Sweetest Taboo by Eva Márquez

Sweetest Taboo

Isabel Cruz was fifteen years old when she met Tom Stevens. She was 15 when they started dating, and 16 when she lost her virginity to him. By the time she turned 18 and went to college, everything had fallen apart.

This hadn’t been an ordinary love, though. Not a love between two dear friends, or even high school sweethearts. This had been the most taboo sort of love there was: a relationship between a student and her teacher. Isabel started her high school career as a normal student, but set her sights on Tom Stevens as soon as she met him, and pursued him with an intense – and sometimes reckless – fascination. When he finally approached her after swim practice and told her that he shared her feelings, it was the start of a forbidden and dangerous relationship.

Join Isabel as she makes her way through this dark love story, hiding from teachers, lying to her parents, and defying the authorities to make a life with the man she loves. Watch as she discovers the wonders of love and romance, and the terrible betrayal of jealous friends. And cry with her when she learns the hard truth about life and the people in her world.

Sweetest Taboo is inspired by the true and tragic stories of students who fall in love with their teachers, and live with the hard truths of forbidden romances. In a world full of after-school specials on sexual predators, this touching book seeks a different path, casting both student and teacher in a gentle light, and showing that true love may lie at the base of even the most illicit romance.

I have no words to describe the different feelings I have for this book. It was exciting, confusing, heart-breaking and stressful. This book intrigued me from the get-go, how can you not be curious about the story of a 15-year-old girl who falls in love with her teacher? Make no mistake, this book tackles a very controversial topic and this story is not to be confused with what we often find on the movie of the week on the lifetime channel. What you can expect from this author is a beautifully written story about a man and a girl who happen to develop feelings for each other, eventually falling in love. Was it a normal love story? Not at all!!! However it’s still a story about love, the complexity of their union and the limitations that surround their relationship.

As I read this story, I was hooked from the very first word and I was lost in the world that is everything Isabel and Tom. It’s not too often I read a story and suddenly I mistake myself for the lead gal in the book. Don’t get me wrong, it does happen but not as often as I’d like and in this case it did! I became Isabel. I felt as though I was experiencing everything for the very first time. Everything from the adolescent body changing to the thoughts about a man who invades your mind, your heart and you can’t concentrate on anything else.

Just as Isabel did, I too fell in love with Tom. While there were things he did that were questionable, I found myself moving past those poor choices and trying to understand what he was thinking.  Although, I was coming up short as to why I loved him because after all, he’s a married man but there was something loveable about him.  There was so much about Tom that moved Isabel and that’s why she remained in a relationship with him for as long as she did.  But there was a lot about his situation that broke her heart but she handled it like a grown woman in an adult relationship.

While I loved this book a lot, I found myself at odds.  How can I love a book about an illicit love affair?  What’s wrong with me?  Am I justifying the relationship and making excuses for Tom?  There were moments that I secretly wanted for Tom and Isabel to make it.  Is that even possible?  Is Tom as genuine as he seems?  There were so many moments that I felt equally as confused as Isabel, asking the same questions she asked herself!!  I was still asking myself questions even after I was done with the book!!!

This is a controversial book that deals with a very serious topic, a teacher that engages in a relationship with his young student.  I’ll admit I enjoyed feeling completely conflicted while reading this book because after all, that is the intent of the author when she wrote this and she did it successfully!

My final two cents: Even though I felt guilty for enjoying this book…I can’t wait to read the sequel because I can’t wait to find out what happens next!!! ;)


  1. says

    I came across this book a couple of days ago, but I wasn’t sure I’d like to read it specifically because of the twisted love affair it features. After reading your review, though, I might reconsider my initial feelings. If you say you liked it, then I guess the author did a great job at showing that there are cases when love is true and real despite age and marrital status. After all, I read a book about incest a couple of years ago (The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan) and I still recommend it as a great psychological novel.

    • says

      That book had been in my TBR pile for a few months. I knew I wanted to read it but honestly, I was a little bit wary of the subject matter. With that being said, it’s written beautifully and portrayed in a different light than what we are used to hearing. Tom definitely does things that are definitely douchey BUT since I didn’t know his POV, I was only left with my imagination to interpret what his possible reasons could be. Would I feel differently about this book if I were a mother? Maybe but I will never know for sure. At the end of the day these are two consenting people who engage in an illicit romance. If you decide to read it you have to let me know what you think…good, bad or ugly!!! :)

  2. says

    Just thought I’d chime in here as the author of this novel AND a mother of a lovely little girl. Here’s the thing, the world is not a perfect place and things take place in this world that are not what we would like, or things that do not make perfect sense to us as individuals with our own set of values and mores. ‘Sweetest Taboo’ does not condone nor promote a controversial love affair between a student and her teacher. What it does do is provide a fictional account of an instance where perhaps there are no victims, an account of a passionate love difficult to control. As far as my daughter is concerned, I expect to teach her right from wrong and hope I can trust her to make the right decision with careful guidance from those who love her. With that said, as a mother, I won’t be able to protect her from everything out there, not even a love that I might find admonish-able. The value that ‘Sweetest Taboo’ adds to the literary world is the ability to allow readers to experience a different perspective and to perhaps develop a more open mind to what is unseen.

    • says

      Thank you for stopping by! This post made my night! Sometimes I worry since I am not a mom it seems as though perhaps I could be perceived as conding inappropriate behavior based on the subject matter of the book. But you told this story beautifully and in a different light…and that’s why it’s on my “favorites” shelf on goodreads. I think what I love most is all the discussions this book is generating!!! ;)

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