Innocents by Cathy Coote

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Written when Cathy Coote was nineteen, Innocents is a taut, wickedly clever descent into the anatomy of an obsession, the debut of a precociously assured and provocative young literary voice. Forcing someone vulnerable and naive into a sexual relationship to satisfy a twisted desire is perverted, even evil. But when the perpetrator is a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl, is she culpable? And if the victim is her thirty-four-year-old teacher, shouldn't he have known better? When the nameless young narrator of Innocents decides to seduce her teacher, she immediately realizes that the power of her sexuality is greater than she ever imagined. She leaves the aunt and uncle who are her guardians and moves in with her teacher; together, they quickly embark on a journey into their darkest desires. Unforgettable, disturbing, and morally complex, Innocents permanently unsettles our notions of innocence, experience, and power, and suggests that we all are culpable.

About Cathy Coote

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Coote won both the Canberra Times and Sydney Morning Herald Young Writer of the Year awards in 1995.
Published December 1, 2007 by Grove Press. 256 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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I didn’t grow up in a civil war zone.” The 25-year-old author, who apparently wrote Innocents when she was only 19, excels at describing the infinite small ways in which the girl manipulates every aspect of her life with the teacher to maintain his sexual attraction to her.

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Publishers Weekly

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Your exploration destroyed these lands, darling"), while plausibly that of a teenager, becomes grating nonetheless, but Coote's brazen novel never falls into precocity or melodrama.

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