My Dark Vanessa [electronic resource] / Kate Elizabeth Russell

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    • Abstract:
      Summary: ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY'S BREAKOUT AUTHOR TO WATCH IN 2020 "Brilliant and stunning . . . an absolute must read." – GILLIAN FLYNN "A well-constructed package of dynamite." – STEPHEN KING 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.
    • Notes:
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  • Citations
    • ABNT:
      RUSSELL, K. E. My Dark Vanessa. [electronic resource]. [s. l.]: HarperCollins, 2020. ISBN 9780062941527. Disponível em: Acesso em: 26 maio. 2020.
    • AMA:
      Russell KE. My Dark Vanessa. [Electronic Resource]. HarperCollins; 2020. Accessed May 26, 2020.
    • APA:
      Russell, K. E. (2020). My Dark Vanessa. [electronic resource]. HarperCollins.
    • Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date:
      Russell, Kate Elizabeth. 2020. My Dark Vanessa. [Electronic Resource]. HarperCollins.
    • Harvard:
      Russell, K. E. (2020) My Dark Vanessa. [electronic resource]. HarperCollins. Available at: (Accessed: 26 May 2020).
    • Harvard: Australian:
      Russell, KE 2020, My Dark Vanessa. [electronic resource], HarperCollins, viewed 26 May 2020, .
    • MLA:
      Russell, Kate Elizabeth. My Dark Vanessa. [Electronic Resource]. HarperCollins, 2020. EBSCOhost,
    • Chicago/Turabian: Humanities:
      Russell, Kate Elizabeth. My Dark Vanessa. [Electronic Resource]. HarperCollins, 2020.
    • Vancouver/ICMJE:
      Russell KE. My Dark Vanessa. [electronic resource] [Internet]. HarperCollins; 2020 [cited 2020 May 26]. Available from:


Booklist Reviews 2019 November #1

In the year 2000, high-school sophomore Vanessa returns to her Maine boarding school, Browick, still deflated from last year's falling-out with her best friend. Encouraged to pick up an extracurricular activity, she joins the creative-writing club helmed by her English teacher, Mr. Strane. Soon he is just Strane, a fortysomething man who compliments her poems and the color of her hair, introduces her to Lolita and Poe's Annabel Lee, and touches her knee when no one's looking. She falls for him, hard. In the other time line in Russell's debut, it's 2017, Vanessa is working in a hotel, and a younger Browick alum has just publicly accused Strane of sexual misconduct while she was a student. A bomb dropped halfway through the novel impacts both story lines significantly. Narrating in present tense, Vanessa is easy to sympathize with, and her story is hard to stop reading. On another level, Russell realistically portrays how this sort of thing could happen—Strane's diabolical manipulation, Vanessa's confused love—even as Vanessa can't see it or understand how it hurts her. Empathetic, incendiary, and discussable.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: With dozens of international rights sold and a massive publicity campaign, this is being touted as a defining novel of the #MeToo era. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2019 September

DEBUT At age 15, Vanessa had a relationship with her 42-year-old English teacher, Jacob Strane, who claims to love her for her emotional intelligence and creative writing abilities. At least that's what she tells us nearly two decades later, when another student has called out Strane for their sexual activity and starts a social media firestorm. It also starts Vanessa thinking. She had always believed that she and Strane shared true love and defends him now against this student's so-called lies, but what really happened? Vanessa must decide whether she was a victim or willing participant, which of course raises the question of how willing you can be at age 15 in an unequal power relationship. As Vanessa slowly unpacks what happened, we see her youthful and ongoing denial, the impact of events on her still unsure self, how sedulous Strane was in drawing her in, how unabashed he remains, how much she needed and still needs to believe they had something special, and how she still takes Strane as a measure. VERDICT A deeply relevant debut that the author has been writing since age 16, drawing on her own experiences, and the reading enlightens even as it chills. [See Prepub Alert, 7/1/19.]—Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., Grand Junction, CO

Copyright 2019 Library Journal.

PW Reviews 2019 September #3

Russell offers readers an introspective narrative that fully captures the complexity and necessity of the #MeToo movement in her powerful debut. In the year 2000, Vanessa Wye is a lonely sophomore at Maine's Browick boarding school. The academically gifted 15-year-old professes not to mind her solitude, especially when her 42-year-old English teacher, Jacob Strane, begins to pay attention to her, remarking on her red hair and fashion sense, and lending her some of his favorite books—including Nabokov's Lolita. Almost before Vanessa realizes what's happening, the two have embarked on a sexual relationship, and Vanessa is convinced she's been singled out as someone truly special—until, under threat of exposure, their relationship begins to go off the rails. Seventeen years later, Vanessa is still occasionally in contact with Jacob, but their relationship has grown tense, as another former student has gone public about his inappropriate advances. Russell's novel, alternating between past and present, presents a damning indictment of sexual predation, as she starkly elucidates the ways in which abuse robbed Vanessa not only of her childhood but also of her own once-promising future. It also prompts readers to interrogate their own assumptions about victimhood, consent, and agency. This is a frighteningly sharp debut. Agent: Hillary Jacobson, ICM Partners. (Jan.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.