Books Contemporary YA

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Russell [book review]

My Dark Vanessa book

Book: My Dark Vaness

Author: Kate Elizabeth Russell

Published: March 10, 2020

Publisher: William Morror

Genre: Adult Contemporary

Pages: 373

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My Dark Vanessa book summary:

My Dark Vanessa is an adult contemporary novel that follows Vanessa. It goes through different stages of her life. One where she’s in high school, the next in college, and the next out of college. It’s about how Vanessa was groomed at the age of fifteen by her English teacher. She knows that what she’s doing is wrong and illegal but she doesn’t care. She wants this. But is it still considered rape if she wants it and asks for it?

My Dark Vanessa
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Rating: 3 out of 5.

What I thought of My Dark Vanessa

So I have mixed feelings about My Dark Vanessa. This is such an important book but there are parts of me that just didn’t like it. Why is it an important book? It’s because this book shows what grooming and manipulation look like. Just because you agree to something doesn’t make the situation right and doesn’t mean you weren’t taken advantage of. This is something that Vanessa doesn’t really seem to grasp.

The Characters

So, I kind of has mixed feelings about Vanessa. Don’t get me wrong I understand how she feels and how she reacts is a normal reaction from those who go through this sort of situation. I just kind of wish she realized sooner that what was happening was wrong. She probably knew deep down but I think it would have helped her heal if she would have come to terms with what happened. 

I know I know…Everyone comes to terms with things differently and at different times. I don’t want to diminish victims and how they choose to come to terms with things. I just wish it was something that didn’t bother me so much. It’s not so much so that it took her a while to heal. I get that. We all heal at different times and we have to figure out what works for us. But I do wish she would have acknowledged much sooner what her teacher did. A part of me kinda wishes that she cared more that he was doing it to others and that she didn’t diminish that he didn’t do anything and they were overreacting. 

I do kind of feel like a part of me feels this way towards her because I’m not exactly knowledgeable about the subject and how different people can act in different ways. It’s understandable that she would act differently but just the idea of her thinking it was consensual at the age of fifteen just baffles me.   

The only other character that bothers me is Vanessa’s mother. I won’t state why because it’s kind of a spoiler to the story. If you read the book I think you’ll find out when and where I end up losing respect for her mom. She’s a really good mother through most of the story but does something completely stupid!

The Plot

So, I think the plot and how it was written is probably the reason why, overall, I just didn’t care for this book. The only emotion it really evokes out of me is small amounts of anger towards Vanessa and huge amounts of anger towards people that were contacting the other character that got raped. I feel like the story doesn’t do Vanessa justice. I kind of wish My Dark Vanessa would explain why her mom did what she did. Why does it take Vanessa so long to realize what the teacher did to her? Her doing this makes me feel like she disregards rape victims and feels like they are overdramatic and liars. I wish this was done differently.

The only feeling that really came out of this book is anger and it didn’t happen all that often. I didn’t really feel bad or sorry for Vanessa and that really had nothing to do with her. It was completely how the story was written. 

Am I the only one who feels this way?

So, I give this book three stars out of five because I really don’t think it was all that great like everyone was saying. Yes, it does bring up a good topic. It’s something I feel like every girl needs to be aware of. But I do feel like parts were written well and others not so much.

I get that it’s the point but I actually found this book depressing. After finishing, it put me in a bit of a funk. Hopefully, I’m not the only one who wound up this way.

If you enjoyed this review then make sure to check out my review for The F List.

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