Book Review: Consent
By: Nancy Ohlin
Published By: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Page Count: 288
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary
Consent is a beautifully written novel about forbidden love between a teacher and a student. Before your mind wanders into creepy territory - this is a 27-year-old substitute who is contemplating graduate school and a 17-year-old high school senior who will be 18 just 3 months after meeting said substitute teacher.
Bea is a music prodigy. She has had to hide it most of her life because her mother was also a famous piano prodigy who died giving birth to Bea. She is convinced that her dad and her father blame her for this so she over the years, Bea has learned to hide her talent from them.
Bea's best friend, Plum, kind of takes charge of Bea's life. Bea's father is a work-a-holic attorney and doesn't pay too much attention to Bea. So she spends a lot of time at Plum's house and has let Plum begin planning their college visitation schedule.
Bea meets Mr. Rossi on the first day of her senior year in music history class. Eventually, Mr. Rossi discovers that Bea can actually play the piano and play it quite well, He asks her to participate in a trio that will be performing in the Christmas concert. When she learns the difficult piece of music overnight, he realizes she is something extraordinary. He asks if he can arrange for her to meet with his piano teacher from Julliard.
Bea ends up lying to Plum about why she can't visit colleges with her over Columbus Day weekend. Instead, she spends the weekend with Dane, previously Mr. Rossi, visiting Julliard...among other things.
Now, I have to admit, I kind of wanted these cute kids to get together. But at the same time, I was yelling "No!" because I knew it would only lead to trouble for both of them. If she had been a college Freshman, I would have been 100% in favor of their relationship. But due to the student/teacher aspect, I respected the inappropriateness of it.
Trouble certainly came because of their relationship. I thought it was interesting that the name of the book was Consent because I think that was the exact issue the author was trying to bring to our attention. According to the law, a minor of 17 in that state (which I thought was New York, but I couldn't verify) is unable to give sexual consent under any type of circumstance. A 17-year-old minor can buy birth control, receive prenatal care if pregnant, or an abortion, all on her own, but cannot consent to the actual act of sex. It makes no sense, which I believe is the point the author was trying to make.
One of the things I loved about this book was the music aspect. I also play the piano...started lessons at age 5. Her talent was truly awe inspiring and I would have loved to have heard her actually play any of these pieces of music. It was wonderful listening to the descriptions of the music and it really put me in the emotional tenor of the book. If you aren't familiar with any musical terminology, these parts of the book might not be as enjoyable for you as they were for me.
I did not like Theo's character. I realize he had a difficult childhood. His mother died when he was young, his father seemed to have had a nervous breakdown, then threw himself into his work so as to forget the death of his wife. What son wouldn't suffer from that? But his treatment of Bea after 17, almost 18 years seemed too much.
On the other hand, Bea's dad was totally able to turn it around in the end. Since he is a criminal attorney, a friend at the DA's office gives him a head's up about the investigation into Bea and Dane's relationship. Bea never admits to her relationship with Dane, but she does tell her father about the trip to NYC and Julliard. It makes her father realize how absent he has been from her life and he makes a concerted effort to be there for her as she finishes her senior year of high school. Score one for dad!
The death of Bea's mother seemed to be this big secret that she couldn't share with anyone, as though it were something to be ashamed of. I found it to be more confusing than secretive. When she finally came out and admitted it to Dane and Plum, I just felt relieved that so many random comments were finally making sense to me.
I won't give away the ending of the book. I still have mixed feelings about how it ended. There were definitely great aspects to the end, but also some disappointing parts as well. I hope that in Bea and Dane's futures, everything works out for both of them.
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.