**DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK** Book Review: Tampa {Alissa Nutting}

This book has been on my radar to read for years due to how highly controversial it is.  Admittingly I have put it off for so long because the subject just made me so uncomfortable.  My fears were warranted.  This entire book was HIGHLY uncomfortable to read. And yet…I couldn’t put it down.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Celeste Price is an eighth-grade English teacher in suburban Tampa. She’s undeniably attractive. She drives a red Corvette with tinted windows. Her husband, Ford, is rich, square-jawed, and devoted to her.

But Celeste’s devotion lies elsewhere. She has a singular sexual obsession—fourteen-year-old boys. Celeste pursues her craving with sociopathic meticulousness and forethought; her sole purpose in becoming a teacher is to fulfill her passion and provide her access to her compulsion. As the novel opens, fall semester at Jefferson Jr. High is beginning.

In mere weeks, Celeste has chosen and lured the lusciously naive Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his teacher, and, most important, willing to accept Celeste’s terms for a secret relationship—car rides after school; rendezvous at Jack’s house while his single father works late; body-slamming encounters in Celeste’s empty classroom between periods.

Ever mindful of the danger—the perpetual risk of exposure, Jack’s father’s own attraction to her, and the ticking clock as Jack leaves innocent boyhood behind—the hyperbolically insatiable Celeste bypasses each hurdle with swift thinking and shameless determination, even when the solutions involve greater misdeeds than the affair itself. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress driven by pure motivation. She deceives everyone, and cares nothing for anyone or anything but her own pleasure.

My Thoughts:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

The above black and white picture that I took is of the cover of the book that I read.  Note the boring cover.  Apparently THIS is the other cover version which my library did NOT have…


So there’s that.

This book has been banned at many bookstores across the globe. Others have agreed to stock it but only with a warning sticker affixed to the cover warning patrons that this book is only appropriate if you are over the age of 18.

I’m over 18 (way over). I read it. And while I was reading, the same questions kept repeating themselves in my head:

What the HELL am I reading???

HOW do books like this even get written in the first place?

How do authors even come UP with ideas like this?

How do publishers agree to publish books like this?

If you have a preteen or a teenage son, I would highly recommend skipping this book.  Someone on my Facebook page mentioned that she has a 14 year old son and wanted to know my opinion on if she should read this or not.  I told her NO!  I have a 3 year old son and this book was tough for me to read.  There is no way I could have read this if my son were older.

Also, if extremely graphic and detailed sex scenes aren’t your thing, this is NOT a book you will want to read. There are MANY of these scenes.  Graphic isn’t even an adequate word for how descriptive and detailed these scenes are. Now I love to read a good sex scene and the more detailed the better…when it’s consensual sex between 2 adults.  Reading detailed sex scenes of adults with minors?  Absolutely horrific.

The publisher should be ashamed in publishing what is essentially a step by step guide in how to lure and groom underage children into sexual relationships with adults.  Disgusting.

At the bottom of each of my book reviews, I link an affiliate link to buy the book and I make a small commission from your purchase.  I’m not linking this book because honestly, I can’t in good conscience promote anyone to purchase this book.

If you do feel compelled to read this to see what the hype is about (as I did) I would encourage you to check it out of your local library (as I did) and not give the publisher or the author any reason to believe that creating this type of book and making it available to the public is ok.

If you do choose to buy it…that’s your choice but I truly don’t want any type of commission from such a disgusting and dangerous piece of literature.

I cringe to think what could happen to an innocent child if the wrong person got their hands on this book.

In terms of a literary review, the beginning of the book was so disgusting that it was nearly impossible to read. I absolutely hated every second of reading about how to lure a child (14 year old) into a sexual relationship with an adult. From the reviews I’ve read online, many people never make it past the first few chapters. The middle of the book was a bit easier (not much) to read as it focused more on the story and not on the intentional grooming of a child into a sexual relationship with an adult. The end of the book just seemed rushed.


Aside from the rushed ending, the actual writing in this book is fantastic although the subject is so, so awful. I literally couldn’t put it down and read the entire book in 2 days. I HAD to know what was going to happen next! I hate to give this book any kind of positive review but I have to say…I couldn’t stop reading. This author is definitely talented.  I would be interested in reading more of her work if the subject was pretty much anything but this.

Also, I can appreciate any book which brings awareness and promotes discussions on otherwise taboo topics such as this. I absolutely hated the way in which this book was written to allow us into the mind of an adult who’s sole purpose was to meticulously create a plan on how she was going to molest children. However, the author clearly has enough literary talent to keep the reader interested enough to continue reading until the end.  At least this reader.  I truly couldn’t stop reading!

I’m so incredibly conflicted on how I would even rate this book and therefore…I’m just not.  No affiliate link, no rating.

The only reason that I’m even writing this blog post is because I mentioned on Facebook and Instagram that I was about to start this book and I know that people are waiting to hear my reaction.  I honestly wish I never would have mentioned this book to begin with…I hate that I’m even putting it out there for people to learn about.  The very last thing that I would ever want to do with a book such as this is to help promote it in any way (even negatively).

Bottom Line:

The mother in me was furious reading this book.  The former teacher in me was appalled reading this book.  The woman in me was disgusted reading this book. The reader in me couldn’t put it down.

I would be so curious to hear other opinions on this controversial book.  Did you read this one?  What did you think?  If not…would you want to?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!

