ISBN-13: 9781596431386
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Published: March 2007
176 pgs
Source: Library

A teacher. A student. Crossing the line. (Extracted from cover)

Books that cover difficult topics (or controversial/touchy issues for that matter) is never an easy read to me, let alone writing the reviews but that does not mean that they are bad and that we shouldn't read them. On the contrary, I think they bring awareness and serve as a support/information, especially to young adults readers whom some may feel that they have no one to talk or share with (one of the great examples is Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, which has been mentioned around the blogosphere lately for against the banning. I have this book in my TBR pile and I look forward to reading it).

17-year-old Connor isn't happy with his life (to be exact, he is two weeks away from being 18). He feels unloved and that his life is being brought down by his alcoholic parents; his father is institutionalized in a nursing home after an accident caused by his drinking and though his mother is seeking help to curb her drinking problem, Connor doesn't really trust her as there are times that she gives in to drinking again. With no one to rely on, Connor lives with his aunt and simply waiting for his time so he could live on his own after finding a real job instead of flipping burgers.

It is through an encounter that allows Connor to meet up with his history teacher, Ms. Corinna Timms once again. And it is easy to see why he is attracted to her, after all the 31-year-old Corinna is attractive and she makes Connor feels that she is the only person who takes notice of him. However, she is not perfect as one thinks for she has her dark past too. It doesn't take long for them to begin an affair, but could their relationship last and would it be accepted by the society?

On the cover, Gone may give people the impression that it is a story about forbidden love between a teacher and a student. But after reading it, I found that it goes beyond that. Aside from the teacher-student affair premise, it also tells a story about a teenage boy finding himself as well as finding a place to call home. Connor felt his life has been revolving around his alcoholic parents, and deep in his heart he wants to live his own life and not having others to show pity on him. This explains why he is drawn to Corinna, because the latter makes him feel like a real person instead of a charity case.

While Corinna is also attracted to him, however I wasn't sure if her feelings towards Connor is simply based on lust or love. I think Connor is truly in love with her, because his actions towards the end speaks volumes about how he feels for her. But in the end, she was gone, as the title indicates. Did she leave because she thought of her past, or did she leave because she knew there would be no future in regards to her relationship with Connor? These questions were never answered, and it made me feeling disappointed and perplexed. Honestly speaking, I didn't know how I should feel for Connor in the end. Sorry that he was being dumped? Or happy that the ending has somewhat made him realised where his real home is? I think it is up to the readers to decipher and decide.
7 Responses
  1. Julia Says:

    The book sound like it's very complicated relationship between Corinna and Connor. Sometime books are better off leaving the readers to make their own decision about the ending of the books. And sometime it drive readers insane with not knowing without any explaination. Great review Melody!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I don't find it easy to deal with books that cover such topics, but I do think it is important that they are being published and read. I am not sure if this is for me, although it sounds like a good thing that there is a lot of focus on the boy finding himself.

  3. Veens Says:

    Being treated as a charity case is never easy and if he goes to Corinna because of that, then his parents are to blame. Really.

    I like the plot, but this kind of open ending is not somehting I would like. And I cannot be happy with Corinna leaving. Like You, I cannot decide what to feel for Connor.

  4. Sandy Nawrot Says:

    The idea of this makes me nauseous. Have you ever seen Notes on a Scandal? There is nothing healthy about teacher/student relationships. Unfortunately it seems to happen alot. Kudos to the author for addressing such a taboo subject.

  5. Amy Says:

    Sounds like an important book, and a really good read. I'll have to look it up at some point. Sounds like it leaves a lot of questions though and that might frustrate me!

  6. Wow--sounds like a book with some really heavy gray lines--and I like when an author leaves so many questions for the reader. I don't think life can be so clearcut--sometimes there just isn't a right answer.

  7. Iliana Says:

    This sounds like quite a hard topic to approach for a Young Adult novel but I love that. I think by bringing up important issues and even if they are touchy you might just get young adults talking and hopefully helping them through rough moments in life. Great review, Melody. I was really looking forward to reading your thoughts on this one.

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