Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Mothers” as Want to Read:
The Mothers
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Mothers

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  24,481 Ratings  ·  3,085 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 11th 2016 by Riverhead Books
More Details... edit details

Win a Copy of This Book

  • The Mothers by Brit Bennett
    The Mothers
    Release date: Oct 10, 2017
    NOW IN PAPERBACK! Enter to win one of 10 copies of THE MOTHERS by Brit Bennett!

    "Ferociously moving … despite Bennett’s thrumming plot, despite the sna

    Format: Print book

    Giveaway ends in: a

    Availability: 10 copies available, 6691 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Oct 10 - Oct 29, 2017

    Countries available: US

  • Friend Reviews

    To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

    Reader Q&A

    To ask other readers questions about The Mothers, please sign up.

    Popular Answered Questions

    This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
    Nicole I feel the author does not take a stance on the abortion issue. It is more about the emotional aftermath of the decision. You will find various…moreI feel the author does not take a stance on the abortion issue. It is more about the emotional aftermath of the decision. You will find various characters who take either side of the issue, but it is not the primary focus. I would hope that any reader would feel comfortable reading this book.(less)

    Community Reviews

    (showing 1-30)
    Rating details
    Sort: Default
    Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
    i saw a comment the other day on a friend's review that was both amusing and galling:

    Dammit! I can't trust the reviews of people who were given the item for free! Believe it or not, you're predisposed to like the product.

    so before i get to the review part, let me just say that - yes, i did get this book for free, but that didn't predispose me to like the product (as i shudder at the word "product" being used to describe a book). yes, i am beyond grateful that i was given the opportunity to read
    Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
    The Mothers is an outstanding, engaging debut novel. The story follows two teenagers, Nadia and Luke, who fall in love as teenagers and how they come together and fall apart over the years. This is also a novel about a community and a church community and a friendship between Nadia and her best friend Aubrey, and the sorrows of motherless girls. I loved the voice and the storytelling and how Bennett is able to hold the story she wants to tell together over the course of a decade. The one part of ...more
    Will Byrnes
    Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
    A girl nowadays has to get nice and close to tell if her man ain’t shit and by then it might be too late. We were girls once. It’s exciting, loving someone who can never love you back. Freeing, in its own way. No shame in loving an aint-shit man, long as you get it out of your system good and early. A tragic woman hooks into an aint-shit man, or worse, lets him hook into her. He will drag her until he tires. He will climb atop her shoulders and her body will sag from the weight of loving him.
    Book Riot Community
    I don’t even know what to say about this book. It made me feel all the things. It’s about three people—Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey—but mostly Nadia. It’s about how our choices affect us, and how our secrets can define us if we let them. It’s about growing up in a tight knit community, and the pressures and the judgements that can go along with that. It’s about how grief and pain mess us up and what can happen when we try to leave it behind. The Mothers is my favourite kind of book—a story about peop ...more
    Larry H
    Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
    I'd rate this between 4 and 4.5 stars, closer to the latter.

    There's an incredible sense of longing that pervades Brit Bennett's terrifically compelling debut novel, The Mothers . There's longing for love of all kinds—maternal, romantic, even the love of good friends—a longing for answers, a longing to find one's place in the world, and a longing for truth. But getting what you think you want doesn't always make things turn out right.

    Nadia Turner is smart, destined for a future far better than h
    It’s never easy for me to be the lone dissenting voice in a chorus of much more respected reviewers who have lauded The Mothers as one of the finest books of 2016. Yet for me, this debut novel is a classic example of “the emperor has no clothes.”

    The book focuses on three teens: Nadia, whose mother killed herself for unknown reasons, her boyfriend Luke, and her best friend Aubrey who is pious and estranged from her own mother. The title of the book is very apt, because this book deals with all k
    Hannah Greendale
    Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: literary
    Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

    Nadia Turner is introduced to unimaginable grief as a teenager. None of the vices she turns to as coping mechanisms have any real consequence, until her dalliance with the pastor's son, Luke Sheppard, forces her to make a difficult decision. The byproduct of their liaison is something Nadia keeps to herself, even withholding it from her best friend, Aubrey Evans. But the secret follows Nadia into adulthood,
    Diane S ☔
    Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
    The entwined lives of three teens in an African American community in Southern, California. Nadia, whose mother recently committed suicide and Aubrey, whose mother has chosen her boyfriend over her, and Luke, the pastor's son. Personal demons, young love, and growing up to find you still long for that which you left behind. A decision impossible to take back but that will fill Nadia with regret.. the Upper Room chapel and the Mothers, those older church ladies, who seem to see and know everythin ...more
    Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    Nadia Turner is a seventeen year old girl. She recently lost her mother to suicide (Not a spoiler) and is completely grief stricken. She is a beautiful, super smart girl who is fast tracked to college and a better life. Then she starts slipping and seeing the Pastor's son. You know they say those things about the preacher's kid for a reason don't you?

