When We Were Bright and Beautiful

First of all, I really loved this book. Loved might not be the right word: it is extremely dark. I read it in a single Sunday. Second, there is a pretty major content warning for sexual assault. But wow. This book. It was described to me as Gone Girl meets Gossip Girl which if you know me, makes for an absolute must read. The Quinn family is New York City royalty. Living in the historic Valmont building (described by the narrator as basically being ten mansions stacked on top of each other), the three kids want for nothing and have seemingly perfect lives. The best of everything… elite boarding schools and colleges, everything they could ever want. But when the youngest sibling, Billy is accused of sexual assault by his ex-girlfriend Diana, the perfect facade begins to crumble. The book is narrated by the middle child, Cassie, who has secrets of her own. The family knows that Billy must be innocent: he’s their golden boy, he’d never go that far. But Cassie can’t understand why Diana would go so far to ruin his life. Meanwhile, Cassie has secrets of her own: an affair with a powerful married man. As the case goes to court, Cassie and her family are determined to do everything they can to protect Billy. Even if it means taking the stand and exposing their own darkest secrets. This one is really, really dark. But unputdownable. I felt sick at times. But I could not stop reading. I think this would make a great book club book (if everyone is okay with the content warning) as it would make for some pretty intense conversations afterward.

Author: Jillian Medoff