Published: 11th July 2019
For Lizzie Riley, switching her eight-year-old son Tom to the local academy school marks a fresh start, post-divorce. With its excellent reputation and outstanding results, Lizzie knows it’ll be a safe space away from home. But there’s something strange happening at school. Parents are forbidden from entering the grounds and inside, there are bars across the classroom windows. Why is Tom coming home exhausted, unable to remember anything about his day? What are the strange marks on his arm? And when Lizzie tries to question the other children, why do they seem afraid to talk? Tom’s new school might seem picture-perfect. But sometimes appearances can be deceiving…
You know a book is utterly superb when you manage to read it within 19 hours.
The narrative opens with our main character, Lizzie and her son Tom running through the woods and it is clear to see that they’re trying to escape someone who they no longer wish to be around. Instantly, this scene sets the entire tone of the plot – two people are living in fear of being discovered and it is Lizzie’s number one job to protect her son at all costs. Soon enough, readers see them living in a brand new house, away from their past and moving forward by starting at a strange new school in which social services set Tom into. Don’t Tell Teacher becomes an addictive plot from the very first chapter so set aside your weekend because you’re not going to want to put this book down.
“How can you have a relationship with someone who point-blank refuses to see reality?”
With Tom starting at his new school, Lizzie is led to believe that he isn’t settling in as well as he could and soon enough, medicine from their home goes missing and little needle pricks in his arm begin to show. Immediately, Lizzie thinks that the school are to blame – padlocked gates, no parents allowed during school hours, no arriving early to drop off or pick up. Aside from Lizzie’s point of view, readers also hear from Kate who is their Social Service Worker as well as Ruth, who is Lizzie’s Mum and I found that their perspective added great value to the plot due to the author dropping little hints here and there.
“No more shadows for me. Not when I have this sort of control.”
As the narrative progresses towards the dramatic ending, readers will be left in utter shock at the twist of the plot and wonder how on earth they missed all of the hidden clues. I thoroughly enjoyed the flashbacks of Lizzie’s past with her ex-husband Olly as this added so much depth and understanding of their truth selves. I honestly couldn’t believe the ending – it crept out of nowhere and absolutely wowed me on a whole other level. I do believe (without spoiling the plot) that the title and blurb are based on the subplot rather than the overall narrative but that’s just simply my opinion.
Highly recommend if you enjoy fast paced, thrilling mystery plots.