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Competitions

Win the NEXT April book of the month: My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

We have five copies to give away.

The fine line between seduction and coercion is navigated with all the tension of a tightrope walk over the Grand Canyon in this ground-breaking novel.
At 15, boarding school pupil Vanessa Wye falls under the spell of her charismatic 42-year-old English teacher, Jacob Strane. Academically gifted Vanessa is lonely and craving attention and Jacob gives her what she yearns for plus a whole lot more, crooning over her red hair and fashion sense and lending her some of his favourite books, including Nabokov's classic, Lolita.
Vanessa soon starts having sleepovers at Jacob's house and becomes convinced she's been singled out as someone special. Seventeen years later, at the height of the #MeToo movement, another former pupil from the school accuses Jacob of sexual abuse and when Vanessa is asked to corroborate the woman's story, her world begins to unravel.
The novel jumps back and forth through time, showing Vanessa as a young teenager dizzy with love and a thirty-something Vanessa, who is suddenly grappling with the idea that her cherished relationship with Jacob might have been less about romance and more about manipulation, paedophilia and rape.
Kate based the character of Vanessa on herself, inspired by her own teenage experiences with older men, and she doesn't shy away from the complexities of the issues. The adult Vanessa, for instance, refuses to be labelled a victim even though the reader knows that Jacob is, in fact, a manipulator. A compelling and emotionally challenging novel likely to become a contemporary classic.
Simply fill out the form below with the unique code from the April 2020 issue of NEXT magazine to be in to win your copy.

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