When Summer Ends is a very sweet teacher-student romance. It starts off as a typical summer romance, then is thrown into exciting and forbidden territory when the handsome Will turns out to be Chloe’s high school teacher.
The book is long enough to really hit its stride in the middle section, where Will has stopped seeing Chloe but they’re both still desperate about one another. There are a lot of passionate, tormented moments and attempts to suppress feelings that fans of the Forbidden and Taboo genres will love.
I found the constant references to Will being a “paedophile” inappropriate. Clearly being attracted to a young woman of 17 (who even passes for 21) is not paedophilia. Even legally speaking in the vast majority of US states the age of consent is 16 or 17, as it is throughout most of the world. I realise the use of the word was perhaps supposed to be Will’s guilt speaking, but to throw the term around as this book did trivialises the horror of the actual crime. “Cradle snatcher” might have been a better, tongue-in-cheek euphemism.
Ultimately the “taboo” is not Chloe’s age – Will is only 22 himself – but the fact that he’s her teacher.
The “big exposure scare” was handled interestingly, but that was really a far greater breach of Will’s duty as a teacher – getting another student suspended unfairly – than his relationship with Chloe, ethically speaking. Even if that student was horrible.
There were some relationships that could have been developed further that weren’t. You really start to feel sympathy for poor old Nick.
The ending is super schmaltzy but should leave readers satisfied. All in all a highly enjoyable read.