13 November 2015

Title: Consent
Author: Nancy Ohlin
Publisher: Simon Pulse, (November 10th 2015)
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Add to: Goodreads
Order here: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository, Amazon UK

Synopsis: Bea has a secret.

Actually, she has more than one. There’s her dreams 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.

Author Guest Post:

          I knew I was taking a major risk writing a novel about a teacher-student romance.  Many people are uncomfortable with this subject, and for good reason; do a search for “teacher,” “student,” and “sex” on the Internet, and the result is way too many disturbing links about teachers being arrested for preying on their students.

          So this happened to me in high school.  It was not a romantic or sexy experience.  Years later, I decided that I wanted to write a novel about the topic so that I could warn and enlightenreaders.  That’s how Consent was born.

          But Consent changed radically along the way.  While writing, I realized that the issue of sexual consent was way more complicated than I was making it out to be, at least with regards to age.  Laws exist that dictate how old a person has to be to legally consent to sex, and they differ from state to state.   These laws are intended to protect; they can also be perceived as being arbitrary and overly restrictive.  Is it fair for a seventeen-year-old boy to be arrested for having sex with his fifteen-year-old girlfriend?  Shouldn’t it be okay if the parties involved are in love?

          Consent is about all this.  It’s about a teacher who should know better than to have a relationship with his student.  It’s about a damaged girl who needs a mentor so she can move forward in life.  It’s about two people in love.  It’s about laws being broken.  It’s about consequences and finding the truth.

I want to be clear.  In no universe do I think that teachers should have relationships with their students.  Consent laws are vitally important—not just the so-called “age of consent” laws but the laws that spell out when “no means no” and “yes means yes.”

But.  Real life is not so black and white, and I wanted to explore all the grayness, the nuances, through the lens of a teenager—a fictional teenager—who is in love with a man she thinks of as her hero andsoulmate.

          Consent may unleash a maelstrom of public outrage.  In a way, I hope it does.  We need to keep talking about the issue of consent:  what it means, how to regulate it, and how to bind it inexorably to the very idea of sex.  Consent is my humble contribution to that conversation.

About the Author:

I am the author of BEAUTY, a YA retelling of the Snow White tale, and ALWAYS, FOREVER, a YA retelling of Daphne du Maurier's REBECCA. ALWAYS, FOREVER was originally published in hardcover as THORN ABBEY.

I've also contributed to several celebrity novels, including a New York Times-bestselling YA trilogy.

I'm currently hard at work on my next YA novel, which will be as mind-bending as ALWAYS, FOREVER (I hope!).

My favorite cures for writers' block are long walks, long showers, popcorn, chocolate, and really expensive coffee. I talk to myself a lot while I write (you know, to make sure the dialogue zings).

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