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A twisty read following an affair between a young female teacher and male boarding school student that fans of Curtis Sittenfeld, Zoe Heller and Donna Tartt will devour.
She’s a teacher. She knows the rules.
When recent college graduate Imogene Abney takes a job as a teacher at pricey and exclusive The Vandenberg School, an institution populated by the most privileged boys in America, she is plunged into an unfamiliar world.
Struggling to adjust, Imogene welcomes the friendship of student Adam Kipling. But when Adam starts taking things too far, she crosses a line that could result in disaster —losing her job, jail, and the total ruin of her reputation.
Suddenly Imogene is facing her worst nightmare, even though Adam began their affair, which hardly seems fair to Imogene. Especially when Adam is telling a very different story and the authorities seem to be on his side.
She’s the innocent one…Isn’t she?
‘A taut psychological thriller about class and lust set in the perfect petri-dish of a prep school, Indecent asks the hard questions about just how low low self-worth can make a person go, and the even harder questions about what it means to truly grow up.’ – Elisa Albert, author of After Birth
‘Indecent is so astutely observed, so expertly crafted, I didn’t realize I was riding a roller coaster until I was already buckled in and halfway to the top. A fractured coming-of-age story, a one-two punch about self-sabotage and obsessive love, INDECENT is a page-turner of a debut by a ridiculously talented young writer’ – Lauren Fox, author of Days of Awe
About the author
Corinne Sullivan received her MFA in fiction from Sarah Lawrence College in 2016. Her stories have appeared in Night Train, Knee-Jerk, and Pithead Chapel, among other publications. Indecent is her first novel.
In Sullivan's tense and surprising debut, recent college graduate Imogene Abney begins a yearlong teaching apprenticeship at the elite Vandenberg School for Boys in Scarsdale, N.Y., a place "steeped in honor, tradition, and many, many rules." She is enamored of the school, exactly the kind of place she herself would have wanted to attend, had she been rich and male, and she quickly becomes obsessed with one of its students, Kip, who embodies all she is not. Their affair escalates quickly, based almost entirely on his cocky surety and Imogene's many, visible insecurities (she picks the skin on her face until it bleeds, and sometimes goes days without leaving bed, eating, or showering). Sullivan's novel is at its best in its brief glimpses of the past, demonstrating what Imogene sees as her successes and failures in high school and college these passages give the reader insight into what Imogene could possibly be searching for in her job-risking relationship, showing the depth of her confused standards and instincts for self-destruction. Less compelling is the affair itself. It's far from discreet, and the constant threat of exposure that looms throughout whether by a fellow apprentice or Kip's wide circle of friends feels low-stakes compared to Imogene's rich, contradictory, and devastating interior life. Nevertheless, this is an affecting novel, examining self-doubt, self-sabotage, and the lasting impact of both.