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The Teacher
(Review, Book Summary & Spoilers)

By Freida McFadden

Book review, full book summary and synopsis for The Teacher by Freida McFadden, a twisty psychological thriller about an ostracized student and a jealous wife.


In The Teacher by Frieda McFadden, Addie is an ostracized student attending Caseham High. The other students believe she was romantically involved with one of the teachers last year and that he was fired as a result.

Meanwhile, Eve and Nate Bennett are a married couple who are both teachers at the school. Eve is paranoid about her handsome husband, the late nights he works and the many young women at school who have crushes on him.

In this twisty psychological thriller, it's never quite clear who can be trusted, what secrets each of the characters hold, and where the truth lies.

(The Full Plot Summary is also available, below)

Full Plot Summary

Section-by-Section Summary
See the Section-by-Section Summary of The Teacher
Quick Plot Summary

The one-paragraph version: Addie is a high school senior who is believed to have had an improper relationship with a former teacher. While that was a misunderstanding, she begins an affair with Nate, the handsome married English teacher. There's an altercation and Nate's wife Eve is injured by Addie, but Nate is the one who then kills Eve. Nate tries to frame Addie, but another student he was sleeping with, Kenzie, comes forward, and Addie and Kenzie go to the police with the truth. Meanwhile, it's revealed that Eve survived and was buried alive, but dug her way out. Eve is actually a former student of Nate's that he seduced. With the help of Jay (who Eve was having an affair with), she lures Nate to the grave, knocks him out and buries him alive.

In Part I, Addie is a high school junior at Caseham High who is rumored to have gotten a teacher, Arthur Tuttle, fired due to them having an improper relationship. At school, she is ostracized and ignored by Hudson, her former best friend. She's also bulled by Kenize, Hudson's popular and pretty new girlfriend. It's revealed that Hudson stopped speaking to Addie after an accident that resulted in them killing Addie's abusive, alcoholic father a year ago (pushed down the stairs in an altercation).

Meanwhile, Eve and Nate are a married couple and both teachers at Caseham. Nate is very handsome, and he constantly rebuffs Eve's attempts to be more affectionate and have more sex. Eve also has a tendency to buy expensive pairs of heels, which Nate disapproves of. Eve, jealous and frustrated, has been having an affair with Jay, a shoe salesman for four months.

Nate loves poetry and takes an interest in Addie after reading one of her poems. Soon Nate and Addie begin an affair, and Addie loses her virginity to Nate. He writes Addie a poem. It's revealed that unlike now, the incident with Mr. Tuttle was actually a misunderstanding. Arthur had been tutoring Addie, and she'd gone to his house for support one night, but she was spotted in the bushes looking in on him and his wife having dinner. The optics of the situation meant that Arthur ended up being fired.

Addie gets increasingly attached to Nate, and Eve eventually sees Nate and Addie kissing. She tells Nate to end it and that she wants a divorce. When Addie goes to try to convince Eve that they're really in love, Addie gets hysterical and hits Eve with a frying pan. Addie calls Nate for help. It turns out Eve is still alive, but Nate kills Eve by choking her to death, fearing what she knows. When Addie asks asks about the red marks on Eva's neck, Nate avoids the question.

In Part II, Nate and Addie dig a grave, but Nate ditches Addie to bury the body alone. Addie ends up calling Hudson to pick her up. The next day, Nate tells the police that his wife has gone missing and hints that Addie could be involved. The police believe him at first, but they hint to Addie that he is trying to pin the disappearance on her.

Kenzie reveals to Addie that she saw Addie with the poem that Nate had given to Addie. Kenzie recognized it because it's the same one he once gave to her. Kenzie started sleeping with Nate when she was 14. The two agree to go to police and tell them the truth.

In Part III, it's revealed that Eve was actually still alive and able to dig her way out since Addie had merely covered her with leaves. Eve has been staying with Jay. Eve and Jay lure Nate back to the grave, knock him out and bury him alive. It's revealed that Eve was also a former student of Nate's that he seduced many years ago when she was 15.

In the Epilogue, people think Nate simply disappeared after facing being labeled a sex offender. And Eve resurfaces, saying she just wanted to get away for a few days. It's revealed that the "Jay" that Eve was seeing was actually Hudson ("Jay" being short for Jankowski, his last name), but that's over now. The book ends with Hudson and Addie holding hands.

For more detail, see the full Section-by-Section Summary.

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Book Review

The Teacher by Frieda McFadden wasn’t really on my radar before it came out earlier this month, but early reviews have been pretty positive. I was thinking about going see a friend’s band perform at a bar nearby tonight, but it’s been rainy and overcast this weekend, so I thought this could be a good time to stay in and read a quick, fun thriller instead.

To be honest, I wasn’t all that interested in the premise at first. It seemed kind of random to me — something about a jealous wife and something about a student who may or may not have had an illicit student-teacher relationship with a teacher who was fired. I mostly gave it a chance since other people seem to be liking it.

I sped through this pretty easily. The Teacher is a fast read. I try to appreciate when these mystery/thriller novels try to add depth and real psychological nuance to their characters and stories, but honestly there’s also something to be said about a thriller that just gets the job done as well. This is more of the latter variety.

The Teacher is all plot, drama, smoke and mirrors with a few twists along the way. It does get into some darker territory, but the book tends not to dwell on these things, too busy skipping along at a moderate clip to dive deep into the murkier aspects of its plot.

I liked that the story tries to go against what you might expect to happen in some ways. I also liked that there’s a pretty satisfying comeuppance at the end. There’s some small twists, and one big twist that I appreciated. Lots of good stuff going on here.

The writing is pretty much what you’d expect from a run-of-the-mill thriller, but it gets the job done.

Read it or Skip it?

I found The Teacher to be a satisfying and serviceable thriller. There wasn’t anything about it that really “wow”ed me, but I thought the plot was relatively believable as far as thrillers go, and I liked that it defied my expectations in some ways. I’m glad I picked it up. It’s a fairly generic mystery-thriller, but it’s a solid one that I enjoyed.

It might not end up being your favorite book or anything, but I imagine most mystery-thriller fans would find that this scratches that itch pretty effectively.

See The Teacher on Amazon.

P.S. The last psychological thriller I read, reviewed and enjoyed before this one was Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney.

The Teacher Audiobook Review

Narrator: Leslie Howard & Danny Montooth
Length: 9 hours 34 minutes

Easy listening, good narration. A more than serviceable audiobook and a good option for listening to this book. I probably read half of this and listened to half of this.

Hear a sample of The Teacher audiobook on

Book Excerpt

Read the first pages of The Teacher

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