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Adelaide by Genevieve Wheeler
Contemporary fiction



We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Genevieve Wheeler, on your first book!

by Genevieve Wheeler
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Quick take

This raw, wrenching exploration of a toxic relationship and its aftermath doubles as an ode to the power of self-love.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_HeavyRead

    Heavy read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Sad


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FemaleFriendship

    Female friendships

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_NoQuotationMarks

    No quotation marks


For twenty-six-year-old Adelaide Williams, an American living in dreamy London, meeting Rory Hughes was like a lightning bolt out of the blue: this charming Englishman was The One she wasn’t even looking for.

Is it enough?

Does he respond to texts? Honor his commitments? Make advance plans? Sometimes, rarely, and no, not at all. But when he shines his light on her, the world makes sense, and Adelaide is convinced that, in his heart, he’s fallen just as deeply as she has. Then, when Rory is rocked by an unexpected tragedy, Adelaide does everything in her power to hold him together—even if it means losing herself in the process.

When love asks too much of us, how do we find the strength to put ourselves first?

With unflinching honesty and heart, this relatable debut from a fresh new voice explores grief and mental health while capturing the timeless nature of what it’s like to be young and in love—with your friends, with your city, and with a person who cannot, will not, love you back.

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Content warning

This book contains scenes depicting sexual assault and suicidal ideation, and contains mentions of self harm and emotional abuse.

Why I love it

I was totally stunned by this scintillating debut novel written with so much insight and compassion. Adelaide opens with its protagonist at rock bottom. Twenty-six-year-old Adelaide Williams lies in a hospital bed after a failed suicide attempt. When a nurse asks her a series of questions to try and pinpoint what happened, the novel jumps back to 2018 to tell the story that leads Adelaide to this devastating and epiphanic moment.

A young American expat living in London, Adelaide is enjoying a life of close friendships and exciting career prospects when she meets Rory Hughes, a man who instantly charms her with his British accent and “Disney Prince” looks. The only problem is, Rory treats her terribly, quickly proving himself to be evasive and noncommittal. The epitome of an emotionally unavailable man. But loyal and generous to a fault, Adelaide wholeheartedly believes that Rory will change, that he’ll evolve beyond his selfishness and trauma to reciprocate the love she gives him so freely in spades.

Adelaide handles its characters and themes with so much nuance and care—it’s a raw and vulnerable examination of unrequited love that is poignant, relatable, and ultimately hopeful. Readers will fly through this gorgeously written page turner—especially those who’ve had their heart broken by someone who never really asked for it in the first place.

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