The Mothers
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 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.

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The Mothers Reviews

  • Suzanne Leopold
    Oct 22, 2016

    Suzanne Leopold

    The story centers around three young adults growing up in Southern California.Nadia Turner is a seventeen year old senior in high school. She has been accepted to study at the University of Michigan. She is grieving the death of her mother who committed suicide six months ago. Nadia be...

  • Rachel León
    Oct 21, 2016

    Rachel León

    This debut novel has gotten a lot of attention, all well deserved. It focuses on Nadia Turner, a beautiful seventeen-year-old whose mother recently committed suicide. She hooks up with her pastor's son, twenty-one-year-old Luke, and finds herself pregnant. She tells him she's going to ...

  • Cindy
    Oct 20, 2016


    The Mothers is a well written and honest story about decisions made and and how the consequences affect yourself and loved ones. The Mothers are an older group of church women who see all, tell all, guess, speculate and tell the story. The story of Nadia and Luke is complicated and the...

  • Elyse
    Oct 18, 2016


    I can see why this novel is getting 'buzz'. "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 unriped secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season. But we...

  • Jennifer
    Oct 17, 2016


    “The book, I think, is about this central question of how girls grow into women when the female figures who are supposed to usher you into womanhood aren’t there. How girls come of age with that absence. And it’s about how communities are shaped by loss, this thing I ...

  • Ifeyinwa
    Oct 16, 2016


    Y'all I'm conflicted... I really liked this novel- the writing, the overall plot and its lack of a clear-cut ending. At one point, I couldn't even put the book down. But, I felt somewhat disappointed by the predictable path this novel took. There were a couple melodramatic scenes that ...

  • Maxwell
    Oct 15, 2016


    There's no denying that Brit Bennett can craft a great sentence. She's able to evoke so much emotion in a turn of phrase. But those moments are few and far between in this story of hard decisions, lifelong consequences, and the unbreakable bonds that humans share.I felt like this book ...

  • Karin
    Oct 15, 2016


    I was completely swept up in this very sad, affecting story about three young people who met through a church. I really don't want to say any more about the plot--I went into this story mostly blind and glad for it. But the relationships in this story--familial, romantic, and platonic-...

  • Monet
    Oct 15, 2016


    I've read some great books this year, but this was one of the best. I related to Nadia so much it was scary. The ending fell a little for me, but only because the world was so masterfully crafted I don't know if there was a more graceful way to exit it. Bennett is a writer to watch! ...

  • Jessica Weil
    Oct 14, 2016

    Jessica Weil

    In her elegant debut novel, Brit Bennett explores the concept of motherhood in its many forms, centered around a complicated friendship between two teenage girls.Still grieving after her mother’s suicide, 17-year-old Nadia Turner develops a tenuous relationship with Luke, the loca...