This powerful and challenging story seriously threw me off-kilter. Vanessa Wye is a complex character, not always easy to like or get a handle on. Graphic scenes of sexual abuse made me recoil, but I still read compulsively late into the night. A sure-footed debut which makes you appreciate the lasting effect abuse has on the victim and the courage it takes for them to acknowledge it.
He says, 'Vanessa, when you look back, you'll remember me as someone who loved you, just one of many. I guarantee your life is going to be so much bigger than me.'
I let out a shaky breath. Maybe he's right. Maybe there's safety in what he says, a chance to walk away unscathed and unbound. Is it really impossible to imagine that I might emerge from this worldly and wise, a girl with a story to tell? Someday when people ask me, 'Who was your first lover?' the truth will set me apart. Not some ordinary boy, but an older man: my teacher. He loved me so desperately I had to leave him behind. It was tragic, but I didn't have a choice. That's just how the world works.