From 10% on I had the on-going thought in my head “what the hell is going on?”

Shannon is an odd heroine.  She has this tragic past and you want to feel sorry for the path her life has taken.  But she’s so apathetic about everything and gives in to things that most people question.

I think I’ll just continue to say fuck in my thoughts all day long.  Maybe that will make me give a fuck?

Mateo enters her life and completely takes over.  He’s her teacher(sort of), but he doesn’t teach her like anyone I’ve ever met.

The author wastes no time in turning up the heat in this book.  Beyond the student/teacher theme, it pushes the forbidden aspect with the what, how and where of everything that happens between them.  To give you an example, this is just a glimpse of how Mateo teaches:

“Well, since you’re a beginner, I’ll cut you some slack for the first week.  Every time you take a test, I’ll let you suck my dick.”

The twist in this story completely changes the nature of this story.  I sort of had suspicions about Mateo with his odd behavior and remarks, but I didn’t put all of the pieces together.  And it’s the aftermath of the twist that actually increased my overall rating of the story.  For the last 20% or so of the book, I DID NOT MOVE.

The twist gave me mixed reactions towards the characters.  For Mateo, like Shannon occasionally thought, something wasn’t adding up with him.

“Are you my problem, Mateo? Or my answer?”
“Which one do you want me to be?”

The signs were there for her and the reader.  In her case, like she treated a lot of things in her life, she just didn’t put the pieces together and make an effort.  If she did, she would have seen all the warning signs in her life.  She’s so busy coasting thru school and almost giving up in life, that part of me didn’t feel sorry for her and how drastically her life changes with the twist.  But my compassionate side definitely felt for her as this was just another blow to an already traumatic teenage life.

Math plays an interesting part in this story, as it not only is what brought Shannon and Mateo together, but the author creatively uses it to repair the relationship between them.  While I kept questioning when did Mateo actually teach her, in a very weird but calculating way, he was doing it all along.

While I had questions throughout the story as to the direction the author was taking me, I loved how she pulled everything together in such a unique way.  Given that this was based on a true story, I’m curious to see what parts were real and what were from the author’s imagination.  But either way, I loved the whole concept of this story and recommend it for anyone looking for the unexpected.

– Grace

*An ARC was received for an honest review.

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