Finished Indecent by Corinne Sullivan. I received a copy for review.
Summary (from Goodreads):
“Shy, introverted Imogene Abney has always been fascinated by the elite world of prep schools, having secretly longed to attend one since she was a girl in Buffalo, New York. So, shortly after her college graduation, when she’s offered a teaching position at the Vandenberg School for Boys, an all-boys prep school in Westchester, New York, she immediately accepts, despite having little teaching experience—and very little experience with boys.
When Imogene meets handsome, popular Adam Kipling a few weeks into her tenure there, a student who exudes charm and status and ease, she’s immediately drawn to him. Who is this boy who flirts with her without fear of being caught? Who is this boy who seems immune to consequences and worry; a boy for whom the world will always provide?
As an obsessive, illicit affair begins between them, Imogene is so lost in the haze of first love that she’s unable to recognize the danger she’s in. The danger of losing her job. The danger of losing herself in the wrong person. The danger of being caught doing something possibly illegal and so indecent.
Exploring issues of class, sex, and gender, this smart, sexy debut by Corinne Sullivan shatters the black-and- white nature of victimhood, taking a close look at blame and moral ambiguity.”
When we read about female teachers who sleep with students, they all seem to be young and incredibly pretty and super confident—sort of like the “cool girl” rant from Gone Girl. Imogene is not that girl. She’s painfully shy and compulsively picks at her face. She’s not awful in any way, but she’s the complete definition of average.
When the relationship starts, Imogene basically initially is carried away by its momentum. Adam Kipling (“Kip”) pursues her, and she basically is very “This is not my fault; I tried to resist.” Except she really didn’t. Picture the world’s flattest delivery of “You should go; you can’t be here.”
Once things turn physical, it starts to switch. Kip isn’t super into her anymore (or, slightly more accurately, it’s the push-pull relationship that we’ve all had at least once) and she starts to get a little obsessive. Like repeatedly texting and occasionally showing up and just in general doing everything that girls know they’re not supposed to do but do anyway, especially when they’re young (as Imogene is).
There is a steadily increasing sense of dread as the novel continues. Initially, there are multiple ways it can end well and all of those options start slowly falling apart. I wouldn’t say I necessarily liked Imogene, but I felt horrible for her.
This book is incredibly thought-provoking and I think it’s a great choice for book clubs. Recommended.