It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother's recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor's son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it's not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully manoeuvre, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.


What a great debut! For an author to have mastered their voice and style of writing so well right from the start is just awe inspiring and so impressive.

The writing is just beautiful. It's poetic, illustrative and soothing in some way and I found the pages and chapters just flowed so well with each other. Bennett has a unique talent of painting a picture so vividly so early on in the book and her writing allows our imagination to run with this and fill in the gaps as the story progresses.

One thing I loved about the book is that it was realistic and unapologetic about it. Bennett addresses some key topics like abortion, grief and loss and doesn't censor the emotions or try to sugarcoat the pain that many of the characters are experiencing. I think we need to be more comfortable with reading uncomfortable topics like these because the harsh reality is that these things are happening every day and the more we accept this and openly talk about it, the less people will find the need to hide and allow these experiences to dig a dark hole.

I thought Nadia's relationship with her parents was so well portrayed. It was extremely raw and you could so clearly feel the loss and love she had for her mother and the somewhat awkward and shy relationship she had with her father. Once again, Bennett lays all of this on the table and doesn't try to hide away from the sadness that encapsulates some parent-child relationships.

I thought the first person narrative of the elusive Mothers was so interesting. Nadia and her best friend Aubrey no longer have their mothers so knowing that this community of women have always been keeping an eye on them and following their life story was an interesting addition to the overall story.

I found the love triangle a little predictable but it was still a lot more real and deep than the typical ones we read about in so many books. There is a lot of secrecy and hidden feelings that surround Nadia, Aubrey and Luke and the level of destruction it causes in some ways adds to the emotional rollercoaster that you embark when reading this book.

So overall, I loved this book! Dare I say I preferred it to The Vanishing Half! It's so real and so beautiful and just such an amazing debut. I can't wait to see what else Bennett releases in the future.


Beautifully written




“Suffering pain is what made you a woman. Most of the milestones in a woman’s life were accompanied by pain, like her first time having sex or birthing a child. For men, it was all orgasms and champagne.”


Nadia, I found her annoying and selfish at times but as I say in a lot of reviews, these kind of qualities make me love characters more. They are like real people who make mistakes and you can connect with them on a deeper level.




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