Thursday, 18 October 2012

Nobody Has To Know - Frank Nappi

Cameron Baldridge affectionately known to his students as Mr. B., is an enthusiastic English teacher. He brings the novels of Uncle Tom's Cabin and Macbeth alive by using swords or YouTube videos. The handsome twenty-five year old
brings out the best of every student, even the ones who don't want to work as well as teaching life lessons about bullying.

Dismissing the warning given by his mentor John Volpe, at the start of his teaching career, that he can be friendly just not their friend, Cam finds the attraction to one of his students surprising and unnerving. Being so nice, he's not aware of a few crushes that some have on him like Melanie, a A grade student who really just wants some attention. Anyway, why would he develop feelings for a 17 years old? He's with Hayley, his college sweetheart, who is to soon to become his wife.

Nikki, a lithe, beautiful teenager comparable to Lolita in regards to her charms (and effect on Mr. B.) has her own troubles. Almost forgotten by busy parents, she finds understanding and companionship with her English teacher. Their unspoken feelings for each other soon come to fruition. But from that moment of realizing their affections, Cam starts a journey that sees his life spiraling out of control.

Unexpected events leave Cam heartbroken, reminiscing about his first true love Maleigha and whether Hayley is the one for him, especially as she's been cold (towards him) of late. Yet as he deals with regret, sorrow and planning a wedding, the brief moment he spent with Nikki has been recorded. Soon the text messages start and his confrontation with another of his student sends his mind reeling but not before Hayley becomes embroiled in his sordid affairs.

A twist of fate, sees the blackmailer gone only to be replaced by another. How many people know about Nikki? When will it end so he can get back on track with his much loved career and making it work with  Hayley, the woman he knows he truly loves?

Nappi's explosive story will have the reader on the edge of their seats. The nail-biting drama unfolds getting more complex as Cam's life falls apart. Each of the characters are well defined and as in real life, an action will prompt a memory, so lacing the story with memories from the past and present creates a realistic narration. The author's descriptions are minimal but it's the conversations and observations where the details sit bringing great depth and richness to the plot. Nappi's style of writing is seamless and unhurried. With an unexpected and revealing ending, this tale of forbidden love will remain in the readers mind long after the final page has been turned.

What an amazing and surprising story. From the moment I started reading, I kept wondering how is this going to end? Like that moment you close your eyes because you know something bad is going to pop around the corner, I found myself mentally doing this throughout the book. Expecting it to go one way, I was  taken down another path. The characters are all initially likable and I could, to a point, understand the forbidden passion Cam and Nikki felt but as a teacher, he had to know when to stop. On more than one occasion I would blurt out 'idiot', or 'how stupid'. His relationship with Hayley is chaotic and desperate, both clinging to the idea of what true love is. The students he gets involved with are at varying levels of teenage distress adding more tension and an inevitability of how things evolve. A gripping story with an unrelenting pull on emotions. Without any doubt, a highly recommended read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author to review. The opinions expressed are my own and I am not required to give a positive critique. 


  1. It's certainly different to his other work. I think it's the controversy that makes it a great read. Thanks for your comment.