Published by Dial Press on February 27th 2018
Genres: Adult, Fiction, General, Mystery/Suspense
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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.
I received this book for free. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Over my lifetime, I’ve read hundreds of books that had a profound effect on me. They’ve made me think. They’ve made me feel. They’ve made me reflect. This thought provoking novel made me feel a gamut of emotions and reflect upon the evils of the world existing around every corner.
Venus is the all American pre-teen. She loved to gossip with her friends, had a lust for learning, and loved her little brother to the moon and back. Her life is shattered by an act she commits turning the thirteen-year-old into a criminal. The specifics of Venus’ crime are not disclosed in full until later in the novel. Through her first person point of view and the third person point of view of several other characters, the story of the tragedy unfolds.
One aspect of the novel that almost over shadows the crime is the disappearance of Venus’ mentally impaired younger brother, Leo. The main story is told over a period of six years as we learn the fate of Venus, Leo, and several other characters. While there is so much pain experienced by Venus and her family, what ultimately holds the bonds of this story together is the love they share for each other despite the horrific agony they’ve fought through.
I cannot fully express my love for Lloyd’s storytelling ability. As an adult and having gone through the trials of adolescence, I could understand the fear and anger that coursed through Venus. She was betrayed by someone who was entrusted with her safety and in her young mindset didn’t foresee the ramifications of her actions. The ripples created from one second changed the lives of Venus and her family forever.
As a debut, Lloyd excels above and beyond any first time author. While this poignant story has come to a beautiful conclusion, I would love to read more from this author. Her ability to place you in the mind of the character is the tell of a magnificent author. Lloyd has struck gold with the story of Venus Black and I look forward to her doing it again.