Review: Me and Mr J by Rachel McIntyre

Image from Goodreads
 
Title: Me and Mr J
Author: Rachel McIntyre
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Publication Date: Jan 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5
Synopsis from Goodreads
Fifteen-year-old Lara finds her soulmate. There’s just one problem – he’s her teacher.
Lara’s life has changed radically since her father lost his job. As the eldest, Lara tries to keep upbeat, and the one outlet for all her problems is her diary where she can be open about how dire everything is at home, and worse, the fact that she’s being horrifically bullied at school.
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 reciprocate her feelings … can he?
REVIEW BY FFION 8:8
Me and Mr.J by Rachel McIntyre is a great book, I have never read a diary entry book or a forbidden love plot before. Me and Mr.J wasn’t what I anticipated. 
The me in the book is a girl named Lara, as the title would suggest the story is told in first person narrative, the addition of a diary format creates an intensely personal connection to Lara.
The story starts when Lara is 15/16 years old, she has her birthday in the timeframe of the story, making her 17 at the end of the book.
The title itself made me curious as to the relationship between Lara and Mr J. The synopsis states Mr J is Lara’s English teacher adding to the intrigue. The relationship does develop but I won’t say anymore.
Lara’s life is far from perfect, she gets bullied excessively because she is ginger and lanky and her family is thousands in debt.
However, Lara’s believes her life is about to change for the better when Mr.Jagger arrives and consequently becomes her new English teacher. As the storyline progresses Lara’s bullying gets worse because people are noticing how she looks at Mr J; and the one thing that she cherishes (her iPod) gets destroyed which for her was the last straw, so she starts to stand up to the bullies.
Throughout the book Lara describes her love for Mr.Jagger believing they are soul mates. She imagines them on romantic events together in the future.
Rachel McIntyre’s portrayal of Lara’s life is very realistic, allowing the reader to connect with the character on a personal level. The empathy the reader feels toward Lara adds to the compelling nature of the book, you can’t wait for her to get to a happier time in her life.
My favorite character out of the whole book would most definitely be Lara’s brother, Simon because of the way Rachel McIntyre describes him is funny. The things he does throughout the book are sneaky eg. he blames all the mess  he makes on Lara and makes her clean it up. It is something I could see myself doing!
Personally, my favorite part of the book was when Lara goes on a big adventure to Cambridge University for an insight into English literature; it was the most exciting part of the book because so much happened within such a small space of time it was surprising for so much action/plot development to fit into only three diary entries!
Me and Mr J is quite mature in its delivery with the inclusion of bad language and intimate scenes. I have never read anything like it before and have to say that it did come as a shock initially, although I did get used to the gritty nature of the writing by the end of the book.
I would read another book by this author because I like her writing style. The use of the diary format made the book easier to read and a lot more realistic than books with chapters. It is one of the few books I have read that has kept me excited until the end because of the drama that goes on in every entry.
I would recommend this book to others because the storyline is well thought out engaging you until the end. It is a book that I think many girls would like and the reader can really empathise with Lara. I think the age category that this book suits girls over the age of thirteen and with a high level of maturity due to the nature of the themes and language within the story.
Overall, if I would rate this book out of five I would award it four because like I said before it is exciting and engaging and you can empathise/sympathise with Lara in some parts of the storyline.
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