What Has Become of You
written by Jan Elizabeth Watson
published by Dutton Books/Penguin
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Did I enjoy this book: Not really.
I wasn’t that impressed with the plot, and though I could initially relate to Vera Lundy, I found her less and less likable as the story progressed. I understand Watson’s idea, and it’s a cool one: write a coming-of-age novel about an adult who just happened to skip that step during adolescence. The thing is — Vera Lundy’s displays of immaturity were more than just exasperating — they were downright inappropriate. Maybe I’m a stiff-necked goody two-shoes, but I can’t imagine ANYONE — no matter how immature or unintelligent they happen to be — would think that going alone to your underage student’s hotel room, sharing alcohol and cigarettes with her, and then walking home together in the dark is anywhere close to a good idea.
I know people overindulge (heaven knows I’m guilty of it at times). I know people don’t always tell the whole truth, and I know that very intelligent, rational people sometimes make very, VERY bad choices. I just . . . I think instead of inching a toe over the line, Watson had Lundy vault over it and keep on running, and it ruined the book for me.
Would I recommend it: Not so much.
About the book – from Goodreads: What if a teacher’s most promising pupil is also her most dangerous? A tautly plotted psychological thriller, as intelligent as it is mesmerizing.
What Has Become of You follows Vera Lundy, an aspiring crime writer and master of self-deprecation who, like many adults, has survived adolescence but hasn’t entirely overcome it. When she agrees to fill in for a private school English teacher on maternity leave, teaching The Catcher in the Rye to privileged girls, Vera feels in over her head. The students are on edge, too, due to the recent murder of a local girl close to their age.
Enter Jensen Willard. At fifteen she’s already a gifted writer but also self-destructive and eerily reminiscent of Vera’s younger self. As the two outcasts forge a tentative bond, a sense of menace enfolds their small New England town. When another student, new to the country, is imperiled by her beliefs, Vera finds herself in the vortex of danger—and suspicion.
With the threat of a killer at large, the disappearance of her increasingly worri-some pupil, and her own professional reputation at stake, Vera must thread her way among what is right by the law, by her students, and by herself. In this poignant page-turner, populated with beguiling characters and sharp social insights, coming-of-age can happen no matter how old you are.