Author: Amanda Brainerd
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: July 14, 2020
Book Description: It’s 1983. David Bowie reigns supreme, and downtown Manhattan has never been cooler. But Justine and Eve are stuck at Griswold Academy, a Connecticut boarding school. Griswold is a far cry from Justine’s bohemian life in New Haven, where her parents run a theater and struggle to pay the bills. Eve, the sophisticated daughter of status-obsessed Park Avenue parents, also feels like an outsider amidst Griswold’s preppy jocks and debutantes. Justine longs for Eve’s privilege, and Eve for Justine’s sexual confidence. Despite their differences, they form a deep friendship, together grappling with drugs, alcohol, ill-fated crushes, and predatory male teachers.
After a tumultuous school year, Eve and Justine spend the summer in New York City where they join Eve’s childhood friend India. Justine moves into India’s Hell’s Kitchen apartment and is pulled further into her friends’ glamorous lives. Eve, under her parents’ ever-watchful eye, interns at a SoHo art gallery and navigates the unpredictable whims of her boss. India struggles to resist the advances of a famous artist represented by the gallery. All three are affected by their sexual relationships with older men and the power adults hold over them, even as the young women begin to assert their independence.
A captivating, timeless novel about friendship, sex, and parental damage, Amanda Brainerd’s Age of Consent intimately evokes the heady freedom of our teenage years.
Rating: 3 Stars
Mini Review: If you love campus novels, then this one might be right in your wheelhouse. Centered around three girls, Eve, India and Justine, in the 1980’s. There is no mystery in the story but more of a literary novel about these girls coming of age among a society that really could not care less about them.
Their parents barely pay attention to them, they all have relationships with inappropriate men, take drugs and like to party. Set in Connecticut and New York City this is a dark coming of age story, that feels similar to books like My Dark Vanessa at times.
For people who grew up in the 80’s the author definitely paid tribute to the decade with her references to pop-culture and news that was happening during those years.
I did not love this book, it sits there firmly in my mind, that I am glad I read it, but it will not be a book that stays with much past a few day.