This Secret We’re Keeping deals with the controversial topic of student/teacher relationships, I’ve read quite a few books based on this subject now and this is one of the better ones. It follows the relationship of Jessica Hart and Matthew Landley throughout the years. The relationship begins when Jessica is only 15 years old and Matthew is the cool math teacher at her private school. The POV changes every couple of chapters; Jessica’s chapters are set years after the affair ended, whilst Matthew’s show us how the affair started. I enjoyed the alternating POV as it allowed us to see both sides of the story and it also added more suspense.
My biggest problem when reading student/teacher based stories are when the writer tries to romanticise them. A grown man dating his 15 year old student is completely wrong, which some authors seem to not realise. In the chapters from Matthew’s POV he was constantly talking about how wrong the relationship is and how guilty he feels so there was never any doubt that the relationship shouldn’t be happening, which I appreciated. I was also surprised by how funny these chapters were, the author managed to keep the tone light without undermining the seriousness of the subject. Jessica as an adult was still frustratingly in denial about how wrong the relationship was, but her best friend Anna was a great voice of reason during these chapters. I got frustrated at times with the selfishness of Jessica and Matthew, especially with how comfortable they were with adultery in the later chapters, but the author did a great job of making them flawed but likeable. I found it harder to sympathise with Matthew obviously, but I had started the book prepared to hate him, which definitely wasn’t the case in the end.
Overall, this was a funny, interesting and exciting story that I really enjoyed.