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The Teacher


The Teacher

BookTok sensation Freida McFadden, best known for her novel THE HOUSEMAID, returns with THE TEACHER. This no-holds-barred, twisty psychological thriller is built on complicated power dynamics, obsession and revenge.

Eve Bennett is always being told how lucky she is. And in many ways, it’s true. She has a beautiful home, a fulfilling career, a shoe collection that would rival a socialite’s, and a drop-dead gorgeous husband, Nate, who is blessed not only in the looks department but in the charm department as well. Every day he kisses her exactly once before they head to Caseham High School, where they work as teachers; once when they get home; and once in bed. They have sex on the first Saturday of every month and often entertain their shared friends for decadent home-cooked meals and wine. So why does Eve hope that every SUV she sees driving down the opposite side of the road will turn course and smash into them, ending it once and for all?

"This fast-paced, riveting and totally shocking thriller could pull even the most drained reader out of a slump.... Freida McFadden is at the top of her game, and THE TEACHER is the most fun you’ll have reading a thriller this year."

Last year, Caseham High was rocked by a scandal when teacher Art Tuttle, a favorite among staff and students alike, was accused of spending just a little too much time with a student, Addie Severson. At first, his attention was innocent enough: extra tutoring sessions, a warm hand of encouragement on her shoulder, the occasional ride home when it was pouring. But then Addie was spotted lurking outside of Art’s house. Although there was no evidence of anything illicit or illegal, the allegations were too big to overcome. Art was fired, while Addie was left to become the social pariah of her school.

It was never a secret among the staff that Addie was “troubled,” but where her issues were once concerning and endearing, she is now public enemy number one at Caseham. Even worse, Art was one of Eve’s best friends; this year, Addie is in her math class…and her husband’s English class.

But that’s not all that has Eve worried. Nate, who even she can admit far outranks her in looks, has always been a dutiful, attentive, supportive partner, but lately it’s as if he can barely stand her. Eve not so secretly indulges in an expensive designer shoe habit, but her stilettos don’t turn him on. They turn him way, way off, and awaiting the terrifying credit card bill at the end of every month isn’t helping.

Meanwhile, Addie is dreading the school year just as much as Eve. After getting everyone’s favorite teacher fired, not to mention being perceived by fellow teens as having “done it” with an old guy, it’s safe to say that she’s at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Adding insult to injury, her former best friend and fellow loner, Hudson, has blossomed into movie-star good looks and is now running with the school’s queen bee. This leaves her completely isolated as she tries to deal with the increasing bullying of her peers…and, strangely, Mrs. Bennett.

The only bright spot in Addie’s day is English class. She has heard that Mr. Bennett is gorgeous, but that’s not the only thing that keeps her focused in class. Addie has long dreamed of being a writer, and he tells her that she is talented and invites her to join his poetry magazine. When it feels like the entire world distrusts her, Mr. Bennett makes her feel seen.

With her marriage on the rocks and Addie distracting her at school, Eve falls further into her shopping addiction. At home, Nate pays less and less attention to her, often heading right to his office after work and ignoring her at dinner to look at his phone. It seems that the only time they connect is when they discuss school…and Addie. Eve is aware that any connection to Addie is dangerous, but she doesn’t know yet if Art was truly innocent or if Addie simply wanted to ruin a man’s life. Whatever the case, Addie clearly has her sights set on Nate. Eve will die (or maybe even kill) before she lets this disturbed, troubled girl ruin either of their lives. But who is really in control here, and what will happen when the power dynamic is upset?

This fast-paced, riveting and totally shocking thriller could pull even the most drained reader out of a slump. It seems wrong to describe a book featuring murder, revenge and abusive power structures as “fun,” yet that’s exactly what THE TEACHER is. McFadden deals out twists and turns like no one’s business, and her characters are never ever what they seem. Dark, scheming and manipulative, even at their best, they are deliciously bad, and the plot is blink-and-you’ll-miss-it good. The result is intoxicating, the kind of book you’ll read in one sitting and then wish you’d slowed down to savor.

Yes, there are some plot holes and a few instances where you’ll have to agree to disagree with the author’s conclusions. But these minor flaws don’t even matter in the face of the book’s shocking reveals. Freida McFadden is at the top of her game, and THE TEACHER is the most fun you’ll have reading a thriller this year.

Reviewed by Rebecca Munro on February 9, 2024

The Teacher
by Freida McFadden