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Publisher Description


“[An] exceedingly complex, inventive, resourceful examination of harm and power.” —The New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice

“A lightning rod . . . brilliantly crafted.”—The Washington Post

A most anticipated book by The New York Times • USA Today • Entertainment Weekly • Marie Claire • Elle • Harper's Bazaar • Bustle • Newsweek • New York Post • Esquire •  Real Simple • The Sunday Times • The Guardian 

Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.

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. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.

Fiction & Literature
March 10
William Morrow

Customer Reviews

ClayCrzyCat ,

Yes. Yes. Yes.

This book hit every point needed. The author had a clear idea and this is beautifully written into a poetic literary masterpiece.

Superreader21 ,

Enlightening in the most heartbreaking way

This book is nothing like I’ve ever read. The character of Vanessa touches your soul in every which way by challenging what it means to be a victim. Such a topical piece that is tragic, profound, and bittersweet.

Twatsa ,

Political views don’t need to be shouted

One star from me and it’s quits simple to explain. Do radical left authors not realize conservatives love a good book too? Why the need to throw your jabs at us in a book that has nothing to do with politics? Try a different approach and focus on uniting not dividing.

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