Fencing and cheating in a fancy British school: Because of Her by K.E. Payne

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Fencing and cheating in a fancy British school: Because of Her by K.E. PayneBecause of Her by K.E. Payne
Published: Bold Strokes Books (2014), eARC, 264pg
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, GLBTQ

For seventeen-year-old Tabitha "Tabby" Morton, life sucks. Big time. Forced to move to London thanks to her father’s new job, she has to leave her friends, school, and, most importantly, her girlfriend Amy, far behind. To make matters worse, Tabby’s parents enroll her in the exclusive Queen Victoria Independent School for Girls, hoping that it will finally make a lady of her.

But Tabby has other ideas.

Loathing her new school, Tabby fights against everything and everyone, causing relations with her parents to hit rock bottom. But when the beautiful and beguiling Eden Palmer walks into her classroom one day and catches her eye, Tabby begins to wonder if life there might not be so bad after all.

When Amy drops a bombshell about their relationship following a disastrous visit, Tabby starts to see the need for new direction in her life. Fighting her own personal battles, Eden brings the possibility of change for them both. Gradually, Tabby starts to turn her life around—and it’s all because of her. (from Goodreads)

I really wanted to like this! It’s a contemporary YA book with a lesbian protagonist set in England at a fancy upper-class school. All things I like! However, I couldn’t behind a few of the plot points, including the main one which was the relationship between Tabby and Eden. It WOULD have been totally adorable except for the fact that it moves into Tabby-cheating-on-her-girlfriend territory. I am not down with cheating, y’all, even if it’s against an unsuitable partner. Just break up with them!

Also the pacing is super slow. SUPER slow. At first I was all into it. It reminded me a little of Anna and the French Kiss!1 Unlike with Anna, though, I wasn’t as emotionally invested in the relationship between Tabby and Eden. It’s a VERY slow burn kind of romance. Sometimes that works for me, but not for this book, unfortunately. I just couldn’t stay interested. I ended up DNF’ing it at about 65% because I just didn’t care anymore.

I know, I know, people cheat IRL and it’s realistic and blah blah blah. However! Tabby goes on and on about how Eden was making her a better person.

A) I did not see any actual evidence of that besides Tabby joining a fencing club, which I guess was good because it gave her a new hobby? She apparently didn’t have one before, idk.

B) Meeting Eden may have actually made her a WORSE person! Tabby felt compelled to cheat on/ignore her girlfriend to be with Eden more and more; it’s not like Eden encouraged her to forsake her girlfriend or anything, but still. Eden + Tabby = Tabby doing morally suspect things and I don’t think the new fencing hobby makes up for that.

C) We don’t actually see Tabby and Eden together all that much. Mostly I remember it as Tabby staring at Eden while Eden’s crappy friends make fun of Tabby for being somewhat butch. Tabby and Eden ARE in the fencing club together, and they do go on “dates,” but most of the actual action/talking/getting to know one another is off-screen. Reading about Tabby pining over Eden is fine and dandy, but not for 150 pages out of a 250 page book. I want something more, y’know? I wouldn’t even have minded philosophical conversations a la John Green.

How do you feel about characters cheating on their significant others? I think I wouldn’t have minded it so much if there hadn’t been that whole thing about how Eden was making Tabby a better person, or if Tabby had actually told her girlfriend that she wanted to break up and why. Instead, Tabby passive-aggressively let the relationship die and then practically congratulated herself when her girlfriend broke up with her first. Ew.

It’s not like it was the best relationship anyway, but I wish Tabby had treated her girlfriend with the same amount of respect she was giving to Eden.

Read: February 27-March 4, 2014

  1. Another book with cheating.

2 thoughts on “Fencing and cheating in a fancy British school: Because of Her by K.E. Payne”

  1. Ick. I’m with you. We tease my dad about this one time (but really I agree with him) when he was returning a movie to the library that he said was bad, and we asked what was so awful about it, and he said “The main character was cheating on her boyfriend! And this movie was supposed to be a comedy!”

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