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3.36  ·  Rating details ·  13,797 Ratings  ·  2,903 Reviews
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 foretho
ebook, 272 pages
Published July 2nd 2013 by Ecco
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Bad Girl Bex The great thing about books is that we can allow ourselves to examine dconcepts & ideas that we don't necessarily like or agree with, via a kind…moreThe great thing about books is that we can allow ourselves to examine dconcepts & ideas that we don't necessarily like or agree with, via a kind of thought experiment. Never worry about what others will think of you for reading've probably read about Doodlebugs, Dunkirk & the US dropping the a-bomb on Hiroshima, as part of your history class at school. Wanting to know about the damage it did, the fallout it created or the size of the death toll, doesn't make you some kind of voyeur. Nor does it make you someone who is likely to go out and create a bomb yourself for the sole purpose of hurting people.

You can examine a contentious issue, with or without uncomfortable prose, without it being something you feel affiliated with. These books are always going to raise hackles because of the illegality and taboo nature of the topic, but it doesn't mean that they shouldn't exist and we shouldn't be curious about it.

The actual number of female sex offenders out there is way higher than most people are aware of. Female child sex offenders may be more likely to assault female children, but this issue of young, bored, female teachers, in positions of power, specifically choosing jobs where they can exercise their predatory nature and seek out new victims, happens ALL the time. It doesn't get reported as often as adult males abusing underage girls, because a lot of male victims are too ashamed to admit that they were at all hurt, upset or confused by the whole experience. On top of that female sex offenders receive hugely different sentences, when they get sent down. Their sentences are half that of a man in for a similar crime. Women are still viewed as the fairer sex by the judicial system, which unfairly meters out greater punishments to men all across the board; for all crimes.

We're more inclined to look for reasons why a woman, who is expected to possess maternal instincts and be of a nurturing nature, would end up becoming a child sex offender. It's an uncomfortable thing for many people to have to try and think about. And it's books like this, that whilst being hard to read in some areas, give us a more benign insight into the motivation & mentality of the female sexual offender. You know it's a story, so in this instance nobody actually got hurt. You can learn a bit about what elements need to come together in order for the perfect storm of means, motive, opportunity and desire to take place.

And if by chance the book is ever written in such a way as to make you actually enjoy reading some parts of it, then don't feel guilty, dirty or bad. Some aspects of humanity ARE disturbing, but it's much more comforting to feel as though we have a slight insight into how these people operate, having used fictional examples of well drawn characters, by talented authors, who have played out various scenarios and helped us to understand them so much better. (less)
Joseph Alissa Nutting has a Facebook page. You can send this question to her.

Community Reviews

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Apr 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: icky-sex, dbr
hoo boy.

this is one of those books that people are going to have opinions about.and i look forward to people getting all angry and hysterical at me for liking it. for liking it a lot. because the subject matter is pretty ick, right? who is going to be all out and proud saying they liked a book about pedophilia if it doesn't come from the pen of nabokov? (hebephilia, sure, but still...) but it's a pretty accomplished book.

i mean, what does it set out to do? it sets out to get you in the head of
Emily May
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, contemporary

Believe me, I can easily understand all the negative reactions to this book but I can't help but find it absolutely fascinating.

In fact, since putting the book down, I've given myself a while to think about it and, the more I do, the more I find myself acknowledging how clever and brilliant it is. And even feminist in a way, but I'll get to that later. You should be aware, if you haven't already gathered from other reviews, this book is full of vile descriptions and crude language. Being inside
Paul Bryant
Nov 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
I get it – the vagina on the cover looks like a buttonhole – clever, that. Book cover of the year!

This book is based on the real-life case of Debra Lafave, who was busted in, yes, Tampa in 2005 for "Lewd or Lascivious Battery" against a 14 year old boy. She was his teacher. She was 23 at the time.

As you may know, this deliquescent, oozing and dripping Boylita novel is about as un-pc as you can get. Whereas Mr Nabokov’s brilliant Lolita skirts around the actual sex because that was probably the v
Sarah Toussaint
Feb 21, 2018 rated it liked it
If you haven't read this book, I advise you to please approach with caution if you plan to.

