I received this galley in consideration for an honest review.Young Widows Club by Alexandra Coutts
Published by Macmillan on November 10, 2015
Genres: Young Adult
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
What I first realized about Tam was that she was feeling lost, even before her marriage and subsequent widowhood. Her life was defined by being Noah’s girlfriend, then wife, and helping to advance his band’s career, which did seem to be moving forward. Along the way, though, it seemed like she lost herself a little bit in the process. What I think she found after Noah’s death was that trying to recreate that sense of belonging with the same goals and same friends didn’t quite fit her life, anymore. She experienced that uncomfortable feeling of being left behind as everyone moved on. The grief support group she attends, which was one of my favorite parts of this story, brought an unusual romance into her life. There is a pretty big age difference between Tam and this guy, but I will say that the relationship did not feel exploitative in any way. Tam’s family, who were understandably worried about her, was flawed and loving, and since her father had also lost a spouse, Tam and her dad had an especially interesting and sometimes heavy road to travel.
I think some people will find this story challenging. Perhaps some if it is that we often have an idea of how a grieving person should behave, and if they don’t fit that, it bothers us. That very idea seems to be the point that this story shows the reader over and over again. There isn’t a literal “young widows club”, but I think it speaks to the shared status that Tam now has, and always will have. Honestly, I really liked this book. It was different, and honest and, as I said above, challenged the way We (the collective) view grieving, the idea of soulmates, and how to move on with your life. It was a quiet book, but one that was well worth my reading time.