Thank you so much Penguin Random House for sending me a copy of My Name Is Venus Black in exchange for an honest review. This debut novel was emotional, full of second chances and forgiveness, I really enjoyed it and gave it four stars!
“The stupidest little thing we do can alter the future for so many people. That means everything you ever did, you almost didn’t do.”
Venus Black is a straitlaced A student fascinated by the study of astronomy—until the night she commits a shocking crime that tears her family apart and ignites a media firestorm. Venus refuses to talk about what happened or why, except to blame her mother. Adding to the mystery, Venus’s developmentally challenged younger brother, Leo, goes missing.
More than five years later, Venus is released from prison with a suitcase of used clothes, a fake identity, and a determination to escape her painful past. Estranged from her mother, and with her beloved brother still missing, she sets out to make a fresh start in Seattle, skittish and alone. But as new people enter her orbit—including a romantic interest and a young girl who seems like a mirror image of her former lost self—old wounds resurface, and Venus realizes that she can’t find a future while she’s running from her past.
This is a completely character driven book. Some characters are much easier to connect with than others and while I know this was technically Venus’ story, I really found it to be more Leo and Tessa’s story. I liked to hear what was going on with them and see how their story developed more than other characters. But thats ok! It didn’t make any of the other characters stories bad, I personally just connected more with their story more than the others.
I also really enjoyed the writing. I would have never thought this was Heather’s first book. The writing was fluid and easy to follow and just very well done, it was smart. This book is marked as young adult, but I think it could even be adult contemporary fiction. The writing didn’t feel young adult to me.
There are several hard topics covered in this book as well and I think its important to note them for future readers, such as kidnapping and sexual harassment. As I said though Heather’s writing is amazing and she covers these topics in a respectful and genuine way.
I would certainly recommend this read for anyone wanting a good emotional contemporary read. It was quick and pulls you in and I think so many people are going to love these characters!