Tampa, Alissa Nutting


Terrifying and near-impossible to put down, Alissa Nutting isn't afraid of making her protagonist rather repulsive: it's with stunned horror that you make your way through her story of Celeste Price, a 26-year-old middle-school teacher who has an untoward fondness for her young male pupils. When the jig is up for Celeste, it is a detective's disgust with her that is disturbing. "[He] was looking at me as though I was some obscene spectacle of nature," she says. "I realized he was watching me with a curious revulsion." That's about the best assessment of the reader's place here, too---the text may be troubling, but it's hard to abandon. I finished the book in two sittings, pushing through the pages not because they offered any great pleasure but because I needed to see how Celeste sails through.