A teenage thespian becomes romantically involved with her abusive adult acting coach in this straightforward cautionary tale.
Seventeen-year-old Iris is introduced to 31-year-old theater director Mick Horton by her drama teacher during a high school production of Hamlet. Iris, who is playing Ophelia, swoons under Mick’s intense attentions and is soon drawn into a sexual relationship with him. At first, Iris enjoys Mick’s protective manner: “Mick’s not bossy. He’s old-fashioned and romantic. He likes to take charge, and I like how that feels.” But she begins to question the relationship after Mick gets angry and punches a wall—and then her. The situation is further complicated by the fact that Iris’s largely absentee father has recently contacted her on Facebook, and she is telling lie after lie to her mother and friends to cover up her secret liaisons with both men. Iris finally ends the affair after her concerned friends and family stage an intervention, and Mick moves to Australia. The provocative, linear storyline, simple dialogue and textbook development of a typical abusive relationship make this an ideal title for teens who don’t consider themselves readers. Those looking for a more complex depiction of dating violence should try Sarah Dessen’s Dreamland (2000) or Chris Lynch’s Inexcusable (2005).
Best for bibliotherapy. (Fiction. 12-15)