Review: Young Widows Club by Alexandra Coutts

Monday, November 2, 2015

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: eARC from Netgalley
Pages: 304

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

Seventeen-year-old Tamsen Baird and her new husband, Noah, are happily married and in love and in the process of building themselves a house near Noah's parents when he suddenly dies in his sleep six weeks after they were married. Six months later, she finds herself in a bit of trouble and is ordered to finish high school (which she had recently dropped out of), move back in with her father and stepmother, and to attend a young widows grief counseling group. She is struggling to overcome her grief and make a life for herself without Noah, but she finds that the routine of school helps and she reconnects with an old friend and makes some new ones in her 'young widows club'. She might think that she is coming to terms with the death of her husband, but she isn't as healed as she thinks she is.

I liked Tam. She has been through a lot. I think that she has had it really rough not only because she can't get over the death of Noah, but also because she never truly got over the death of her mother when she was ten. She is struggling to make a new normal for herself without Noah and without his band that has moved on without her. She reconnects with her childhood friend, Lula Bee, when she goes back to school, but she has to work to earn her friendship back. She tries really hard to move on, but things just don't always seem to go her way and she can't find herself able to get over her grief.

There is a little bit of romance in this book. Tam starts to hang out with the only guy in her widows group. They kinda know what the other one is going through so they can really talk about it one on one and that seems to help them cope with their grief a little bit. He seems like a good guy. He's sweet.

I'm not a giant fan of contemporary, but I have gotten pretty good at picking out ones that work for me. For awhile I wasn't sure that this was a good pick, but I ended up liking it. I have been fortunate in my life not to have lost anyone close to me, but I really felt sad for Tam. She tries so hard and she doesn't know how to go on without Noah and I cried a little bit for her. I absolutely can't imagine what it would be like to lose your first love and husband at seventeen. It makes me sad just to think about it. This wasn't a super fast paced book, I didn't feel, and some of it felt kinda slow. Some of her young widows club meetings felt like they just dragged on for me, but it kept me interested. The grief counselor was quite the interesting character.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I would probably recommend this book to people. I don't know what I can relate this book to so I would know who to recommend it to, but I think if you like books that give you feels you might like this one. 


  1. Thanks for this review. I wound up skipping this one because I didn't think I could deal with another sad book in my life and I didn't love Coutts' debut. I'll have to file this away as one to possibly recommend to teens at work though.

    1. It's probably a good thing you skipped this one if you didn't want a sad book in your life. I thought it was sad, but I really liked it! I don't necessarily love how it ended, but I really liked this book! I think it would be a good one to recommend to teens!


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