TITLE: My Dark Vanessa
AUTHOR: Kate Elizabeth Russell
PUBLISHER: William Morrow
PUB. YEAR: 2020
Rating - 5/5
Vanessa Wye is a lonely 15 y/old scholarship student at a boarding school in Maine. She's never even had a boyfriend so when her English teacher, 42 y/old Jacob Strane begins to show interest in her, initially by complimenting her writing ability she's thrilled. Little does she realize it's more than her writing ability that interests him. Drawing her in first with poetry and stories by Nabokov, she is soon lured into a sexual relationship that is about to ruin her life.
The story begins in 2017 in the midst of the #metoo movement when Vanessa, now 32, learns via social media that her former teacher has been accused of abuse by another student. Vanessa can't believe that this is true of her first love, a man she's been obsessed with for years.
Written from Vanessa's POV and alternating from her days as a student and the present where she's living an unfulfilled life without realizing she's been victimized. Vanessa comes across as a sympathetic character while at other times she seems confused or unreliable. This story was unputdownable and tough to read at times but, it was also an amazing debut. It was easy to see how a girl like Vanessa might fall victim to a pedophile by just wanting to believe that she was loved. A wonderful character study, suspense-filled debut novel that is sure to be on my Top 10 list for 2020.
Have you read it? NOTE: Possible trigger warnings for anyone who may have been abused.