Book Review

My Dark Vanessa


Vanessa’s high school teacher reaches out when he is accused of sexul abuse by another one of her classmates. He asks her to be on his side and she accepts because they were in love. Weren’t they? 

My Thoughts 

This story hit me so strongly in the gut that I still have acid reflux from it. It was haunting, devastating, so upsetting, and just awful, but such a necessary read. It was not at all of what I expected and what it turned out to be was so much worse than I thought. I mean this all sounds like I didn’t like the book or the story, but this story was definitely not a fairytale. 

Not only was it just all so depressing for me because taking advantage of a young girl is terrible, but it was even worse for me because it was a teacher. JUST NO! I’m a teacher and this is just so wrong for me! This situation is not okay and I can’t imagine ever EVER putting my student in harm’s way like that. I love my students, but NOT LIKE THAT!?! This story was a double whammy for me, BUT I thought this story was so desperately honest and provides such a different perspective to such a unfortunately common story. 

I’ve been extremely fortunate to have never been in the position, but through this author’s amazing writing, I almost felt like it happened to me and that was TRULY TERRIFYING! The story was told through three different timelines of the main character. One timeline takes us through the sexual abuse, one timeline when Vanessa starts adulthood, and the last timeline when her teacher is accused. The book alternates through the timelines that adds such an amazing mystery and intrigue to the story. The writing of this book was just so amazing and I am in awe of it. The author is so clever and she told such an addicting and powerful tale that would make anyone cringe. 

Vanessa is such a complex and dynamic character and I was so in awe of her and her story. Her story is something that I’ve never even thought of before and it truly SHOOK me. There was so much gaslighting and pressure that this poor girl was put through and it made me so angry. She had no idea what to think or how to act. She just wanted to be loved and it was just SO SADDDDD! Vanessa is struggling to find herself and who she is without him in her life and omg it broke my heart. THE GASLIGHTING WAS SO REAL. I don’t know how she didn’t go crazy from it all. She honestly handled it like a champ. 

The worst parts to read that broke my soul were the therapist conversations with Vanessa. One line that really threw me was when she said, “Because if it isn’t a love story, then what was it?” OMG MY HEART IS ACHING STILL FROM THAT LINE! This line just made everything about Vanessa’s behavior make sense. 

Overall, this book was amazing and such a wonderfully haunting piece of literature. EVERYONE SHOULD READ IT! 

My Book Rating

5/5 Book World 

5/5 Plot 

5/5 Characters

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Book Details

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell 

Genre: Contemporary Fiction 

Published on March 10, 2020 by William Morrow 

Copy Read: Hardcover 

Pages: 373 

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