It's about a woman. She is a sexual predator and is entirely fixated on fourteen-year-old boys.

At first, I readied my puke-bucket as I was preparing to read this book. (I listened to the audiobook.)

And granted, I did start out feeling sick, yet from the start, I was fully entertained by this main character and what was going on in her head. She was just so fascinating.

When she felt disgusted, I felt disgu
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Feb 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Well, here goes. Yes, I read an extremely sexually graphic book about a female middle school teacher who has an affair with a 14-year-old male student or two. So there's that.

After finishing this book yesterday, I watched part of an interview with its seeming inspiration, Debra Lafave, expecting it to be sort of like that prison interview with Richard Kuklinski: remorseless, cold, disturbing, honest - and even perhaps unconsciously gloating because why not?, or at the very least exploratory of h
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Five stars for sheer audacity and fearlnessness. This book has some issues but Nutting has completely committed to her premise of a hot, twenty-something female teacher/pedophile. People are going to have LOTS to say about this book. There are going to be comparisons to Lolita and American Psycho but the similarities between Tampa and those books are on the surface only. In Tampa, Celeste is her desires and the plot is how she goes about satisfying those desires. To say this novel is explicit wo ...more
Dan Schwent
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, 2017-books
On the surface, Celeste Price and her husband are the perfect couple. He's a cop and she teaches junior high. However, her secret ravenous lust for young boys threatens to tear them apart...

Yeah, this is one of those polarizing books. It asks the uncomfortable question "If a gorgeous 26 year old teacher wants to bed a very willing 14 year old student of hers, is it really rape?" A wise man once wrote "the best villain is the one who thinks he's the hero" and Celeste definitely thinks she's in th

I'm giving Tampa such a low rating not because it was disgusting but because it was so disappointing. Believe it or not, I liked the idea of this book. It was the way the plot played out that irked me and in the end, I'm afraid it did not have the intended effect on me.

Tampa started off brilliantly. I had my doubts, having read countless reviews that called it vulgar but 10 pages in and I was *gasp* liking it. Yes it was vulgar but it was also witty, brazen, horrifying and compelling. Jugglin
mark monday

Tampa is a gleefully sardonic black comedy about a lovely young psychopath who preys on 14-year old boys in order to attain her primary goal in life: sexual satisfaction.

the first half of the book often made my skin crawl; I squirmed uncomfortably while reading about the cold-blooded machinations of a person - a teacher! - who is completely without empathy or morality, plotting and planning to take advantage of various minors.

I am still struggling to understand what this book made me feel or whether it left any impression on me at all.

What I could sense in Nutting's writing, was an eagerness to cause the readers to recoil in horror and to make them experience the full impact of being inside a scheming, conniving, good-looking hebephile like Celeste Price's head.
And I might say, she does succeed in that venture to a certain extent.
But don't mistake this for another Lolita from a female sexual predator's point of vie
Aug 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
It mostly consists of lots of disturbing sex scenes with a minor designed to shock readers, and a bland, cartoonish and underdeveloped main character(s). I guess this is supposed to be a character study, but it’s hard to do that when you’re too busy writing sex scenes instead of developing the characters. Basically, it’s a book that uses its controversial subject to distract readers from how bad the whole thing is.

So there, I read it so you don’t have to.
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-away
Possible spoiler

I consider myself to be pretty new at this book reviewing thing. Jot down a few things I liked, disliked, general chit chat about the book. Well with this one I just don't know. I'm not an expert about what people should and should not write about, what would I know?! But I do know this is some crazy stuff, yes it does happen, but writing fiction such as this on this topic? 30 year old female, sexually attracted to 14 year old boys? Every sentence was about the topic. The desire,
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
Wow, wow, wow - this novel tackles taboo stuff, namely the relentless, sociopathic sexual pursuit of teenage boys by a female eighth grade English teacher. It's a book you won't want to like as it's subject matter is just WRONG, but because it's so well written it's a brilliant bit of fiction.

