Pinterest tracking pixel
If you are having difficulty navigating this website please contact us at accessibility@bookofthemonth.com or 1-833-959-2686.
Oops! The page didn’t load right. Please refresh and try again.
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
Contemporary fiction

My Dark Vanessa

Debut
We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Kate Elizabeth Russell, on your first book!

by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Quick take

After a teacher is accused of sexual assault, his former student reckons with the traumatic relationship they shared.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_NonLinear

    Nonlinear timeline

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Sad

    Sad

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Literary

    Literary

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_GraphicViolence

    Graphic violence

Synopsis

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. My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.

Read less

Member thoughts

All (41)
All (41)
Love (25)
Like (16)
Dislike (0)
41 ratings
  • 61% Love
  • 39% Like
  • 0% Dislike
    Contemporary fiction
    • Once There Were Wolves
    • The Bad Muslim Discount
    • Black Cake
    • What Comes After
    • Olga Dies Dreaming
    • The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes
    • How Lucky
    • Last Summer at the Golden Hotel
    • Monster in the Middle
    • Nine Perfect Strangers
    • My Dark Vanessa
    • The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany
    • The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes
    • Honey Girl
    • In Every Mirror She's Black
    • Beautiful World, Where Are You
    • Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband?
    • Sankofa
    • The Unsinkable Greta James
    • The Verifiers
    • One Italian Summer
    • The Love of My Life
    • Where'd You Go, Bernadette?
    • The Last Story of Mina Lee
    • The Girl with the Louding Voice
    • Startup
    • The Chicken Sisters
    • A Woman Is No Man
    • The Comeback
    • Dear Edward
    • All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
    • White Ivy
    • Winter in Paradise
    • Friends and Strangers
    • That's What Frenemies Are For
    • Behold the Dreamers
    • Troubles in Paradise
    • All Adults Here
    • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
    • Beyond the Point
    • Impostor Syndrome
    • Anxious People
    • A Good Neighborhood
    • Apples Never Fall
    • The Identicals
    • The Removed
    • Queenie
    • Good Company
    • True Story
    • When We Were Vikings
    • Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk
    • This Close to Okay
    • In a Book Club Far Away
    • What Happens in Paradise
    • The Other Black Girl
    • The Mothers
    • The Kindest Lie
    • Happy & You Know It
    • The Music Shop
    • The Reckless Oath We Made
    • Modern Lovers
    • Ties That Tether
    • Big Summer
    • Little Fires Everywhere
    • The Prophets