INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“[An] exceedingly complex, inventive, resourceful examination of harm and power.” —The New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice
“A lightning rod . . . brilliantly crafted.”—The Washington Post
A most anticipated book by The New York Times • USA Today • Entertainment Weekly • Marie Claire • Elle • Harper’s Bazaar • Bustle • Newsweek • New York Post • Esquire • Real Simple • The Sunday Times • The Guardian
Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.
2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.
2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?
Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.
I found this book because of BookTok and a new account that I just started following and man, am I ever glad I did. I told Twinsie Tenise that this account was made for us and I really can’t wait to read more books that this TikTok account recommends.
I haven’t devoured a book like I did with this one in such a long time, it was a nice change. Before I start with my review, please read the blurb if you have triggers. I don’t have any that I know of, so I went into this blind and holy crap, what a ride it was. So please please please read with caution.
This is not a romance. The author made sure to not label it as such either. I’ll also note that as of right now from what I can find anyway, that this is the first and only book this author has written. I really hope she plans on writing other books because there’s something about her writing style that I’m seriously in love with. It reached a deeper part of me that not many authors have been able to reach. I’m also an emotional reader but it takes a lot of work on the author’s part to bring out those emotions in me. This author did just that.
The book travels through past and present. We learn about Vanessa as a 15 year old girl and then again about her as a thirty-something year old woman. It takes us through her life with and without Strane. I don’t want to give away too much but if you like disturbing but beautifully written books and don’t care if it’s a romance or not, I highly recommend this book!