This review is for an ARC copy from the author.
Thank you to Wendy from Wall-to-Wall Books for introducing me to this book!
A small town with a bad reputation. A troubled new teacher. An aggressive mother with a bizarre agenda. Welcome to Splinter Wood, Pennsylvania.Fresh out of a mental hospital, Lizanne Demeter is thrilled to get a second chance at her career when she's hired to teach third grade in the backwater town of Splinter Wood, Pennsylvania. But hopes for a peaceful new life are ruined when Naomi Seabrook, a demanding ‘helicopter mom’, pushes Lizanne to the brink.
While struggling to maintain control of her classroom, Lizanne begins to unravel the secret behind Naomi’s hell-bent agenda. As deadly clues emerge, Lizanne suspects Naomi is guilty of more than just overindulging her child.With her life teetering on chaos, Lizanne risks everything to expose the shocking truth. But first, she must race against her own spiraling sanity to prove herself a more dedicated teacher than anyone dared imagine—the kind of teacher who makes ALL the difference.
My Thoughts: Woah! I was not expecting that! When I saw a review of this book from a friend, I knew that I had to read it. I was enthralled with the idea of a suspenseful story with an educational setting. As a new teacher myself, the book peeked my interest.
There was so much going on with this book! I first thought that it was going to be a simple thriller of a teacher dealing with a crazy mom, but there was way more to that. My mind was boggled as secrets began to unravel about the town and the school. It took me almost a week to understand how I felt about this book because I could not stop thinking about it. It affected me so much that I found myself searching up information to make sense of certain things (Don't get me started on the pinworms!). What puzzled me even more about the book was the main character.
I have to be honest, I had mixed feelings towards Lizanne. At the beginning of the book, I absolutely adored her. Though she had a difficult past, Lizanne was strong. She was eager to get back to work as a teacher and really wanted to make a difference with her students. Her passion for her students was admirable. I was able to relate to her a lot since my feelings about teaching were the same. However, I began to doubt Lizanne when she started to have a prison romance. I could not believe what she was doing! I was confused because she had harsh feelings and acted rude towards the school's janitor but was "gah gah" over a prisoner. I kept screaming, "What are you doing?!" I was trying to make sense of why Soosar added this aspect to the story. Fortunately, as a story progressed the prison romance made sense. I was able to start liking Lizanne again, even though she was still crazy. By the way, that ending! I was not expecting it!
Overall, this was a very well written book. Despite my frustration with Lizanne, this book had me hooked. It affected me more than I was expecting. It was suspenseful and mysterious. I hope Jennifer Soosar writes another book in this genre! I rate it:
*****Jennifer Soosar watched too much ‘America’s Most Wanted’ growing up and has been writing about the criminal mind ever since. She has written dozens of screenplays and short stories.
PARENT TEACHER ASSOCIATION is her first novel. She is from Toronto and has a degree in anthropology from York University. She is a member of the International Thriller Writers, Crime Writers of Canada, and Sisters in Crime. She lives with her family in Toronto.
Jennifer’s short story “Profane Pilgrims” was published in the May 2016 issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.
To learn more about Jennifer, please visit her website.