Wednesday, September 26, 2012

ARC Review: Sweetest Taboo

Rating: 4 Stars
Author: Eva Márquez
Genre: YA Romance/Coming of Age
Release Date: October 1, 2012
BlurbIsabel Cruz was fifteen years old when she met Tom Stevens. She was 15 when they started dating, and 16 when she lost her virginity to him. By the time she turned 18 and went to college, everything had fallen apart.

This hadn’t been an ordinary love, though. Not a love between two dear friends, or even high school sweethearts. This had been the most taboo sort of love there was: a relationship between a student and her teacher. Isabel started her high school career as a normal student, but set her sights on Tom Stevens as soon as she met him, and pursued him with an intense – and sometimes reckless – fascination. When he finally approached her after swim practice and told her that he shared her feelings, it was the start of a forbidden and dangerous relationship. (more)

This story is one that is most certainly not for everyone. Obviously the content is controversial, however I believe that Eva Márquez wrote with an honest and delicate hand, allowing the reader to experience something from a point of view we would never normally have. 

*minor spoilers*
In the opening pages, Eva expresses how this story is inspired by a true story - that of her mother. A woman whom she has the utmost respect and love for. This isn't a story glorifying the relationship between a married high school teacher and student, but one of discovery, heartbreak, healing, and learning to believe in yourself through and through.

This book begins with a 15-year-old girl, Isabel, having a crush on her lead swim coach, Mr. Stevens. After quite some time daydreaming about what it would be like for Mr. Stevens to notice her, Isabel is surprised and excited when he finally does - by handing her favorite towel to her after practice. This obviously means that he's been watching her before and after practice because one, he's aware of where she puts her swim-bag and two, he knows which towel is her favorite.

What begins as an innocent crush soon begins building into more when Mr. Stevens invites Isabel to his classroom after practice - and that is when she begins calling him Tom.

The intimacy between Tom and Isabel is slow building and respectful while still remaining slightly disturbing and uncomfortable. Even in the most innocent moments, I worried for this young girl's heart and the pain to come with the end of this relationship. 

Isabel does prove mature for her years, debating the choices she's making and always thinking that she and Tom would come to an end for one reason or another. She never played the victim and stood strong for her beliefs throughout. Even the "love" discussion was honest and straightforward, refreshingly so. These reasons and more helped develop respect for Isabel's character.

Tom, even when he was the "perfect gentleman," did give me a bit of the creeps. Although his character was nothing but respectful and open with Isabel, it was difficult for me to not imagine my father or husband making such a "terrible" decision. However, Tom's love for Isabel will surprise the reader and take you places that you are surprised to be. I found myself really feeling sorry for him one moment and then wanting to smack Isabel for continuing their relationship.

There was so much to this story that I enjoyed reading. The realness of these characters just jumps off of the page and engrosses the reader from the first chapter. I even enjoyed the perspectives of Isabel's friends - especially Liz who was hilarious and amazingly supportive.

Overall, this is a story that allows the reader to delve deep into an issue that occurs much more frequently than what's on the news. I am so happy that I added this book to my bookshelf, and would most definitely suggest this read to anyone with an open-mind for understanding and development.


 Jenna Lynne

*Thank you so much to Eva Márquez for providing me with an ARC copy of Sweetest Taboo in return for my honest review.*


  1. Great review. I'm really interested in checking this one out.

  2. Whenever I see anything teacher/student related, I always get this sort of creeper image that pops into my head. Ya know, the one where the evil old man is trolling the halls of the high school for a barely pubescent "hottie", to help calm his insecurities from a mid life crisis. lol

    Then I actually sat down and watched Pretty Little Liars and realized that not all teachers are old troll like men and even if they are older, that it doesn't necessarily mean they are preying on the weak. That kinda put things into perspective for me (a little) and now it's not as hard to read/watch stuff about this type of relationship. So.... I think I might just give this one a shot too. ; )

    1. Hey girl! I hear you...I completely felt the same way. This story was indeed unique in that I saw more in it than the *creep* factor...however, it was still there. And I LOVE Pretty Little Liars and the relationship between teacher and student there is anything but creepy.

      But it a sense it's still wrong...even when you are routing for them, you know? Anywho, love your insightful comments as always! xoxo

    2. Pretty Little Liars is the only exception to my student/teacher relationship rule. I don't think that ANY high school student should have a relationship with any sort of authority figure. It's a gross misuse of power and it's just gross. I think the only reason that Aria/Ezra didn't bother me, is because they were soooooo close in age, and they met BEFORE he became her teacher. I don't think that he should be punished for something that he didn't know about beforehand. It would have been different if he first met her in his class and THEN started dating her. *gag*

      Otherwise, I can't see the problem with a teacher of any age, dating an 18+ yr old student. They are legal consenting adults and what they choose to do with their personal time is their business. *shrug* I have 4 children so I always get asked if my view would be the same if it were one of them and my answer is yes. ;)

  3. Great review..not sure I could get passed the teacher/student thing.

    1. Hey Kim! Thank you - and it was a difficult read at times. Glad though that I read it!

  4. I enjoyed it.