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Book Review: My Dark Vanessa

Book Review: My Dark Vanessa


My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Published: 23 January 2020 (4th Estate)

“I think we’re very similar, Nessa,” he whispers. “From the way you write, I can tell you’re a dark romantic like me. You like dark things.”

Vanessa Wye is a teacher’s pet. Or a ‘classroom pet’ as Mr. Noyes remarks when he catches 15 year old Vanessa and 45 year old Jacob Strane together. The comment given with laugh that might as well have been a nudge and a wink. In her first term at a new prep school, away from home, and without anyone to talk to, Vanessa is struggling to keep up. And she’s just lost her best friend to a boy, of all things. But her English teacher really gets her. He gives her books to read. Books that seem to hold special relevance, that resonate with the way she’s feeling, that give her new ways of thinking about herself. Books like Nabokov’s Lolita, an immediate favourite. He makes her feel special. And if sometimes she’s not entirely certain about the things that happen between them, if they maybe go a bit further than she was expecting…well, that’s ok because afterwards she’s almost definitely sure she wanted it to happen. That’s what he tells her anyway. And she believes him, because they’re in love…

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