Review: Young Widows Club by Alexandra Coutts

Thursday, November 19, 2015
Title:  Young Widows Club
Author: Alexandra Coutts
Genre: contemporary
Series: N/A
Pages: 304
Published: November 10 2015
Source: publishers via NetGalley for review
Rating: 3.5/5

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.

Alexandra Coutts rebounds from her debut of 2013 (the wayward post-apocalyptic Tumble & Fall) with a nuanced and well-rounded contemporary portrayal of young love and young grief. Most stories don't start with the main character's ostensible love interest dying, but Young Widows Club does. Coutts' novel is about the unexpected and her book starts out on the same page as her main character. It can be honest and brash, loud and full of understandable emotion; it's a vast improvement from her last novel.

Main character Tam thought she had her life laid out from when she was a teenager. She thought she knew where she was going and how she was going to get there and who with. Tam was wrong. We don't get to see her in the Before of Noah's death --Young Widows Club is concerned with the fallout of finding love and then losing it. It's far from your typical YA contemporary set in a high school. It's not always an easy book -- all the characters are experiencing or dealing with major loss -- and it's not exactly a shippy book, either. There are a lot of emotions in the novel (sympathy, empathy being the two chief ones) but they mostly deal with catharsis, acceptance, and grief counseling.

I loved the focus on how effective therapy can be when used in the novel. It's shown in an honest light -- because group doesn't work for all people or for all needs -- but it's so refreshing to see this in a YA novel.  The conversation about mental health is one that is rarely found in YA lit so it was very appreciated in Young Widows Club. For most of the novel, Tam is working on herself. On being a better version than she has been, on getting back into school and finding life after Noah.  The group and other characters show other sides of love and grief and while they don't have Tam's nuance or Colin's charm, they're moderately well-rounded. 

Young Widows Club has a deft touch for sensitive issues. I thought Coutts handled the plot well, though the inclusion of a romance seemed both too soon and just unneeded for the characters involved. That said, their scenes do have chemistry and charm. I just wish the novel had continued to focus on Tam's personal journey a little more before finding her a new love interest. 



  1. At first glance I was tempted to bypass this, but it actually sounds pretty good. Thanks for the review!

    1. I was not that impressed with her debut either! But this was a nice second novel. It was much stronger and worth a try, I say.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Copyright © 2015 Ageless Pages Reviews. All Rights Reserved.

Amelia Theme by The Lovely Design CO and These Paper Hearts.