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The Mothers

Bennett, Brit. Book - 2016 Adult Book / Fiction / General / Bennett, Brit None on shelf 9 requests on 3 copies Community Rating: 4 out of 5

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It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken beauty. Mourning her 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. It's not serious-- until the pregnancy. As years move by, Nadia, Luke, and her friend Aubrey are living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently?


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Everyone learns & grows submitted by Susan4Pax -prev. sueij- on July 15, 2017, 10:01am Overall, I quite liked this debut novel. It is primarily the story of three late-teens as they grow to be young adults, and how their histories and the choices they make one summer affect who they become. There is a strong and well-developed cast of surrounding characters, including parents/ stand-in parents, church leaders, and the Greek chorus of the church mothers. No one in this story is perfect, and I think that is one of the things I liked most about it. Everyone is true in their humanity. People learn and grow and struggle. They find their place, make decisions, live with them a while, and find their place again.

The author did eventually lose me a bit when two of the three young people developed a relationship that did not feel particularly likely or authentic to me. That always needs powerful writing, and it didn't quite hold up. But I'm glad I heard the author on NPR, and very glad I read the story. I didn't think it wasn't a YA book, despite having young people as the focus. It dove deep into who we are and what we choose. That stands up for any audience.

Really liked it submitted by selujules on July 26, 2018, 1:27pm I really liked this book. The characters were well-developed and the story was rich. I agree with the above reviewer that the multiple perspectives reminds us that no one is perfect. I ended up rooting for everyone.

Kind of sad submitted by annikajoyce on August 21, 2020, 7:47pm This book is worth reading. It's well written and deals with important life topics (e.g., family, friendships, reproductive health, abortion, infertility...). I didn't love the ending, but that's just my personal opinion! I'm still happy I read it.

A diamond in the rough submitted by izzy42 on August 28, 2021, 2:36pm Reading this book, you can definitely tell it's the author's first book! However, the story is multi-layered, nuanced, and poignant, completely justifying the acclaim the book has earned. Each of the three protagonists has moments and struggles that are deeply sympathetic, and others that are painfully selfish. I wished the side characters had been more developed, such as Mo and Kasey and Robert, all of whom were somewhat 2D. The author portrays the wrenching decision Nadia makes to have an abortion, and while other characters condemn the action the book itself is a bit more empathetic. However, the secrets that take the entire book to unfold end up leaving cracks in a community that spread much wider than anyone might expect. The duality of the title is a nice touch.

Fantastic work of fiction submitted by bcartm01 on June 21, 2022, 8:15pm I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I would highly recommend it.

Very inventive premise submitted by clk.9123 on August 21, 2022, 5:10pm As my title states I found this to be quite inventive, and fascinating. It was super original and had a lot of layers and nuances. If you’re looking for perspectives that hit differently than your own, this would be a top pick and recommendation. I think there’s a lot of potential for engaging discussion over this book, and I would say book clubs would love this one.

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New York : Riverhead Books, 2016.
Year Published: 2016
Description: 278 pages ; 24 cm.
Language: English
Format: Book


African American teenagers -- Fiction.
Teenage pregnancy -- Fiction.
Triangles (Interpersonal relations) -- Fiction.
Choice (Psychology) -- Fiction.
Psychological fiction.