Coutts, Alexandra Young Widows Club, 298 pages. Farrar Strauss Giroux, 2015. $17.99. Language: PG-13 (18 swears, 1 “f”); Mature Content: PG-13 (bar scenes, implied sexual activity); Violence: PG.
By the time she was 17, Tamsen had decided to drop out of high school and marry her musician boyfriend, Noah. They were both raised on Martha’s Vineyard, where they planned to live in a small house built on Noah’s parents’ property in between tours with Noah’s band. But after six short weeks, Noah died suddenly, leaving Tam floundering to find meaning in her life. One night, she tries to recapture a memory of Noah and is arrested for trespassing on private property. To avoid a stint in juvenile detention, the judge decrees that Tam needs to finish high school, return to live with her father and stepfamily, and stay out of any further trouble. She also has to attend a support group for young widows.
This book didn’t tap into the deep emotions that surround love and death to make it a compelling story. I was thoroughly disappointed that the author chose to have Tam fall for an older guy so soon after the love-of-her-life died. While I think there were some words of wisdom offered through this story about coping with grief (or helping others cope with grief), I didn’t feel invested in the characters to take away more than just a general “everyone grieves in their own way” message. I did not love the main character, and I disliked the things she did that were stupid and immature, but I was glad for her when she eventually started to understand some things about herself. The best friend character was much more interesting and honest.
HS – OPTIONAL Reviewer: JA, High School Librarian