I’m a little torn between 3 and 4 stars having finished ‘Collide’ by J. C. Hannigan; the premise of the story, a sexual relationship between seventeen year old student, Harlow Jones, and her English teacher, Mr Bentley (Ian) seemed, dare I say it, unrealistic. I don’t like labelling works of fiction as ‘unrealistic’ as they are indeed ‘fiction’, or made up stories, and I am very aware that sometimes real life can itself feel more like fiction than fact. In this particular story, however, the development of the relationship had me questioning whether the characters would really have dived in as deep as they did so quickly. Harlow has a troubled background of multiple sexual assaults and is therefore naturally suspicious and distrustful of everyones’ motives, Despite this her values and morals are more or less sound for a teenage girl; she also understands that she needs good grades at school to get on and works hard to maintain them. Mr Bentley is her English tutor, a man approaching thirty, at the beginning of his teaching career, who knows full well what the consequences of the relationship would be. We really know very little about him, apart from that he is ‘fit’ and appears to care for Harlow. Their relationship is based initially on glimpses in class and chance encounters, followed by an intense sexual experience the first time they are alone together. I find it hard to believe in their declarations of undying love based on this.
That said, it was a good read; the plot involving Harlow’s developing friendship with fellow student Jenna, and the issues involving rape were absorbing and sensitively dealt with.
Maybe I’m just a cynical middle aged mother, who needs to consider the whirlwind romance between Harlow and Ian as a matter of the heart over head; emotion rather than good sense and logic.
Read it, it’s worth it – and come to your own conclusions.