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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Misconduct by Christopher Renna is an interpersonal drama covering social issues intended for young adult audiences. It contains serious themes, such as the abuse of a minor as well as explicit language, drugs, and sex references throughout. This poignant and thought-provoking story follows the life of Jasper, a sixteen-year-old who has everything going for him at school and a prosperous future ahead. But when his strict upbringing leads him to confide in schoolteacher Mrs. Weber, Jasper falls prey to grooming and must try to find balance again in the aftermath of a very confusing time.
Christopher Renna tackles a bold and important subject, and I felt that the themes were handed with a great deal of emotional intelligence, tact, and narrative detail. I never felt as though the student-teacher-affair concept was sensationalized or gimmicky but rather a serious issue that sparks slow reflection and powerful emotional twists and turns in Jasper’s life. Dialogue played such a key role in the story and it’s clear that Renna deeply considered how Mrs. Weber’s speech and ideas were presented and received. The emotional journey and the fallout that Jasper experiences are a testament to the strength and raw vulnerability of those who find themselves in similar situations. I feel that Misconduct is a story that can help others understand this unique situation when they engage with it.