Young Widow’s Club has a surprising premise for a YA book, but it got a lot of things right

Young Widow’s Club has a surprising premise for a YA book, but it got a lot of things right

This title caught my eye, and I couldn’t help but think this had to be mislabeled as YA.  It actually isn’t. This book is about facing the future when your plans go up in flames, and YA’s are really the ideal audience for this message.  I hesitate to say it, but if you like Nicholas Sparks and would like a break from cancer, this book offers the a strong and emotional story that you will probably enjoy.  If you hate Nicholas Sparks, as I do, you can still enjoy this emotional story without rolling your eyes and laughing inappropriately.  Four stars.


Goodreads Review

First came love, then came marriage, and then…

For seventeen-year-old Tam, running off to marry her musician boyfriend is the ideal escape from her claustrophobic high-school life on the island, and the ultimate rebellion against her father and stepmother. But when Tam becomes a widow just weeks later, the shell-shocked teen is forced to find her way forward by going back to the life she thought she’d moved beyond—even as her struggle to deal with her grief is forcing her to reinvent herself and reach out to others in ways she never imagined.

My Thoughts

This was a unique premise, and though I’m not sure how many readers can relate to the exact experience, it brings up the more universal question of what to do with yourself when your entire plan for your future is irrevocably changed.  Seventeen year old Tamsin had her entire life planned out until her young husband died unexpectedly.  It changed everything, and like any crushing blow to a young life, it left her feeling lost.  Tamsin was sort of an alien character for me because a lot of the things I value she didn’t care about even before her husband died.  I was still pretty engaged by her character, though, and this really was a Buildungsroman in the sense that her journey was about finding her place in the world.  This is a character driven book, so the pacing was designed (very well) to develop her character and the relationships she forged in the aftermath of her disaster.  I found the setting almost as interesting as Tamsin, an island populated by aging hippies and their children, where values and lifestyles created an intriguingly different experience from the one I grew up with.  Overall, this was a well written and hopeful book that I think many of my students will enjoy. Language and situations are appropriate for high school.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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