Holy crapbags, that was so freaking amazing, Ashleigh has always has a way with words and I think this just be her best work yet. I’ve never read a character I hated and despised as much as Sebastian Carter, yet couldn’t walk away from reading – he reeled me in and spat me out just as he did with Stella. Even writing this review is troubling… but in its best form.
If you’re looking for a sweet romance, this isn’t for you, but if you want a ride like the biggest roller coaster in the world, hop in, belt up and get ready because this loop de loop will have your world turn in its axis.
Both Stella LeClaire and Sebastian Carter have a similar history in the way of bad parenting and aweful upbringing. But where Sebastian is a devil with deep wounds, Stella just wants a future she can work with even if it is what her mother wants. Getting into the elite Loyola Academy will out on the journey for college, but she doesn’t fit in with the other students, she might be the daughter of Lila Monroe, famous model but she wasn’t burn with the proverbial silver spoon in her mouth meaning fitting in is even more difficult. But on top of the kids she has a forbidden chemistry with teacher Sebastian Carter.
Sebastian is now as the horrible mean teacher of Loyola Academy, he’s hard as stone in the students, but is well praised as a teacher. What many don’t know is his underlying hate and beet of pain, but not to himself, to there and his sights are on he’s student Stella LeClaire. There’s something about her he can’t deny, but his want to humiliate and torment her knows no boundaries, this man is the devil masquerading as a sexy man in a suit.
So when these two collide it’s not pretty, it’s not sweet…. Its hard to read, it’s confronting but SOOOOO FREAKING HOT! Sebastian has a way to open up stale and destroy her all in one. Just like a train wreck, you know it’s bad you shouldn’t enjoy it, like Stella she kept gong back for more, breaking her a little more, but those breakdowns create a stronger woman with new plans… If her Hate Crush doesn’t destroy her for all others.
'Hate Crush' is a forbidden romance with dark, angsy and lascivious undertones. The 'forbidden' storyline (student/teacher) is a little different to A. Zavarelli's normal scenarios and signature style.
Loyola Academy senior student, Stella LeClaire, is a tragic character in many ways - she's a victim of her family's treatment, to the GalPal school clique and then to the allure of a teacher who has his own motives regarding her. She's yearns for validation and is still putting the pieces of life's jigsaw puzzle together. Sebastian Carter (aka 'Mr. Lucifer Hot Teacher of Doom Carter') is troubled, dominant and cruel. Of course, there's more to him than meets the eye, as we find out eventually. Yes, it's a familiar theme, but Ashleigh puts her own twist on things.
Despite the age difference, Sebastian and Stella are connected by similar circumstances and hangups. They have little else in common other than their explosive, risky and exciting love/lust. Their 'love' seems more like need, imo, perhaps because of the power imbalance and their individual neurosis...so definitely no sunshine, lollipops and rainbows love story here! That didn't bother me at all, but I found the characters a bit flat and the plot was a little overly melodramatic. Overall, not my favourite A Zavarelli book, but other readers may feel differently, so give it a try.
Hate Crush is an exciting new bully/ forbidden romance from A. Zavarelli. The chemistry between Stella and Sebastian is off the charts as is the forbidden-ness of their relationship. Stella is made to go to Loyola College for her final year and seems to have a whole host of difficulties from day one and especially from her teacher, Sebastian Carter who seems to make it his mission to make Stella’s life a living hell.
Sebastian carter has secrets and reasons why he is still teaching at Loyola College. His decision to make Stella his pet project is easy and he is going to do anything in his power to break her and make her stronger! Only, he never counted on Stella being stronger or less malleable than he thought.
This was quite a riveting read, mainly due to you feeling the intense hatred that Sebastian feels for Stella. He does some really horrible things to her as does some of the other characters in the book who you want to punch in the face as they are that vindictive and mean. You follow along with the story told by both POV’s quite easily and you see what has happened to both of the characters to bring them to this point. There are moments of true heartbreak as well as anger, especially when there was moment (I found) where Sebastian could have stood up to the plate but decided not to. This book is extremely hot and keeps you moving along at a fast pace. It has everything: betrayal, loyalty, passion and denial to name but a few and should definitely go on your TBR list.
