The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Identical twins leave their small home town and grow up to lead vastly different lives. Sounds like a good idea but this novel is so much more.


Desiree and Stella grow up in the 1960s in Mallard, a town in Louisiana where everyone is a light-skinned PoC. This is a point of pride and their mother is quick to shoo away any friends or boys that are too dark.


As teenagers, the girls escape to New Orleans and then Stella packs her bags and disappears.
The girl you expect to stay away is the one who returns.

Desiree is strong and bold. When the man she marries is violent and petty, she leaves. Desiree flees with her daughter to the safety of home. Sadly, her hometown isn’t as welcoming to her dark-skinned daughter.


While I loved this book from beginning to end, I didn’t love some of the characters. Stella is incredibly flawed a is her mother. Desiree makes some serious mistakes and marries an awful person.


But then there in the midst of so much selfishness there is Jude and Reese and Early. The love story of Jude and Reese along with Early’s adoring love of Desiree are beautiful moments.


This novel explores themes of racism, hidden identity, family, abandonment, and transgender identity. The prose is strong and detailed. This novel could become one of my top books of this year.

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