Book Review: My Dark Vanessa

By Kate Elizabeth Russell

Ebook: 373 pages
Mi Rating: ★★★ (3)

How do you write a review on a book that is about a teacher that essentially grooms a 15-year-old girl?

My Dark Vanessa is just that. Told in the voice of Vanessa, past (her 15-year-old self), and present (30ish-year-old self).

In 2000, young, and naive 15-year-old Vanessa gets tangled in an affair with her 42-year-old Literature teacher Jacob Strange.

Flash forward to 2017, Strange has been accused of sexual assault by a former student.

This student reaches out to Vanessa. Now Vanessa must decide, does she remain silent as she firmly believes that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or does she redefine the events of her past.

Is this an easy read? No
Is it an important read? Yes

It’s important in the sense of how easily grooming (ephebophilia*) can take place in teens.

(*Ephebophilia is the primary sexual interest in mid-to-late adolescents, generally ages 15 to 19.)

Having a teen daughter of the same age, you can quickly see how lines can get blurred, and what you think is love, isn’t really love at all.

Mi reading challenge – Debut novel

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