A read that’s not for the faint hearted. A story of love, lust, growing up and lessons learnt. 

Hayley was just 12 when she met new drama teacher, Mr Willson. Good-looking and charismatic, he was classic schoolgirl-crush material. Hayley was flattered by his attention, and was pleased when he befriended her parents. But something was very wrong about this relationship….

We’ve all been there. Hormones start kicking in when you get to Secondary School and as if a magic spell has been cast overnight. We quickly started noticing boys. We daydreamt of dating that older guy in Year 9 and we spent hours with our friends analysing his text messages and MySpace pictures. We couldn’t contain our excitement when the new ‘super hot’ PE teacher joined at the start of the year. All sounds pretty familiar hey?

That’s exactly what happened to Hayley McGregor. An incredible woman who lived with a secret crush, her drama teacher Mr Willson. What Hayley thought was love turned out to become 20 years of guilt, turmoil and low self-esteem; making her realise that this wasn’t love after all. She had been groomed. Hayley suffered a breakdown and eventually went to the police. This is her story.

Throughout the book there are many shocking moments that actually made me feel uneasy and very uncomfortable. This is a very honest, truth story of exactly what Hayley went through. From the looks he glances here and there, to the ‘meetings’ in his office with the door shut; the book very quickly escalates into disturbing accounts of the abuse that Hayley suffers.

The book is so honest. And so raw. The way that Hayley tells her story is exceptional. Hayley becomes so familiar because of the way she shares her darkest and most private feelings throughout – an incredibly brave and courageous thing to do. Nothing is spared. Not even the reactions and feelings she felt when she tells her family about what happened, or how she suffered a terrible breakdown because of the events.

It’s a book we can all take something from. It’s a book about growing up as much as it is about love and lust. It’s a book I hope will spark many others to come forward and share their own stories. Abuse is often never spoken about or one of those ‘taboo’ subjects which it absolutely shouldn’t be. Hayley is a champion of that and has now totally turned her life and the experiences that happened to her around.

It will grip you from the first chapter and I urge you to stay with it, however uncomfortable it gets. It’s a true tale how life can really kick you down but with strength and courage you can pick yourself up and move on. And for that I admire its writer, Hayley McGregor.


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Review by Donna