Publication Date: 9/4/11
Format: Kindle ebook
Source: Received from author as a gift/review
Abandoned by her mother at the vulnerable age of eight; only to be shipped off to a boarding school in Northern California by her grandparents, Wilson Mooney, is one girl who knows what it’s like to have to grow up way too fast. Now, a month away from turning eighteen and orphaned by the death of her grandparents; she knows exactly what she wants. All it takes is a spontaneous ski trip with her narcissistic roommate to Colorado, to make it a reality. When he happens to show up at a party in Aspen, Wilson becomes tangled in the powerful emotions of first love, sexual inexperience, and society’s principles. She lives a whirlwind weekend filled with newly discovered boundaries, calloused aches for a family she never had, and all the pressures of keeping their weekend together a secret.
Almost Eighteen left me feeling one strong emotion: Conflicted.
I knew that this was a story of a "forbidden" romance, but wasn't aware that the relationship in question that between a student and teacher. I don't have an inherent problem with that trope, particularly when the teacher is twenty-two and the student is almost eighteen. I have no problem with it at all when it's at the collegiate level, as long as neither participant is married. I'm not saying that it is okay, at all, but I am saying that I can see how it happens. The problem for me is, when I was a senior in high school, I was put in the middle of a "he said/she said" situation between a teacher I was close to and a friend. It wasn't an affair like this, but it was pretty traumatic nonetheless. It's an area that still upsets me all these years later. So I'm not the easiest sell on teacher/student relationships.
That's not to say that I can't be at least won over by their story. If I can feel the emotions, that torture between wanting someone and knowing that it is wrong. If there is an establishment of the characters and relationship. If the emotions are slow building, pulling me along on a path that is both wrong and undeniable. And that's where Almost Eighteen lost me. It wasn't the forbidden relationship between Wilson and Max that didn't win me over. It's that the build-up of emotions and tensions between them was minimal.
The story begins with Wilson's internal thoughts about her teacher, Max. How much she wants him, and would do anything to have him. Lo and behold, the two end up in Aspen on the same weekend. After partying together, Wilson and Max begin flirting heavily, and confess their attraction. Max says it can't happen and Wilson is devastated. Then Max comes back, and it's on. He does draw the line at actually consummating the relationship until Wilson's birthday, but they do engage in other activities. I can understand Wilson's actions. She is seventeen years old, and has no family to speak of. She needs someone. She's young and seemed immature, and that's okay. She's seventeen. It's Max that bothered me. He never seemed truly conflicted over becoming involved with an underage student. And, he seemed more like a high school boy than a grown man, which I guess works in this case.
Having said that, I didn't actively dislike Almost Eighteen, and I wouldn't discourage anyone else from giving it a try. I was compelled to see how the this installment of the story ended. I'm not a mean person, and I know that love can have really bad timing. I just didn't feel it in this instance. I have a few friends that love this book, and have read that the second book, Becoming Eighteen is better. So, there's that.
I do want to share a couple of positive GoodReads reviews for Almost Eighteen:
Erin's Review (I love Erin's reviews) and Musing's Review
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The Wilson Mooney Series
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