This is a pretty marmite book. Some people hate it. Some people love it. I'm of the latter category. And I'll tell you why. LOTS OF SPOILERS AHEAD! I basically give away the entire plot.
Plot and Romance
This is a teacher/student romance, so straight off the bat, if you don't like taboo romance, then this isn't for you. But despite the taboo-ness of the relationship here, I think it was handled really maturely and is some of the healthiest romance I've seen on the page.
Phoenix (18) and Mr Wicked's fall in love during his divorce (which isn't messy) and have a sweet few months together, where they spend time in each other's arms, minds, and bodies. Something I love about their relationship is that it's very mental, rather than the focus being on the physical stuff. But after things go badly (his ex wife falls pregnant after they tried for years), Mr Wicked decides to take a break in their new-found relationship to be there for his ex wife. There's a bit of miscommunication between them here, but once that's figured out, we read about them both overcoming personal trauma to be better men before reengaging. And I think that's so honest and beautiful.
Too often in romance we read about people being toxic and staying together despite needing time to work on themselves before really being able to engage with someone they love, and I love that this isn't the case here. Phoenix spends time really processing his dad's death, rekindling his relationship with his mother, and focusing on his summer before university. Meanwhile, Mr Wicked focuses on his pregnant ex-wife, getting over a previous trauma or two, and really growing into his new role as a father. When the two do reunite, they're ready for each other. And everyone's so supportive of the relationship they fought hard to build. They end up both parenting the son, alongside and separately to his ex wife (who is really nice and friendly and supportive), and everything is beautiful. Odd, but beautiful.
Con: Would have preferred the sex scenes to be more shown. They were steamy but not detailed, and I find that a bit of a weird choice. If you're going to have them there and be steamy, then actually have them there. It was a bit of a halfway point, and I think it just had the effect of a badly written sex scene.
Mr. Wicked is a philosophy professor with a sharp mind, a caring nature, and a real thinker. But he's got a dark past. Really dark. It's quite sad to read his breakdown when he finally tells Phoenix. I like Mr Wicked and how he was really attuned to the fact that Phoenix was young and impressionable, so he was careful not to manipulate him. I found that really endearing.
Phoenix is probably one of my favourite protagonists in any contemporary romance. He's so smart. He LOVES philosophy, and that's such a unique trait. He wasn't cliche, he was his own person. Not just a trope filler. He focused on his friends, he cared about rebuilding things with his mum, and he wasn't 1000% absorbed by his romance to the point of ignoring everyone else. Well, he was for a bit, but he worked through it.
Beautifully written. We get this in a kind diary retelling form, where it's part-novel part-letter. And I think that's really unique. We got both POVs, but it's mostly Phoenix's. I didn't notice many errors that I remember.