Me and Mr J

by Rachel McIntyre

'new gen' - Great Fiction for Young Adults Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel Debut Books of the Month

LoveReading View on Me and Mr J

February 2015 NewGen Debut of the Month.

Lara is having a tough time at home: her dad’s business has gone bust, money is very tight, her parents argue constantly.  Sensing her misery the girls at school begin a campaign of bullying that gets progressively nastier. The only bright spot is her new English teacher, young, handsome, on Lara’s side. To her delight, their relationship develops into something other than pupil teacher, a disastrous course for both. If this sounds bleak, it’s anything but. Lara is – as Mr J recognises – smart and funny, a narrator with an extremely appealing voice.  Their relationship is sensitively described, and while no-one comes out of it unscathed, it ends on a hopeful note.  An impressive YA debut, this is a book to make you think, with characters that will stay with you after the final page. ~ Andrea Reece

Author Rachel McIntyre says: "When I began “Me and Mr J”, I was fortunate enough to be teaching in a fantastic sixth form college and my inspiration came from a news story dominating the headlines. A girl running away with a teacher? My students were so fascinated and their opinions so varied and passionate, I knew I just had to write about it."  Read on....

And from fellow YA author, Lisa Heathfield, the author of debut novel Seed (publishing April 15):
Once in a while, a book comes along that stops me in my tracks. It bulldozes through my thoughts, sneaks into conversations and has me reading in the bath until the water has gone cold. ME & MR J is one of these rare books.

 

The premise is current and controversial, with a pupil/teacher relationship at its core. So, I knew it would be interesting and I knew it would be thought-provoking (it was definitely both of these), but what I didn't predict was how really, really funny it would be. The book is written in diary-form, therefore, we're absolutely in Lara's world from the word go. And it's a world I often wished I could drag her away from. The scenes of school-bullying are hard-hitting and increasingly painful to read. You want to rage at the injustice of it. And run to every school in the country and sweep up every victim away from it all. McIntyre shows incredible skill in presenting the complexities of bullying culture and how (especially with the prevalence of the internet), it can be utterly devastating for the person being targeted. Lara faces it all with her trademark humour, but as her parents' marriage crumbles, you can feel her ability to cope slowly slip away. She needs just a chink of light to help her through her days. And in walks Mr J.  Mr Jagger is gorgeous, kind, intelligent, understanding - everything that Lara would want in a boyfriend. There's one almighty glitch though. He's her new teacher. And he'd never cross that line, would he? Would he?!

 

Much of the strength of this novel is the way it pulls your emotions in opposite directions. You're willing Lara and Mr J to fight off their feelings, but then without wanting to, you're somehow wishing they won't get caught. Then reality kicks in again and you're shouting at the book 'But you're her teacher!' You so want Lara to be happy, but you don't want it to be this way. Rachel McIntyre's debut put me through the emotional wringer. Yet I loved it. Maybe it was the pace, maybe it was Lara's fantastic, vivid character, or maybe I just find it fascinating how pupil/teacher relationships ever cross that line. A definite, shining five stars from me.

Andrea Reece

Me and Mr J Synopsis

Fifteen-year-old Lara finds her soulmate. There's just one problem - he's her teacher. Lara's life is far from perfect, but being an upbeat kind of person she saves her venting for her diary. It's the only place she can let out her true feelings about the family dramas and hideous bullying she has to face every day. And then a shining light comes out of the darkness - the new young and MALE teacher, Mr Jagger. The one person who takes Lara seriously and notices her potential. The one person who is kind to her. The one person who she falls madly and hopelessly in love with. The one person who cannot love her back...can he?

Me and Mr J Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Abi Unsworth - 'I really enjoyed reading this book, its storyline is so powerful. The author’s way of writing it makes it feel like the main character is taking to you.' Read full review >
  • Imogen - 'I think Me and Mr J is an interesting book, that explores many teenage issues, in a well written way.' Read full review >
  • Ines - 'I just think that the whole storyline was very predictable, but it is well written.' Read full review >
  • Jade Craddock - '...it was a welcome surprise to find that Rachel McIntyre’s Me and Mr J offers something refreshing, different and brave, with its focus on Lara’s relationship with her teacher Mr Jagger.' Read full review >
  • Edel Waugh - 'Lara's interior dialogue is hilarious and even though she really is struggling with these bullies and having no real friends to speak of she is very brave and gutsy...' Read full review >
  • Sofia Ufton - 'Amazing story about bullying and love. Loved every bit. Hope Rachel does another like this. So funny too.' Read full review >
  • Kynthia Ravikumar - 'What an AMAZING book, perfect for teenagers and extremely thought-provoking! I have no words, this book is going to be BIG and it's going to be BOLD.' Read full review >
  • Amelia White - '...an amazing book for teen readers, such a good story line and Lara is such an amazing character. I couldn't stop reading this book, every spare moment I had this book in my hands.' Read full review >

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781405273442
Publication date: 29/01/2015
Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd an imprint of Egmont UK Ltd
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781405273442
Publication date: 29th January 2015
Author: Rachel McIntyre
Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd an imprint of Egmont UK Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 320 pages
Genres: NewGen - YA Fiction, Reader Reviewed Books, Debuts of the Month,
Categories: General fiction (Children's / Teenage),

About Rachel McIntyre

The idea that a writer can create an infinite number of worlds has captivated Rachel McIntyre since she was a small child. Having parents who filled the house with books meant she grew up surrounded with stories and she has carried this passion with her throughout life. Rachel studied English Literature at university and has taught English in Spain and the USA as well as the UK. While writing Me & Mr J she worked in a sixth form college in northern England, where she was reminded every day that young adults love reading and need fiction that explores the day-to-day ...

More About Rachel McIntyre

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