Following her mother's suicide, 17-year-old Nadia Turner looks for love and solace in the preacher's son, Luke Sheppard. Smart, driven, and rebellious, she finds herself in place she never expected: the local abortion clinic. Abandoned by Luke, she attempts to move on while holding her secret close, carefully side-stepping her still-grieving father. She clings to her new best friend, Aubrey, and plans for her future at college and in law school. When Nadia moves away, Aubrey grows closer to Luke, unaware of his history with Nadia. The three try to move forward but are continually pulled back to that summer, haunted by the choices made, the secrets kept, and the lives changed beyond just their own.
The Mothers is an emotional and incredibly well-written book that examines how difficult choices and lasting griefs can stay with us. The story is never overtaken by the many "issues" it covers, which is refreshing. Bennett is a young debut novelist with clear insight into that tentative time between childhood and adulthood when we all must choose how we let the past define our future.
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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.