Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Format: eARC (from Netgalley)
Page Count: 304
Seventeen-year-old Tamsen Baird didn’t set out to become a teenage widow. All she did was fall in love and get married. But when her nineteen-year-old husband, Noah, dies suddenly in the middle of the night, her whole life changes. Now Tam is forced to return to the existence she thought she’d left behind—beginning with moving back home and finishing high school. But in order to overcome her loss and find her way forward, she’ll need to reinvent herself and reach out to others in ways she never imagined. She’ll need to open herself up to living—and even loving—again.
I think the synopsis of this book can possibly mislead a person into thinking it is some type of mystery, but it's definitely not, nor does it need to be. The focus of the book is not on how or when Tamsen's (the main character) husband dies, but how it affects her life and how she chooses to move forward from it. I have to say I enjoyed the direction the book took and it felt like a thoughtful contemporary.
Tamsen decides to get married before she even finishes high school to Noah. Noah was a talented and caring young character who was the lead singer in a band, and his sudden death shortly after marrying Tamsen takes Tamsen's life for a turn. Initially, Tamsen dropped out of high school to help her hubby's band but later on has to finish high school and attend a Young Widow's Club in order to slowly try to piece her life back together.
This book is told from Tamsen's point of view. We don't actually get to learn much about Noah's character on our own because he is dead by the 2nd chapter, and what we do learn about him comes solely from Tamsen's perception and memories of their relationship. It was very interesting and unique to follow a widow character who is barely 18 and attends a therapy group with people who are all quite older than her. With this being said, all the members share a connection through their grief and hopes of moving forward in life. I really enjoyed how this book explored the steps of grief people feel after a loss and questioned whether you can ever truly fix what is broken. This matter was handled well and not overdone.
By now you are probably thinking, "Well that sounds rather dreary," but that's actually not true. Once again, Coutts handled the topic eloquently and the book never actually felt dreary or depressing. Also, all the characters held their own traits and personalities well, but also developed throughout the book. Their reactions to experiences felt authentic, but unfortunately even with this, I did sometimes feel a disconnect with Tamsen where I felt sorry, yet could not empathize much with her (if you know what I mean). There is one scene in the book where she gets very mad at a supporting character and acts as if the world is coming to an end, and I was just thinking to myself, "I don't know who she thinks she is yelling at, but she needs to have a seat."
Overall Young Widow's Club is a nice, reflective contemporary novel with a very small hint of romance (kind of surprised me to be honest). I enjoyed my time reading it, and it's great for those who want a simple contemporary novel that is not romance based or too out of the ordinary.