The Mothers
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The Mothers

by

A dazzling debut novel from an exciting new voice, The Mothers is a surprising story about young love, a big secret in a small community—and the things that ultimately haunt us most. Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett’s mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition. It begins with a secret.

“All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we’d taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season.”

It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.

In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a “what if” can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.

Title:The Mothers
Edition Language:English
ISBN:0399184511
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:278 pages

    The Mothers Reviews

  • karen
    Jan 17, 2017

    i saw a comment the other day on a friend's review that was both amusing and galling: Dammit! I can't trust the reviews of people who were given the item for free! Believe it or not, you're predispose...

  • Roxane
    Jun 26, 2016

    The Mothers is an outstanding, engaging debut novel. The story follows two teenagers, Nadia and Luke, who fall in love as teenagers and how they come together and fall apart over the years. This is al...

  • Book Riot Community
    Jun 28, 2016

    I resisted this book for a while because of its title: I’m not a mother, likely never will be, and I’m not a massive fan of fictional motherhood. But I went to hear Brit Bennett read and speak at ...

  • Larry Hoffer
    Dec 02, 2016

    I'd rate this between 4 and 4.5 stars, closer to the latter.There's an incredible sense of longing that pervades Brit Bennett's terrifically compelling debut novel, The Mothers . There's longing for ...

  • Diane S ?
    Dec 18, 2016

    The entwined lives of three teens in an African American community in Southern, California. Nadia, whose mother recently committed suicide and Aubrey, whose mother has chosen her boyfriend over her, a...

  • Will Byrnes
    Feb 09, 2017

    A girl nowadays has to get nice and close to tell if her man ain’t shit and by then it might be too late. We were girls once. It’s exciting, loving someone who can never love you back. Freeing, ...

  • Elyse
    Oct 18, 2016

    I can see why this novel is getting 'buzz'. "All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we'd taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of a...

  • Maxwell
    Oct 15, 2016

    There's no denying that Brit Bennett can craft a great sentence. She's able to evoke so much emotion in a turn of phrase. But those moments are few and far between in this story of hard decisions, lif...

  • Jill
    Oct 31, 2016

    It’s never easy for me to be the lone dissenting voice in a chorus of much more respected reviewers who have lauded The Mothers as one of the finest books of 2016. Yet for me, this debut novel is a ...

  • Julie
    Dec 29, 2016

    The Mothers by Brit Bennett is a 2016 Riverhead publication. This is another one of those ‘buzz’ books I wouldn’t ordinarily read, but my curiosity got the better of me, so I checked it out of t...

About Brit Bennett

Brit Bennett

Born and raised in Southern California, Brit Bennett graduated from Stanford University and later earned her MFA in fiction at the University of Michigan, where she won a Hopwood Award in Graduate Short Fiction as well as the 2014 Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers. Her work is featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and Jezebel.The Mothers is her first nov