Novel Review by Vicki Kay
Sydney Logan’s book, Lessons Learned, has plot lines right out of today’s headlines: school shootings, bullying, and teachers accused of having affairs with their students. All subjects we read about and ask ourselves, “How can this happen?”
Ms. Logan’s book addresses those questions. She writes from the perspective of the witness, the bullied, and the accused. Sarah Bray, who leaves her urban teaching position after witnessing a school shooting to teach at the small town high school she attended. Matt Stuart, the Sycamore High School quarterback, who is bullied. Lucas Miller, a new teacher looking for a fresh start.
Although an interesting idea, the characters were difficult to identify with. I had to stop and check the genre, wondering if it was YA, then go back and check Sarah and Lucas’s ages. Their mannerisms, actions, reasoning, and behavior all seemed more teenager than responsible adult. This feeling was only strengthened as the story went on, as none of the adults reacted in a way I could relate to, not only to the situation playing out among their students but also between themselves.
Sarah’s reaction to Matt’s hints for help and attention were more those of a contemporary, a friend rather than a teacher or adult authority figure. Her interactions with Lucas were also more of an immature teen testing hormones and boundaries. Would two adults really park and make-out in the back seat of a car–two new-hire teachers in a small town who know they were trespassing on property where the owner would strongly object and be on the lookout for such shenanigans? And it was really hard to believe they were so overtaken by lust for each other they would take the risk at that point but then are able to control their amorous activities in private on other occasions as the story progressed.
Sarah giggles. A lot. Lucas’s eyes shine, shimmer, twinkle, and ghost over things. He whispers softly and sadly. A lot. I loved how protective and kind he was, how caring, but I just couldn’t buy into their romance. I didn’t get the intensity of their connection or any real intimate tension.
Okay, those are my personal hang-ups. But would a high school principal really do nothing to protect the safety of a student? If not morally or ethically, then certainly legally, no matter his personal beliefs.
Ms. Logan has put much thought into this book and does a good job of showing what the consequences of your actions or inactions can be. I just wish the characters were as strong as the issues.
About the Book
A young girl needs to spread her wings, but a young woman needs roots.
English teacher Sarah Bray never thought she’d return to Sycamore Falls, but a traumatic event at her inner-city school leaves her desperate for the sanctuary of home. By returning to her roots, an older and wiser Sarah hopes to deal with the demons of her present and confront the ghosts of her past.
She discovers a kindred spirit in Lucas Miller, a teacher from New York with demons of his own. As the newest faculty members at Sycamore High School, they quickly become friends – bonding through Lucas’s culture shock and their mutual desire to build new lives. When they open their wounded hearts to each other, their friendship effortlessly evolves into romance.
Their love is put to the test when Matt, the quarterback of the football team, shares his deepest secret with Sarah. When the conservative community finds out, Sarah and Lucas – along with the town of Sycamore Falls – are schooled in the lessons of acceptance, tolerance, and love.
About the Author
Sydney Logan is an Amazon bestselling author and holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. With the 2012 release of her first novel, Lessons Learned, she made the transition from bookworm to author. Sydney has a very unhealthy obsession with music, and her iPod is filled with everything from Johnny Cash to Eminem. She is also the author of two short stories: “Mistletoe Magic,” available exclusively on Amazon Kindle, and “Stupid Cupid,” which is featured in the Romantic Interludes compilation. When she isn’t reading or writing, she enjoys playing piano and relaxing on her front porch at her home in East Tennessee with her wonderful husband and their very spoiled cat.
Vicki Kay, who loves to travel but hates to fly, lives in the Midwest with her husband. A dog lover and avid book lover, she has passed those traits to her two daughters, both of whom she is incredibly proud. A former majordomo for a small advertising company, she is now all things grandma.