My Name Is Venus Black by Heather Lloyd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A surprisingly engrossing first novel told from several points of view with characters you come to care about and root for throughout the book. Highly recommended.
FIRST SENTENCE: "My name is Venus Black because my dad was Joseph Black, and because on March 4, 1966, my very pregnant mother, Inez, just so happened to be watching a TV special about the Space Race when her water broke."
THE STORY The problem with reviews is that too many details spoil the magical discovery of a wonderful story so I am going to keep this brief.
Before, Venus was a A+ student who loved the stars. After, her life would never be the same.
Separated from her autistic beloved brother Leo and furious with her mother, Venus embarks on a new life. She is resourceful but scared and angry.
WHAT I THOUGHT: After reading some other reviews I was surprised to learn that My Name is Venus Black is considered for young adults. One person even suggested it was more appropriate for middle school students. I disagree. I'm 72 and adored this book. Judging the level of a book based on the age of the characters seems wrong to me. Certainly this is a coming of age story. The characters, although sometimes difficult, are (mostly) lovable and redeemable.The various threads cross and weave together to make a satisfying ending. I often say that I am looking for something different and special in a book. My Name is Venus drew me right in. And in the end, healing happens, family happens, love happens.
The writing is crisp and clean and the reader can easily follow the various points of view.
BOTTOM LINE: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Reminded me a bit of The Language of Flowers and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.
Disclaimer: An electronic copy of this book was provided to me by NetGalley/The Dial Press/Random House for a fair review.
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: The Dial Press (February 27, 2018)
HEATHER LLOYD, who has spent many years working as an editor and writing coach, lives with her husband in New York City. My Name Is Venus Black is her first novel. (From her website.)