Title: Teacher of the Year
Series: Teachers in Love: Book One
Author: M.A. Wardell
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 347 Pages
Category: Rom-Com, Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 Stars
At a Glance: If you’re in the mood for a book that might make you catch a case of the squishies, with minimal angsties, and brings a smile or two to your face, Teacher of the Year scores better than average.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Love: Not as easy as ABC.
They were supposed to keep things casual. Who’d expect they’d be schooled in love?
Those who can, teach. Marvin Block is one of the best kindergarten teachers out there. And despite his anxiety, Marvin’s life is sweet. He knows what he wants. And what he wants is the Teacher of the Year Award. Not just for himself – his school needs him to win.
Returning from break, the New Year finds Marvin all set to welcome a new pupil to his class. But when Illona walks in with her cute-as-hell single dad beside her, Marvin’s focus starts to slide.
Sure, his students always come first, but he deserves to have a life outside the classroom, too, right?
As their friendship starts to deepen, Marvin realizes Olan has the potential to teach him things about love he never thought possible. But with the Teacher of the Year award and his school’s future on the line, now’s not the time for anything complicated.
Education has always been Marvin’s world. And he needs to keep a cool head if he wants to win the award and save his school. But will it be worth it if he loses Olan in the process?
With Olan’s past and Marvin’s present colliding, their experiment in love hangs in the balance. Marvin knows what he wants out of life. But now he’s forced to consider what he wants out of love.
Will Marvin chalk the relationship up to experience? Or can they revise their story into a textbook romance?
Review: Kindergarten teacher, Marvin Block, is universally loved by his peers, his students’ parents, and, more importantly, by his students themselves. Marvin is hopelessly devoted to his little tykes and to fostering their love of learning, which is why he was nominated for the Teacher of the Year award. Marvin goes above and beyond, always. Sometimes to the detriment of his personal life.
Marvin is the narrator of Teacher of the Year, and I’m not sure he was always a reliable one. The limited point of view means we see Marvin the way he sees himself—anxiety, past trauma, and all—which affects how we see Olan Stone, the stunningly gorgeous father of Marvin’s newest student, Illona. Marvin doesn’t mean to be attracted to Olan, it just happens, there’s no rule against it, and it is most definitely not a one-way attraction. Olan thinks Marvin is pretty adorable, and it doesn’t take long before they move on from friendship to something more. Knowing Olan, however, relies on Marvin and what he sees and thinks, so there are some things absent from Olan’s experiences, something the dual first person narration might have helped with. That said, the dramatic arc of the story being seen from Marvin’s side means we have to anticipate how Olan feels, which isn’t difficult, until he and Marvin can talk things out.
For some of the weighty issues M.A. Wardell’s debut novel tackles—Marvin’s anxiety attacks and the residual trauma of growing up with an alcoholic parent—this book is sweet, low-stakes, and high heat with some humor thrown in to lighten the mood. It’s the definition of a feel-good romance even as it offers its characters the opportunity to experience life with all its ups and downs. Marvin’s connection with Illona has special written all over it, and his bestie, Jill, is the kind of friend everyone should have. I loved her take-no-prisoners honesty and the way she and Marvin looked out for each other.
If you’re in the mood for a book that might make you catch a case of the squishies, with minimal angsties, and brings a smile or two to your face, Teacher of the Year scores better than avarage.
You can buy Teacher of the Year here: