Title: Consent by Nancy Ohlin
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Length: 288 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
In this sexy and intriguing novel, an intense—and passionate—bond between a high school senior and her music teacher becomes a public scandal that threatens the reputation of both.
Bea has a secret.
Actually, she has more than one. There’s her dream for the future that she can’t tell anyone—not her father and not even her best friend, Plum.
And now there’s Dane Rossi. Dane is hot, he shares Bea’s love of piano, and he believes in her.
He’s also Bea’s teacher.
When their passion for music crosses into passion for each other, Bea finds herself falling completely for Dane. She’s never felt so wanted, so understood, so known to her core. But the risk of discovery carries unexpected surprises that could shake Bea entirely. Bea must piece together what is and isn’t true about Dane, herself, and the most intense relationship she’s ever experienced in this absorbing novel from Nancy Ohlin, the author of Beauty.
Consent by Nancy Ohlin is an incredibly thought-provoking young adult novel about an affair between a high school student and her teacher. Well-written and impossible to put down, readers will be thinking about this story long after the last page has been turned.
Beatrice “Bea” Kim’s life is full of secrets but she has trouble keeping her crush (and subsequent relationship) with her music teacher, Dane Rossi, under wraps. Bea cannot help but notice how sexy and good looking her substitute teacher is but their interactions are at first innocent and focus on her extraordinary talent for playing the piano. His praise and interest are just the inspiration she needs to consider pursuing a future as a concert pianist and their shared passion for music easily bridges the age gap between them. The attraction between Bea and Dane simmers in the background until the two take a trip to New York so Bea can audition for a professor at Julliard. Careful to keep their distance from one another upon their return, a careless moment of passion sparks an investigation into their affair.
In spite of her less than happy home life, Bea manages to excel at both her school work and playing the piano. Bea’s relationships with her father and brother are distant and the reasons for the rift between the family members remain unclear for a good part of the story. Although she is essentially a piano prodigy, she has ever received any type of formal training nor much encouragement to nurture her natural abilities. The one bright spot in her life is her friendship with Plum but despite their close relationship, Bea is less than forthcoming about many details of her life.
The various story arcs are interesting and the characters are relatively well-developed. The music aspect of the storyline is possibly a little too detailed for a layperson but music enthusiasts will certainly enjoy the close attention to detail. Bea and Plum are vibrantly developed characters that are three-dimensional and quite likable. Bea’s brother and father are not as fully fleshed out and for the most part, they remain on the periphery of the overall story. Dane remains enigmatic despite his rather prominent role in the storyline and some of the questions raised about him are never clearly answered. Nonetheless, he is a larger than life character whose obvious charisma and charm make it very easy to understand why Bea is so attracted to him.
The questions swirling around Bea and Dane’s relationship and the age of consent are extremely insightful and thought-provoking. Viewing the romance through Bea’s eyes, it is easy to understand what she is thinking and feeling from their very first meeting until the novel’s end. Her perspective during the investigation is intriguing and it is not until she learns unexpected information about Dane that Bea sees their relationship more clearly and with this newfound knowledge, she makes a rather surprising decision about their future. While most of the storyline is resolved, a few lingering questions remain about certain individuals and their actions.
Consent by Nancy Ohlin is an adeptly written novel about uncomfortable subject matter that is guaranteed to generate interesting discussions between parents and their teens. An outstanding portrayal of a sensitive topic that I highly recommend to readers of all ages.