4.5 STARS! I can’t say I’ve read a lot of student/ teacher romances but I couldn’t deny the obvious chemistry going on between Stella and Sebastian. It was practically leaping off the pages. I was hooked and invested in their story despite the drama. And there is lots of DRAMA! I think if they didn’t have their own personal issues going on on top of their secret hookups, this wouldn’t have been as intense of a story as it had been. By halfway through Hate Crush I was a range of emotions myself. And there’s no doubt anyone who reads it will be too. I felt frustrated, annoyed, and sometimes at a loss for words. Then there were times I felt like I was getting heartburn and needing a lie down. Theirs was in no way a perfect love story but my gosh it was something! There was undeniable sparks.. and surprisingly by the end I found myself forgetting there was even an age gap between them–or that they were initially student and teacher. A. Zavarelli does an excellent job of setting the atmosphere right from the get-go. From the circumstances surrounding Stella, to her family dynamics and the lack of proper parentals. And then you get the first impressions of Sebastian. His hard, no-nonsense aura and hidden agenda (which immediately piqued my interest). Side characters like Stella’s bestie, the jerky “cool” guy and the popular bitchy girls in it for her are great additions to set the high school drama scene. The further you get along in the book, the more you can’t put it down because there’s just so many things happening that you need to know how it’s all going to end. It flowed at a relatively easy-going pace. You won’t be skimming through the pages with this one. If you’re not a fan of dark romances, or can’t deal with taboo subjects (such a forbidden, older man/ younger woman romances)–then it’s probably best that you give this one a miss. But if you like a bit of edge in your love stories, journeys with bumps, sharp turns and forks in the road, then you can’t pass this one up. I loved it! I thought it was an exceptional standalone set in a high school backdrop. It was like Pretty Little Liars meets Gossip Girls meets A. Zavarelli! It pulls at the heartstrings. FYI: This may be set in high school but it’s no way a book for young readers. At least one for the underage. It contains explicit sexual scenes, and the mention of drugs. 18+ readers only!
(I was gifted a copy by the author in exchange for my honest review) Reviewed by RINA | (booksofthemuggleborn)
Wow, this book is amazing....it has all the feels going on, some serious behind the scenes drama and one non-labelled taboo relationship.....what’s not to love❣️This book wasn’t anything that I expected it to be when I first started reading, but much like a flower in spring it bloomed and I was entirely captivated watching as it all unfolded🌹
Stella and Sebastian were everything I never expected to find in this story and I absolutely loved it and couldn’t put it down. Suffice to say this is one I highly recommend😍
Thank you to A. Zavarelli for my advanced copy for which I voluntarily leave my honest review🥰
I was intrigued by the book’s blurb, so I decided to give this book a go. I do love a good high school bully romance novel, but what made this one different from the norm, was the forbidden/taboo element to it; and that the romance relationship was between a student and her teacher (with said teacher being the main culprit of the bullying). * * From day one, AP Research teacher Sebastian Carter, is an total jerk towards new student Stella LaClaire, who is in her final year of high school at Loyola Academy. The students at the school don’t really like him very much. He is super-hot and arrogant, and he seems to make it his mission to make her feel as unwelcomed and uncomfortable as possible in his classroom.
Stella is an emotionally damaged 18 yo with both mummy and daddy issues. She’s beautiful and feisty, and takes no BS from the mean girls in her dormitory, which unfortunately makes her their new target for the year. Her only comfort at school is her friend Sybil, and the author makes a good job developing their relationship in the book.
The attraction between Sebastian and Stella is immediate and intense. Let me just say that the chemistry between them is consuming. Sebastian is a naturally dominant alpha male and Stella is the young, pliable, eager-to-please submissive. Theirs is a give-and-take love/hate relationship with Stella doing all the giving and Sebastian all the taking. It’s just eminent that things between them was going to be trying at times.
I really enjoyed reading this book. The whole concept of the storyline was interesting. The book was well written and I love A Zavarelli’s writing style, but I expected a bit more emotional angst and drama from Stella’s character, especially when dealing with her forbidden/taboo romance with her 27 year old teacher.
What can I say other than I LOVED it? Hate Crush had so many great tropes, and as you'd expect from Zavarelli, each trope was incredibly well done; including:
1) The forbidden teacher/student romance: Sebastian is a teacher at Loyola Academy in his late twenties. He's known by his students for being both insanely attractive and a major a-hole. Stella, on the cusp of being an adult, transfers to Loyola Academy for her final year at the insistence of her parents. Sebastian and Stella's meeting in his classroom on her first day is explosive as he make her the target of his a-hole behaviour. Shortly after the story begins, Stella turns 18 and that is when their lives truly take a new turn.
2) The age gap: I've read some really awkward age gap stories but this was *not* one of them. Despite the roughly 10 year age difference, their maturity levels were very similar to the point where, if it weren't for the teacher/student power dynamic, I wouldn't have noticed it at all.
3) Enemies to lovers: Not the typical enemies to lovers story you'd expect but their initial antagonism towards each other only added to the relationship when they finally got together.
Overall, this story had me hooked from the beginning and eagerly wanting to find out what new dilemma was going to be thrown in Stella's way. Without giving anything away, I will say my favourite part of the story was how it ended. To me the ending was perfect because it was realistic, showed that actions have consequences and emphasised the importance of staying true to yourself. Hate Crush was such a great read and still had every bit the gritty, dark nature you'd expect to find in Zavarelli's writing style. I cannot wait to see what Zavarelli comes up with next!
**Thank you to A Zavarelli and Candi Kane PR for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.