First read in 2014 I've just revisited this book. I wanted to see if it still impacted me.
Celeste is married and very attractive with a never ending sexual thirst for teen boys, not teen boys that look like
My bookshelves tell the story. Overwhelmingly, my taste runs to history. After that, there is a fair-sized collection of classic fiction, most of it read for vanity when I was younger. There is a smattering of contemporary fiction, usually a book that is so prevalent in the zeitgeist that failure to read it would mark me as hopelessly out of touch. Alas, lately, I’ve definitely become more comfortable being hopelessly out of touch.

So how do I explain Alissa Nutting’s Tampa? This slim novel tell
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Ever read a book and wonder what the heck did I just read? This book is that. Celeste Price is a predator. Don't go into this book thinking she is not. The woman sets out to get what she wants (which is a fourteen year old boy) and she adjusts and justifies her actions in split seconds. The damn woman has no soul.
Did that stop me from reading this book? Nope. I'm not rating this book highly because I liked her actions. No one in their right mind could go in this woman's mind and like it. That's

..they’d never feel their libido a deformed thing to be kept chained up in the attic of their mind and to only be fed in secret after dark.

Meet Celeste Price. Or do we really want to? It’s a dicey prospect based completely on individual perceptions but something not entirely ineffectual. If we take a moment to consider the plot and the innovation it involves, then the result will be far from satisfactory. A twenty-six years old, eighth-grade English teacher with a thing for and only for 14 year
Steve Lowe
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is an odd one to rate and review.

Was it well-written? Oh, yeah. Almost... too well-written. Felt a couple times like the plot was a bit too overtly manipulated to steer the story toward a particular conclusion, but maybe I'm just being picky.

Was it entertaining? Hell, yeah. It was hilarious, in the way that sociopaths can be hilarious with their overriding desire to please themselves at the expense of all others (and specifically, Celeste's inner thoughts about those around her.) The voice
JaHy☝Hold the Fairy Dust

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but I wish the author much success all the same.. Smiley
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's inconceivable to me just how good this book is. Not just destined to be one of my favorite novels of the year, but quite possibly one of my favorite novels of life. I think Celeste Price would approve of my thinking that I haven't wanted to take a shower after reading several chapters in a sitting, for fear of not having the words on my skin anymore. Fortunately for me, I can always read the book again, after I finish.

As I near the end (sadly), I tweeted to the author this evening:

May 21, 2013 rated it liked it
This is one of those books that's almost impossible to rate. What kind of rating do you give to a book with the most despicable of narrators, most unsettling descriptions of sex, but with the sharpest satirical descriptions, the most darkly humorous observations and a strangely engaging narrative? I was horrified and captivated by Celeste. I mean, read the summary. She's a beautiful 26 year old middle school teacher who systematically, almost psychopathically, sets out to seduce 14 year old boys ...more
Aug 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Middle school teacher in Florida --Celeste Price --26 year old sociopathic protagonist --married to a police officer likes teenage boys. In particular, one 14-year-old boy.

This story is loosely taken from the true story about Debra Jean Beasley, or better known as Debra Lafave......who pleaded guilty in 2005 to lewd or lascivious battery.
The charges stemmed from a sexual encounter with a 14- year old male student in the summer of 2004.

This story will shock and disturb many readers - at the sam
This is definitely not going to be a book for everyone, and it's bound to be controversial, whatever that means these days. However, I knew I'd want to read it from the first time I heard about it. That may make me sound a bit strange when you consider that the book is about a woman who has an all-consuming sexual obsession for teenage boys... But it got a a good review from Karen, Queen of Goodreads, and it was thanks to her reviews that I discovered and loved The End of Alice, a novel with sim ...more
Natalie Monroe
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Lolita and Gillian Flynn
Recommended to Natalie by: Shelby Suderman
4.25 stars

"Though I didn't yet know which of my male eight-grade English students would be my favorites, I guessed based on name and performed a small act of voodoo, reaching up my dress to the clear ink pad between my legs, wetting my fingertip, and writing their names upon the desks in the front row, hoping by some magic they'd be conjured directly to those seats, their hormones reading the invisible script their eyes couldn't see."

