Review: Teach Me by Sloan Johnson

Two words stripped Austin Pritchard of the privileged life he’s used to. The moment he uttered the words, “I’m gay,” he realized there is no such thing as unconditional love. Now, he’s gone from traveling the world with his family to living on the streets trying to figure out how he’s going to stay in school.

A chance opportunity changes everything. Austin impresses the foreman and lands a job, but even more, he catches the eye of David Becker, who is determined to teach him that true love doesn’t come with strings.

The only thing David had as a child was love. His family struggled to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. That has driven him to stay focused on his goals; become a tenured professor at a university and save enough money to build a home of his own. It’s not until he sees an insecure college student working on his new house that he realizes that he hasn’t planned on someone to share his life with. He’s about to learn that everything he’s already accomplished is nothing compared to the task of making Austin see that he is worthy of love.

Teach Me is definitely not the worst book I've read in 2014, which a plus in this book's favor. It is not memorable. The best things about this book? The blurb and cover. It's eye catching. An older professor/ younger student who is also homeless due to coming out to his family? It sounded promising. The execution...did not excite nor entice.

The writing style is not for me, this story tanked to two hearts already at 10%. I love alternating first POV, I think you get the best emotion from a main character when it's written right. The characters were as dimensional as the thinnest sheet of paper.
"Austin, talk to me. Make me understand what you are beating yourself up over. Let me help you."
"What makes you think I need help?"
"Perhaps it is because I'm a highly educated man who has spent tens of thousands of dollars on a fancy degree to hang on my wall. Many of the courses related to psychology, which gives me just enough knowledge to be dangerous."
Please don't get me wrong, this type writing style is a popular one. Plenty of readers find stories that tell rather than show very enjoyable. This style was one I saw in a lot of popular MF romance books. I cut down on that genre due to over saturation on the market. The plots became very generic and done to death. The styles were just one big meld of the same - two characters instantly see each other, they fall into consuming insta-love, hysterics/unnecessary drama/big soliloquies/declarations are made/ tears are shed/ doors get slammed/big honking HEA is slapped haphazardly and the end. This style has been found in MM too, its resurgence in the last couple of years has dominated the sales charts.

I'm just one of the readers who is over it. However, I staunchly believe one reader's trash can be another reader's treasure. *shrugs* I have tons of status updates on GR if you're on the fence about reading this. I have a lot of quotes on there to see if this book is worth your time and cash.

Teach Me is about 20 year old rich college kid who came out to his family and was kicked out of his house. Austin meets a pseudo-homeless couple on the street who immediately take him under their wing and keep him from the realities of being homeless. One of the couple has an apartment, she just sleeps on the street to be with her bum and lives in her apt during the day. Weird? Or maybe that's just me. But the coddled boy goes from being still being coddled when he gets a construction through the help of his pseudo-homeless friend. And coddled by his 15 year older boss/love interest David. David can already know how Austin feels and thinks. It could be his tens of thousands dollar's worth of psychology classes (I majored in psychology - does that make me a ticking time-bomb?) but it's mostly how he is written. He comes off pretentious, patronizing, weird and creepy.

An example of David's "love" already at 14%:
"Yes, I am aware that my fascination with the much younger man is bordering on obsession. I spent more hours of my night than I would care to admit telling myself to let it go, to let him go, but I can't. The kid's in so much pain that it's nearly a tangible force following him around."
The feelings are told rather than being shown. I couldn't buy anything either main character said because it read more wooden than real. The drama: tantrums, squeal's door slamming, running out of the room...Austin was allegedly an adult but he read childish and those are examples. The couple both state in the beginning third of the book that they do not care about each other's age but it's a problem for them through out the book (more so with their friends) but if it wasn't an issue, it should have been dropped. However, there was no real angst to give interest and move the story along, even the fights were sloppily resolved, if at all. The last big fight was so oddly handled...what was the point? We didn't even find out if David was reprimanded or not.

I found myself editing this book while reading. And instead of turning this review into a manual, I'll discuss my major points of contention.

How it could have been effective for me:

- Book is all filler, minimal substance. Shave 40-50% off this story. Do I need to read a paragraph about staples and paperclips and a college's budget on affording them? Things plateau before 40% and just dragged out the inevitable. Book is not memorable.

- Edits - I have a gazillion quotes and notes of areas where this book was weak, a scene could have been rewritten for maximum effect or removed because it was unnecessary. I would suggest an editor and one who is impartial because the content needed revisions.Yes, there were also typos but nothing that threw me out of the book while reading.

- Austin was "homeless" but he had a pretty sweet life. More was shown on how obnoxious he was than showcasing his human side. (You'd think a kid who had no home would be more appreciative. I guess his tantrums were supposed to do that?) Or if he was supposed be a brat, then it wasn't as consistent which would lead back to the editing.

- Dialogue - not consistently smooth - Some scenes were decent, when the main characters acted closer to their age. Then you get a scene like this:

"Sit," he demands as my feet hit the floor. "As much as I love you, I'm getting sick of these childish games you play sometimes."
"You knew when you met me that I'm still a child," I retort, which I know is about the most immature thing I could say.
 "Stop, petulance isn't a good look on you."
David treating Austin like a child was disappointing. And he was more like a father than a lover. Some might find it romantic. *shrugs*

Overall, a disappointing read for me. There were a few good parts, sometimes the scene might work. Then more unnecessary drama was added and ruined the effect. The sex scenes were decent enough. In fact, better than I expected the first 2 times. But I disliked both main characters, they were flat. And if I could care less about the main characters, what's the point? My rating is on the writing, story content and overall effect.

Do I recommend? No.

To the curious: read a sample, see if you like it. Read the reviews from reviewers you trust. Take it from there.

I will not willingly read more work from this author in the future. There is a fan base so I'm sure I won't be missed. :)
Good luck to the author in future endeavors.
For more information on Goodreads!


  1. I appreciate your honesty, that's why I place my trust in you steering me in the right direction of choosing my next book to read. I will pass on this one.