    Preacher's kid Lucas is the All-American kid. Former football star that got hurt that is now living with Mommy and Daddy working at a restaurant. H
    Oct 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
    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 didn't. We shared this secret, a secret that began the spring Nadia Turner got knocked up by the pastor's son and went to the abortion clinic downtown to take care of it".
    "She was seventeen then." She lived with
    Oct 15, 2016 rated it liked it
    Shelves: i-own-it, 2016, botm
    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 had a lot of melodrama; many scenes don't feel authentic. I can see Bennett working behind the scenes, which doesn't give me much confidence as a reader. However, when she gets it right—wow, she hits the bullseye.
    Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing

    The mothers are those from the Upper Room, the older women who stand over their congregation, sometimes quietly sitting back, taking note of the changes, the moods, of those whose bodies are in the pews and whose minds are not. They sit in judgment, handing out opinions, conclusions, decisions and verdicts on who should be spending less time carousing and more time serving others. They’ve seen it all in all their years, there’s no surprising them, but it doesn’t stop them from singing out a litt
    The Mothers by Brit Bennett is a 2016 Riverhead publication.

    This is another one of those ‘buzz’ books I wouldn’t ordinarily read, but my curiosity got the better of me, so I checked it out of the library, just to see for myself why the book garnered such high praise.

    The ‘Mothers’ are the women of Upper Room Chapel who basically gossip about the members of the church and keep track of the families who attend.

    They narrate the story of Nadia, Luke, and Audrey, three young black people living in
    Suzanne Leopold
    Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
    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 becomes involves with twenty-one year old Luke Sheppard. He is the son of the preacher at the local chapel. They have a secret romance, and Nadia finds herself pregnant. During employment at the local chapel, Aubrey
    Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
    “The weight of what has been lost is always heavier than what remains.”

    A beautiful book with a real soul at its center, The Mothers is unlike anything I've read before. It starts with a teenager recovering from the loss of her mother's suicide, who then does the desperate and ends her own baby's life through an abortion. The book is surprisingly layered as it touches upon the girl's life as she grows up, the father's life as he grows and mourns for his child and his youth, and the best friend wh
    Jenny (Reading Envy)
    I was not sure I wanted to read this book at all because of some negative reviews and comments in a discussion thread. I should know better by now! The novel is about mothers in a variety of ways. The central character, Nadia, gets pregnant and has an abortion not long after her mother commits suicide. There are a chorus of mothers at her church, the mother of her boyfriend, a sister-as-mother figure, and so on.

    I come from a fundie anti-abortion background and have grown into a non-church pro-c
    Andrew Smith
    Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
    In truth, this isn’t really the type of book I’d normally pick up. Maybe I’d think it too focused on women’s issues – those that are normally conducted without recourse to their menfolk. Maybe I’d be a little scared of it, all that unfamiliar territory. Either way, I was spared the decision making as this book was sent to me as part of an excellent quarterly literary box, supplied by Quarterly .co. One of the attractive features of this package is that the book came complete with handwritten jot ...more
    Marilyn C.
    Jan 04, 2017 rated it liked it
    Shelves: read-in-2017
    3.5 Stars

    In the Goodreads’ description of this book they use the word "dazzling," by no means was I "dazzled" by this story, but I was entertained. Brit Bennett has created a story full of lies, deep sadness and lifelong regrets which become heavy burdens for some of the characters. The book mainly focuses on three main characters ranging in age from the late teens to early twenties, which gave me the feeling, at times, that I was reading a YA novel. Don't get me wrong, there is some heavy plot
    “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 keep writing about—how in moments of grief, community can be both a source of comfort and a source of oppression. My main character feels this responsibility to her community yet wants to escape it at the same time. And I was
    Nov 04, 2016 rated it liked it
    Shelves: read-2016
     photo FullSizeRender_zpsmh9xknjj.jpg
    "It was strange, learning the contours of another’s loneliness. You could never know it all at once; like stepping inside a dark cave, you felt along the walls, bumped into jagged edges."

    This was a depressingly lyrical book about the unlikely love between two young people, and an equally unlikely friendship between two young girls. Set in a small all-black community in Southern California circa 2008, the narrators are a group of older church women from the Upper Room church (attended by all the
    Michelle Turner
    Initial thoughts: What a great debut! Lyrical writing, a touching storyline and resounding characters . . . Sat down to read a few chapters but couldn't help but finish it in a day.
    Mollie Reads
    Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
    **I forgot to mention, I got this book in my Quarterly literary box and I'm SO glad I did. The personal annotations from Brit Bennett made my experience that much more special. Definitely check out Quaterly if you haven't already!**

    Oh, my heart! This book aches the whole way through. I was absolutely astonished by the writing.

