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~New Adult Contemporary Romance -- recommended for mature readers~
Girls like me don’t get happy endings.
I know what I am. At worst a cliché, at best a cautionary tale. I put an international border between me and my past, only to wind up working in a low-end titty bar. Even my excuse is as lame as it gets: I’m paying for college, getting my art degree from Montreal’s most prestigious school. Although some days it becomes confusing: am I just a student who moonlights as a stripper, or a stripper who masquerades as a student?
But the inevitable happens and my two lives collide. And now there’s one other person who knows both the quiet, antisocial Hannah and the sensual, shameless Alicia. One person who keeps my secret.
He’s beautiful, he’s sophisticated. He comes from the other side of life, the one where I’m not wanted or accepted. But he calls me la petite Américaine, and his hot, hot hands on my skin promise me things I long ago gave up on.
The problem? He teaches my Classic Photography class.
This is a standalone novel, no series, no cliffhanger.
I’ve been struggling with how to rate this, on one hand I liked it, it was an okay book, but then again it was nothing special, it didn’t leave me feeling anything in particular.
The story follows Hannah, who’s an American art student in Canada. In her free time, she works as a stripper to pay for school. She also meets Emmanuel, who turns out to be her Photography professor. That’s what the blurb says, but to me, this was a story about Hannah and the problems she has with herself and her identity. I mean, I liked her in the beginning I really did, but oh boy, did she then start to annoy me. That’s my main problem with this book – I couldn’t connect with the protagonist at all. She ran away from home, but as we all know you can’t run away from yourself. She starts working as a stripper, when she obviously has issues with that. Throughout the novel, I felt like that was a big part of who she was, like she labeled herself as such. I think the author should have made her more likeable, so we could actually see what Emmanuel saw in her, why did he like her?
Furthermore, the taboo relationship, which didn’t really feel taboo, even though the age difference is perfect 11 years. That is mostly because I felt the obstacles to their relationship came from within; not from Emmanuel being her teacher, but from Hannah and her inability to let someone in and to trust. She had issues with herself, which I felt she didn’t fully resolve by end of the novel.
Moreover, I could compare this with other teacher/student romances I’d read, but I won’t be doing that. Generally, such books can divided into 2 categories: romantic ones, where MCs are actually in love and end up together, and the abusive ones, where it’s mainly about lust and those don’t end up so well. And Shameless falls into the former category.
In conclusion, this is more a 3-star read for me, but I decided to be generous, because I liked the writing and I think the author has potential and I’ll be definitely reading Nina Lemay again.