When seventeen-year-old Ethan Whitley leaves his home in California for Berkley Academy, a prestigious Massachusetts prep school, he’s a blank slate, a shy follower of rules in search of himself. Ethan is given the chance to start over when he is hand-picked by his wealthy, disaffected classmate, Todd Eldon, and a seductive, enigmatic teacher, Hannah McClellan, a free spirit for whom rules were meant to be broken.
Life with Todd and Hannah is a revelation, an invitation to a world of privilege and desire—trips to a glittering, gritty New York City with its Fifth Avenue penthouses and artists’ lofts; clandestine encounters in the graveyard near Berkley’s wooded campus; and private meetings at Hannah’s secluded house where they can drink wine and read Rimbaud, testing their limits and temptation in equal measure. Looming over these heady evenings is the disturbing mystery of Hannah’s fragmented past, one that Ethan longs desperately to understand.
As secrets are revealed, Ethan is pulled deep into the undertow of Hannah’s history and Todd’s longings. He learns that every deceit has a price, every lie an ugly truth, and that those he has come to trust are people he doesn’t know at all. The most dangerous stories of all, though, may be the ones he has told himself.