Tampa has a pretty low average rating. 3.32 at the time of t
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2013
Find all of my reviews at:

Celeste Price has everything a girl could dream of. She’s model-gorgeous with an equally attractive husband who also happens to have a significant trust fund. He works as a police officer, she is a middle-school teacher. He worships the ground his trophy wife walks on and she????? Well, she fantasizes about banging 8th graders.

Okay kids, get ready to hate me because I freakin’ LOVED Tampa. Please, don’t misunderstand – I agree that the
May 06, 2013 rated it did not like it

What a shit show!

There are very few books out there that I actually capital h hate. To be precise, I can think of six. American Psycho (what a snooze-fest; I don't give a shit about what he's wearing or eating or whatever the fuck else Ellis went on and on about), The Silver Linings Playbook (seriously, I want to know who the author slept with to get this thing published), Bad Marie, New Moon, My French Whore and this here.

Let me just say first that I have absolutely no problem with gratuitous
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
It's unfortunate that a book's average rating will suffer because of negative reviews based on controversial subject matter or unlikable characters.
Tampa is heavily guilty on both counts, but is an example of why people shouldn't discount a novel because of a low average rating, assuming that this is reflective of terrible writing. Because beneath the surface of graphic sex and an entirely deplorable main character, there lies excellent and provocative writing (not to mention a brilliantly provo
Jun 06, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am attempting to (re)write a review for Tampa even though I finished it more than six weeks ago. No worries, though...this is a tough one to forget! I decided to read Tampa mainly because I was curious. With a cover like that, what would the story be like?! Well! My copy had the blackboard with Tampa written in chalk but the content within was hardly tame. The opening sentence of this story had me immediately questioning my decision to read this and it just kept getting more and more ridiculou ...more
Feb 20, 2013 added it
Well, I finished it, but this book is so problematic that I don't feel able to give it a star rating. For the nuts-and-bolts of writing it might get 3, but that would suggest that I'm endorsing it in some way, and I can't do that.

To back up, I didn't want to read this - neither dark thrillers nor Picoult-esque suburban crisis books are my thing. But there were repeated conversations at work about it, about what it is and how it should be approached, that I felt we owed it to the author, and to t
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A copy of Tampa was provided to me by Ecco/HarperCollins for review purposes.

'The rage of lust was like an IV drip in my veins; I felt it beginning to spread inside me with the helpless awareness of someone realizing she's been slipped a drug.'

Celeste has the intensity of a psychopath or even a serial killer when it comes to her sexual obsessions. The desperation in doing whatever it takes to satisfy her need was disturbing to say the least. Her complete disregard for how her actions would affec
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thefemalegaze, 2013

Review here.
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Tampa demolition ...: Tampa 1 1 Jul 15, 2018 06:56AM  
Male pedophiles are loathed and female pedophiles are drooled upon! 30 359 Apr 22, 2017 09:09AM  
Around the Year i...: Tampa, by Alissa Nutting 5 30 Nov 01, 2016 01:47PM  
Transgressive Rea...: Male/female reading perspective 2 11 Dec 01, 2015 05:51PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Tampa by Alissa Nutting 6 56 Oct 04, 2015 11:27AM  
Transgressive Rea...: I'm finished! 1 8 Aug 25, 2015 10:16AM  
Transgressive Rea...: Tampa - More shocking than I thought... 1 16 Aug 21, 2015 12:36PM  
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“I found that sometimes it was a relief to do something unattractive in private, to confirm that I’m deeply flawed when so many others imagine me to be perfect. People are often startled by my handwriting; because I’m pretty, they assume everything I do is pretty. It’s odd to them that I write like I have a hook for an arm, just as Ford would be startled to learn I have a hook for a heart.” 25 likes
“His eyes took in the details of my body with a conflicted gaze that I knew well: even having seen all the facts of the case, he still wanted me. He wanted me despite knowing what that meant about him.” 8 likes
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