November 20, 2015

REVIEW: Eighteen

Eighteen, by JA Huss
Publish Date:
November 18, 2015
Publisher: self-published
Format: e-ARC, provided by the author
Genre: adult contemporary erotic romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Eighteen is hard. And so is Mateo Alesci.

He’s hard to read, hard to predict, hard in every way that counts. He wants things from me.

Dirty things, nasty things, forbidden things.

And I have to give in.

His attention is completely inappropriate, but I can’t say no. The way he looks at me… the way he watches me through my bedroom window… the way he drags me deeper and deeper into his completely forbidden fantasy world just… turns me on.
He knows it turns me on.
He holds all the power. He holds all the cards.

He holds my entire future in his hands.

And I have to give in.

Because Mr. Alesci is my teacher.

And I need everything he’s offering.

JA Huss has this awesome ability to make you think you're reading one thing, and then she knocks you on your ass when you realize you've got something totally different on your hands. Eighteen was like that for me. I thought it was simply a super hot student-teacher romance book. But, it was so much more than that. 

Oh, don't get me wrong. There IS a romance that happens between a teacher and his student. And it IS Super. Hot. But, almost from the very beginning, there was a feeling of... more. A current of tension that constantly hummed beneath the surface. There were the secrets that everyone around Shannon seemed to be keeping from her. There was the truth behind the fact that the life that she had known was gone forever. And there was the impending sense that the shit in her life was about to hit the fan in a huge, epic way. 

I don't know much about this world. I'm only eighteen. I feel like a little baby seahorse in a sea of sharks, that's how confusing life is for me right now.

Putting aside the romance for a moment, Eighteen is about the age that turned out to be a pivotal moment in this one girl's life. Her sister died suddenly, after moving herself and Shannon across the country from their native Ohio to southern California. Shannon is forced to stay with her loathsome brother-in-law and her 3-month-old niece, who is now Shannon's only blood family she has left. And to top it all off, she is told by her high school principle that she needs to attend night school in the last half of her senior year if she hopes to graduate. 

When all her prospects for happiness and prosperity seem nonexistent, in steps Mateo Alesci, her night school trigonometry teacher. Ten years her senior, Mateo is hot, confident, smart and completely not like any teacher she's ever had before. Unlike other student-teacher romance books you might have read before, the difference here is that Mateo apologizes to no one for any of his actions. He's bold. He doesn't fear getting caught. And he becomes a dominating force in Shannon's life. 

"I'm gonna be seeing a lot of you, Shannon Drake. There's no way in hell you'll be invisible to me."

I think Mateo came along at the perfect time for Shannon. She was truly floundering and was forced to take care of herself. She had a hard time letting go of that hard earned control and ceding it to Mateo. Admittedly, she was suspicious of his motives - wouldn't you be? Everyone else in her life has screwed her over in a huge way. Plus, he's her teacher, for crying out loud. And the things he asked her to do - goodness, some of them made ME blush. But, giving control of her body, her feelings, her mind to him turned out to be the best kind of therapy. 

I'm addicted to him and what he does to my body. There's no starting over or going back now. I am just addicted and I need more.

Until those secrets I mentioned earlier that everyone around Shannon seemed to be keeping from her started leaking out. I'm a big fan of the Huss Twist. It's that moment in every JA Huss book where your eyes bug out of your head, and you find yourself saying (usually out loud), "No. Freaking. WAY." That was me as soon as everything was revealed. And my heart broke a bit for Shannon in that moment. Yours will too. 

But not for long. The bottom of the barrel is paved with healing and hope. And, Shannon is one tough chick. That much is evident from word one. The sweet romance, the hot sex, the gritty life story and the twisty surprises made Eighteen a standout of the year. 

Life isn't all or nothing, it's something in between.  

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