    The Mothers is about a young girl named Nadia who tries to cope after her mother kills herself, the catalyst for Nadia’s pursuit of any opportunity that makes her feel—any
    3 stars

    I wanted to slip this in before The Mothers day of adjudication (3/14/17) ,before the Tournament of Books judges fawn over it (or pick it apart, as I kind of want to, but can't for fear of spoiling the jambalaya). I will just say that I think Brit Bennett's got a long, successful career ahead of her after this, her debut novel. She takes an oft-travelled stroll down some very familiar paths but does it in such a way that the end product comes out fresh and vibrant. The dialogue she conce
    Jessica Sullivan
    Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
    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 local pastor’s son. Their relationship ends abruptly, leaving them with a painful secret that that will burden them both for years to come. Around this same time, Nadia befriends a quiet girl named Aubrey whose mother is ou
    Jessica Woodbury
    The Mothers is at heart a simple book about a few people over a relatively short period of time. But it feels revolutionary because these characters are normal, everyday, middle-class people of color. That says much about the state of fiction, even today.

    Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey all fill the kind of roles you've seen in stories before. Nadia is smart and pretty, but her ambitions are thrown awry by her mother's abrupt suicide. Luke is the pastor's son and former football hero who doesn't have foo
    Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
    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 were Tyler Perry-esque, that had me clutching my imaginary pearls or groaning in dismay. I just felt like the author could have taken this plot somewhere unexpected & killed it.

    Why do I feel conflicted? Becaus
    Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    3-3.5 stars.

    Initial thoughts:

    I enjoyed the writing. Nadia and Aubrey felt real to me, while I had a harder time visualizing Luke. No one in this story was particularly admirable. Grief runs through the Turner family, when Nadia Turner's mother kills herself. Nadia is left to mourn and drift on her own, with no one reaching the lost, grieving and probably pretty angry 17-year old. I didn't find the congregation at the family's church to be particularly sympathetic to Nadia's mother's death, and f
    Jaclyn Crupi
    May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
    I have so much to say but want to sit on it for a while. One of my books of the year for sure. Brit Bennett is a great new voice and this is definitely my kind of fiction.
    Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: african-american
    I received this book for free through a complimentary Quarterly Literary Box.

    I really liked this book. First off, it is incredibly well written. It was such an easy read. Some books I find myself slogging through but I didn't with this book. Everything just flowed nicely and it was effortless to read if that makes any sense.

    The characters felt very real and dynamic. The author did a good job giving everyone's perspective.

    I loved the setting of San Diego and how it was incorporated.

    As for the
    Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Check out my video book review- so many thoughts on The Mothers.

    Find this & other reviews at Happy Reading!

    I listened to the audiobook version of The Mothers, narrated by Adenrele Ojo & I highly recommend it.

    Oh, Nadia….Nadia Turner. The girl who returns home when her father needs her & she has all the ladies at Upper Room chapel talking.

    You know Nadia was never the same after her mother killed herself, that poor girl. You remem
    « previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
    topics  posts  views  last activity   
    Women Winning Wit...: Nadia's Abortion 1 11 Aug 07, 2017 06:27PM  
    Women Winning Wit...: Has everyone started reading? 1 3 Aug 04, 2017 06:35AM  
    Around the Year i...: The Mothers, by Brit Bennett 4 39 Jun 08, 2017 08:45AM  
    The abortion 6 124 May 07, 2017 05:15PM  
    Blitberry Box Boo...: The April Box 1 6 Apr 28, 2017 06:18PM  
    Play Book Tag: The Mothers by Brit Bennett 3 stars 4 18 Apr 26, 2017 03:17PM  

    About Brit Bennett

    10802967 Born and raised in Southern California, Brit Bennett graduated from Stanford University and later earned her MFA in fiction at the University of Michigan, where she won a Hopwood Award in Graduate Short Fiction as well as the 2014 Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers. Her work is featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and Jezebel.

    The Mothers is her first nov
    • Swing Time
    • Behold the Dreamers
    • The Nix
    • The Underground Railroad
    • The Wangs vs. the World
    • Another Brooklyn
    • Nutshell
    • Lincoln in the Bardo
    • Commonwealth
    • The Red Car
    • Today Will Be Different
    • Moonglow
    • Here Comes the Sun
    • Jam on the Vine
    • Hag-Seed
    • American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst
    • Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body
    • The Angel of History
    “Grief was not a line, carrying you infinitely further from loss. You never knew when you would be sling-shot backward into its grip. —” 38 likes
    “The weight of what has been lost is always heavier than what remains.” 32 likes
    More quotes…