Local friends, I run a storytime every Tuesday and Friday at Whimsy Cafe in Buffalo Grove, Illinois from 10:00-10:30! Bring your kids (6 months-5 years) for stories, songs, and lots of fun. Price is included in your child’s admission, no need to sign up. If you are a blog reader, please be sure to introduce yourself!  I can’t wait to meet you and your little ones. 🙂

18 thoughts on “**DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK** Book Review: Tampa {Alissa Nutting}

  1. This is exactly how I felt reading this – I just do not have the skills to put it into words like you did. And your ending statement is perfect: “The mother in me was furious reading this book. The former teacher in me was appalled reading this book. The woman in me was disgusted reading this book. The reader in me couldn’t put it down.”


  2. I try to avoid books like this. I just don’t feel like putting on the mind and heart of a pedophile in order to “understand” them. Others may disagree, and that’s fine. I also tend to avoid graphic horror books. I understand that there might be fine writing within the pages of these books but that’s not enough to justify what it does to my own sensibilities. I appreciate your review.


    1. While I understand what you mean, this book isn’t about “understanding” a pedophile. It’s about the psychology of female pedophilia, something rarely discussed or researched (and often dismissed). It’s fine if it’s too upsetting to you to read it, but I just wanted to say this book doesn’t make the main character sympathetic at all.


  3. “do not buy this book” seems kind of short sighted. This book doesn’t glamorize or eroticize the subject in any way, in fact it’s my opinion that this would be valuable information for people unaware of the signs of grooming. It also lends a lot of perspective about female pedophiles/predators, something often not discussed nor researched enough. It’s fine to not want to read it because it’s so uncomfortable, but to suggest someone shouldn’t even bother to read it just seems off to me. That’s like saying “don’t read about world war 2” or “don’t read about crimes against women during the balkan conflict” because it’s simply “too hard”.


  4. “I honestly wish I never would have mentioned this book to begin with…I hate that I’m even putting it out there for people to learn about.” Yet you decided to publish this blog. “The very last thing that I would ever want to do with a book such as this is to help promote it in any way (even negatively).” Yet you did. But you mentioned twice that you couldn’t stop reading it. Just own the fact that you enjoyed the book even though the subject matter is horrific. You don’t have to condone something to be fascinated by it.

    Yes, this book can of course be used by pedophiles to learn how to groom children. It can also be used by adults to gain an understanding of how this type of sexual predator thinks and behaves in order to better protect children. I think that’s worth pointing out. And let’s be honest: unless someone is shamefully ignorant, they know that pedophiles have never needed a book to learn how to manipulate. Some serial killers have reported in interviews that they learned how to avoid detection by watching tv shows about police work. Does that mean we shouldn’t have shows about police work?

    As for this author’s writing ability… meh. “Shocking” does not equal “good writing.” I’ve read that this book has been compared to Lolita, which is laughable to put it mildly.


  5. My sister that owns a very established bookstore gave me this book, almost everything I read are her recommendations, or the books she sends me. I LOVED Tampa, over the years I read it three times! It’s hilarious! A great summer read. It’s fiction people! Take a chill pill! Want to delve in reality? Like what the Catholic Church has been doing to boys on the regular for ever? This is a very funny fictional story, very funny and well written. Don’t believe these reviews, a very good read.


    1. It’s really concerning when you say because it is fiction it is a good read and very funny…what about the subject of the book is funny to you? I didn’t find anything funny whatsoever about this book. It’s actually not a fictional story considering this happens frequently under our noses. And I read somewhere that the author did in fact get inspiration from a specific molestation of a minor by teacher situation. Are you sure you’re more comfortable with the story because you are into that sort of thing yourself, Joe?

      If so, maybe you should be put onto a watch list.


    2. Hey Joe. Serious question and no shade whatsoever: What did you find funny about Tampa? I was grossed out most of the time but could not put the book down. I wasn’t laughing though so I’m just interested in what you found so humorous about the story.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I haven’t read the book, but as a social worker, the controversy has caught my attention. I don’t know yet if I will be reading it, but if I do, I refuse to purchase it. The reason why I would want to read it is solely to learn the tactics and ways of thinking of pedophiles, both male and female.


  7. It really odd to me that you would write this review stating DO NOT BUY and know nothing about the book. You read the book. You were disgusted by book. There for the book should never be bought? That’s a poor way to review books. This book could be highly educational in understanding signs of abuse with the standard “male criminal, female victim”reversed. It’s also not about their relationship and how to get away with what they were doing, it’s about how the female mind works in a situation as it is not researched enough. Females can be just as predatory as males, yet society forgets that. There was an interesting idea I read when researching this book where if a girl is molested by an adult male it’s a horrific crime, but when a boy is molested by an adult female he’s a hero and the “luckiest guy alive”. Yes this book is a very uncomfortable read that made me want to throw up and not continue, but it was also very eye opening on a very taboo subject that doesn’t get the attention is should. You also say you don’t understand how an author could think of such a thing to write, it’s because it’s based on a true story of a teacher in FL who was caught. If you researched the book before you read it you would know that, which is something you think someone that is reviewing a book would do. Understanding the why it was written and how the idea for the book came about is important, especially when reading a controversial book such as this. You failed to do both and are basing your opinion off your emotion, as a reviewer you should put your biases aside.


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