The mothers

a novel

278 pages

English language

Published April 6, 2016

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4 stars (10 reviews)

"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 …

5 editions

Review of 'The mothers' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I seem to keep reading books about women’s personal traumas, and how they interweave. I often feel like I’m watching a train wreck with popcorn, or I feel straight-up yucky having seen intimate situations that feel hyperreal and like no one’s benefitted from the experience (neither the characters or the reader.) The Mothers had a genuineness that I wish was in the others (especially Little Fires Everywhere). That’s what makes this book head and shoulders above the others.

The ending is neither contrived nor left messy. That’s a hard thing to nail when the book is examining messy parts of people’s lives.

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  • Coming of Age
  • Teenage pregnancy
  • Triangles (Interpersonal relations)
  • Literary
  • FICTION / Contemporary Women
  • FICTION / Coming of Age
  • African American teenagers
  • Fiction
  • Choice (Psychology)
  • Contemporary Women
  • FICTION / Literary


  • Southern California