Tampa; Alissa Nutting
Ecco - 2013
Beware -- this story will shock some readers, but it's really a page turner.
Celeste Price is a 26 year old beauty with a gorgeous husband, money and a hot little red Corvette. She's also just landed her dream job teaching English to eight graders at a Tampa school.
She's so excited about beginning this new job she can't sleep and her mind keeps racing. It's not the idea of molding the minds of her new students that excites her, instead she sees this job as the perfect opportunity to fulfill her fantasies -- by having sex with young boys.
Celeste's first conquest Jack Patrick, age 14 who in her eyes is just about perfect -- a little shy and not the type to brag about his conquests with the pretty teacher. He lives alone with his divorced father who occasionally work late and things get hot hot hot very quickly. Of course her plans don't work out perfectly and complications do arise along the way.
Celeste is a piece of work. She's vain, judgmental, outrageous, a sexual predator and sociopath. She detests her handsome husband who she married for money and, who at 31 is too old to satisfy her fully. Some of what this woman does will shock you and other things might make you feel guilty for laughing out loud.
The story is told from Celeste's POV which is perfect as it makes you realize even more just how twisted she is. For me though an evil, well-developed character like Celeste makes for a much more entertaining read than a likable, straight shooter. Some of the things that happen in this story are ridiculous, but it is all part of the shock value delivered in this novel.
This book would make a great discussion book, but I doubt you'll find many library book groups selecting it since the main character is clearly a sexual predator.and the story is definitely cringe-worthy.
The book is loosely based on the real life, Debra Lafave case in Florida. Readers who enjoy stories with deeply troubled characters and fiction that at times may be uncomfortable to read might want to give this one a try. It's not perfect, but I did enjoy it and read it in less than 4 hours as it was kind of hard to put down.
(Cover comment - the hardcover I had from the library was the stark black cover, and although both seemed a bit boring, I am not sure what else would be appropriate after having read the book) This book was brought to my attention by Jackie - Farm Lane Books.