I'm still confused about rating this book. I didn't read any reviews prior to starting so I didn't know what to expect. Yes I knew it was a taboo story, teacher/student relationship but somehow I couldn't help feeling uncomfortable throughout the book. It was very difficult for me to fall for Mr Connelly "call me Marc", I just couldn't shake this bad vibe and I only saw him as a predator. Yes, I said it! He abused his position as a teacher and used her vulnerability and her weak state of mind.
I don't care that he said he loved her, I don't care that he was direct with her, he was the adult in this relationship. He kept saying that she was mature for her age but to me Candace was sheltered, innocent, vulnerable, impressionable and eager to have someone she could trust and she was desperate to be accepted and prove that she was a good girl.
So in a roundabout way I think he did pressure her to start this relationship. I don't care that we were told that he truly loved her, that didn't come across... As I mentioned I felt uncomfortable as their relationship progressed.
And then about 79%
“So you want me to get an abortion?” I asked, panicked.
“We don’t even know if you’re pregnant yet.”
“But if I were, you’d want me to kill the baby?” I pressed. I felt lightheaded.
“It’s not a baby. It’s a parasite.”
I gasped and watched him shudder.
“A parasite?” I whispered.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.” He eyed me carefully. “Cadence? I’m sorry I said that. I didn’t mean to be offensive.”
I'm sorry but I couldn't stomach that! He was 28 years old, I don't care what has happend to him in the past not that we learned much about his previous life, that was a horrible thing to say. If you're really in love you don't have secrets, you talk about everything, you try to learn about each other and Candace knew nothing about him.
“Don’t insinuate I’m some fucking asshole. You don’t know my past,” he said.”
“What happened in your past?” I demanded.
“It’s not your business, Cadence.”
“The hell it’s not! I’m your girlfriend!”
“I’m not discussing it with you.”
“Stop talking down to me like I’m a child!”
So yes as you can tell I wasn't impressed.
Have I mentioned that I hate cliffhanger? Well, I'm saying it again, I do, I really do. I suspect we will learn more about Mark's past in the next book and maybe that will explain some of his behaviour but I'm not convinced.
I couldn't understand how some of his friends were ok with him having an interest on a 17 year old and what's worst one of his students. Remember the record guy and then Angel, the bouncer? That was weird, on both occasions.
Another instance that raised alarm bells for me was when they were discussing their inappropriate relationship and it looked like he knew about the laws in Georgia.
“Could you go to jail?”
“Maybe. I don’t know. I mean, it’s a little tougher to put away teachers here in Georgia because of the way the laws are written.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s complicated and not worth talking about. But I need you to understand that this isn’t me using you. I’d never take a risk like that knowing all I could lose if I didn’t genuinely care about you.”
I mean why would he know about the laws in Georgia, why did he look at them in the first place. I might be wrong but that didn't feel right to me.
Cadence did question his motives on various occasion, in fact she did ask him if he was taking advantage of her because she was vulnerable and in a bad place. Were her instincts right? She decided that she was wrong but I'm not convinced.
“Well, maybe he liked the girl-next-door types. Or maybe he sensed my emotional vulnerability, my loneliness. Maybe he thought he could take advantage of that. I wasn’t a complete idiot. I knew this was all wrong, and I knew I had to confront the possibility that Mr. Connelly was a bad man. A user. An exploiter. So why didn’t I believe any of it? Why did I think he was genuinely nice and kind instead? That he had fallen for me apart from any insidious motive? Was it just my naiveté?”
He gave her alcohol. He said that she didn't have to do things but why did I get the impression that somehow he was pushing her to do things, knowing that she wanted to prove herself that she was mature enough and good enough for him. I mean she was scared of kissing him at first!
Oh, well I'm definitely going to read the next book and hopefully will get all my answers and they better be satisfactory because as it is Mark is an antihero for me and I can't see a single redeeming quality in him.