Thursday, 31 December 2015

Book Review | Me and Mr J by Rachel McIntyre

23368733Fifteen-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?

For a story like this to work, there are a few things, which in my opinion I think you need to have. Those things, are a character who is at least sixteen, one who is mature (as in more mature than her actual age) and a narrative style which shows the relationship between the teacher and main character. A good example of this, is the relationship between Aria and Ezra in the TV show Pretty Little Liars (I haven't read enough yet to make a solid comment on how it plays out in the books).
So going into this book, I already knew that the first thing needed wasn't there. Lara is a fifteen year old student, so already, younger than I would have expected. However, I still decided to pick it up, because maybe it would balance out with the other two aspects I felt it needed.
The most pressing is that I felt you needed to have a mature character. I didn't find Lara to be mature at all. There were just so many times, when I kept thinking that she was acting younger than her age, so a story like this with her, didn't really work on that respect.
The third thing I felt was needed, is a narrative style which shows the relationship. Again this book feel short for me. The story is told through Lara's diary entries, and so we only have her interpretation of the events. In fact, we don't get very much information about Mr Jagger himself, and we get this secondhand recounting of their limited time together.
Having none of the three things I feel you need in a story like this, left the whole story feeling just a little creepy to me.
I didn't understand what attracted Mr Jagger to Lara, at all. This is in large part due to the fact that we didn't get to see much of them together, and nothing first hand, so you don't get to know how they came to get close. 
The other factor, is that from what we do see of Lara, she just doesn't seem mature enough to get the attention of Mr Jagger.
As far as the rest of the story, with her family issues, I didn't think that added a whole lot to the story.
The one thing I did like about this book, was the bullying storyline. I think that had the book forgone the teacher/student relationship, and just focussed on the issue of the bullying, and expanded on that, then this would have been a much better book.
The ending, was hugely disappointing to me as well. So all in all, this book fell flat on a lot of aspects, and just didn't work for me.


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