My Dark Vanessa

This novel is about the long term fallout from a relationship between 15 year old Vanessa and her forty-something English teacher. Alternating between the younger Vanessa and the adult Vanessa, we are drawn into her world as she tries to make sense of her life, legitimize the relationship, and create a version of events so as not to be another victim in the #metoo movement. This is an intense read and not for everyone but if you feel it is a good fit for your book club, I would recommend that your next book be a little more upbeat.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
Publisher: New York : HarperCollins Publishers, [2020]
Available as an audiobook: yes
Genre: Fiction - Psychological Fiction

Discussion Topics

  • consent
  • victimhood
  • agency
  • gaslighting
  • different reactions to the same trauma (Vanessa vs. Taylor)
  • Strane’s death – avoiding justice?
  • parental reactions
  • treatment of sexual assault victims by the media

Reviews and Reading Guides


TBS Roundtable

Publisher Reading Guide

Published by Janet