Cover Image: The Vanishing Half

The Vanishing Half

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Member Reviews

From the start of the novel, Bennett is able to grab the reader and draw them into this emotionally charged story. The Vignes twins have had their share of heartache since childhood. When they leave their community at sixteen, they don't look back. Yet, what happens is unexpected, with one disappearing into a world that is the opposite of what she knows, while the other ends up with child, right back where they started. This gripping tale of family, weaving in and out of past and present, is only solidified by the unbreakable bond of sisterhood, and shows that regardless of trying to run, the past always comes back to find you. 
Fans of The Mothers, Bennett's debut novel, will not be disappointed! This pick is great for those that enjoy a true literary fiction piece, with a hint of history and family tragedy. Multiple themes present themselves, such a loyalty, family, and self-acceptance, that any type of reader can relate to.
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This was a fascinating read about racial and gender identity, raising the question of who we are based on who we think we are. Or are we bound by societal expectations of this is how this shade, color, gender, person should be? And would we choose to throw away all we are to try a different persona?  Great storytelling with believable characters who stayed with me after I was done.
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So I was lucky enough to get early access to this novel through NetGalley and it was one of those books you simply will stay up past your bedtime. Bennett nails so much within this one tale and she does so with effort. Definitely will be recommending to my friends.
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Sometimes I wish I could give a book more than 5 stars. Brit Bennett not only writes with extraordinary grace, she is a compelling storyteller. Diving smoothly into the deep waters of identity and race in America, she gives us twin girls Stella and Desiree, remarkably the same and, ultimately,  immeasurably different.  Whether this is consequence of of happenstance, choices, and consequences or a deeper division of character, is for the reader to decide.
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Terrific book. I gasped aloud at least once. Unique plot, fascinating characters (some more like able than others), and beautifully written. Add this to your to read list! Highly recommend for adults. 

Thank you to Riverhead Books and NetGalley for the advance copy.
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Thanks to NetGalley and Riverhead Books for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

This book is unlike anything I have read before, and it requires you to slow down and really think about the story. The characters are very well-developed and unique, and I really enjoyed the way the book's organization drove the story through the character's lives. All in all, it is an enjoyable, thoughtful read! 

Review posted on Goodreads on 4/24/2020.
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Finished reading this book, and I couldn’t put it down. This is a story about twins and race relations, how perceptions can change one’s behavior and those of others around them.
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This is the first can't-put-down book I've read in a while. All of the storylines, all of the characters are compelling. Holds very true to the time periods it covers.
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The Vanishing Half was both beautifully written and it also had a propulsive plot that made me keep reading to see what happened next. It was a good exploration of passing for white and of colorism, as well as the sister relationship, and the effects of family secrets. It would be a great choice for a community wide read or a book discussion.
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The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett is excellent. From the characters, to the setting(s), to the unpredictable and varied natures of the plot as time passed... I was enthralled. Though this novel was deep and considered a wide variety of societal issues related to race, class, trauma, and change, as well as the nature of family and sisterhood, this was also a fun, light-hearted read. I loved it!

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read an advanced copy. All opinions in this review are my own.
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Oh my god, this was an amazing book. It had a bit of a slow start but then it just...whew. Became amazing. It's historical fiction, but the story just feels so modern. In the best way possible.

I really liked Brit Bennett's debut, The Mothers, but you always worry a little bit about sophomore slump. There's no slump here. I can't WAIT to recommend this to people. So good.

Thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for the digital ARC.
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Brit Bennett does it again. Her brilliant compulsively readable novel explores the everlasting bond between twins Desiree and Stella Vignes who grow up under the shadow of a vicious hate crime. The Black girls come of age in a fictional Louisiana town populated with people who look like them: they can pass off as white. Bennett explores the fluidity of identity through various angles: “Being anyone else was the thrill. To transform into a different person in plain sight, nobody around her even able to tell,” remembers Stella as she slips into a life unrecognizable even to her own self.
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The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett was an outstanding read that I will recommend to readers looking for literary fiction.  I loved the insightful and nuanced characters that Bennett achieves in this story of twins, teen runaways, who become separated by circumstances, and the different paths that each twin’s lives take at the start of the Jim Crow era to the eighties.  Bennett’s book encompasses themes of racism, social injustice and transsexuality that make this book a natural for book discussion!  Her writing astounds me and she truly is an author that I cherish reading.  Remarkable!
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I wasn’t sure this could live up to Brit’s first book but wow, I think I loved this even more? Highly highly recommend
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Brit Bennett is definitely not going to be accused of having a Sophomore Slump! Her debut novel, The Mothers, was one of my top reads of 2017. (Listen to Episode 35 of the Book Cougars to hear more.) This highly anticipated second book is fantastic!
Spanning from the 1950’s through the 90’s, it begins in the south. Twin girls witness a violent act of racism towards their father. They are raised by their hard working single mother in a small town where everyone knows the minutiae of their history.  They decide to flee, leaving behind their mother to find a new life in New Orleans. Only 16 years old, they are inseparable as they try to make their way in the big city. Although they spent their formative years highly proximate, eventually they choose very divergent paths. 
The book is woven together from multiple POV’s and wrestles with the questions: what is the meaning of race and identity, how do we live with the choices that we make, and what is the ripple effect of these choices on those that we love?
#The VanishingAct #Netgalley
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Lots of hype around this book, so I think it's safe to say we will get it for the collection. I wasn't a huge fan of Bennett's "Mother" and this wasn't for me either.
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Thank you to NetGalley and PENGUIN GROUP Riverhead for the advance reader copy.  I was not compensated for this review.

This would make a fantastic book club read!  So many topics and characters to discuss!

“She wasn’t some little tugboat, drifting along with the tide.  She had created herself.”

The interweaving storylines kept me interested and intrigued.  The author added just enough drama for me to jump back and forth between favorite characters.  The four women had their strengths, and yet each had weaknesses that made me despise their choices at times.  Just like a real family!?!?
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I loved Bennett's book, The Mothers, so I dug into this new novel expecting another thoughtful story about women. This new novel is different but covers some of the same issues, relationships between mothers and daughters. The Vignes sisters, Desiree and Stella, were born in a small Louisiana town called Mallard. Everyone in this tiny town, barely visible on a map, were African American. The unique aspect of people who lived there included their skin tone, very light to the extent that they looked white. People around them in the area knew they were African American, but once the girls left town for New Orleans, they had a new life as white women.

Desiree, the adventurous twin, managed to convince Stella to go with her to the city. Desiree was desperate for an exciting life away from boring country life. Stella, the quiet, thoughtful twin, went along with her sister but did not plan to stay. Stella loved to learn and could have gone to college. Desiree had no interest in school or learning; she wanted adventure and love.

The narrative of these two compelling characters sparked this story to the conclusion many years later. I made up different outcomes for the twins, always wanting each to have more. Both twins suffered, not because they looked white, but because they couldn't be honest with the world about who they were or what they wanted. Desiree and Stella created lives that suited them but not entirely. Sacrifices were made for children, as many mothers do. Accepting life and changing it where it was possible made Stella and Desiree heroes to me. I don't know if I would have had the tremendous courage they found deep inside of them to live life as they wanted.

Thank you to the author, Riverhead, and NetGalley for this e-ARC, to be published in June.
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I was blown away by Brit Bennett's 2nd book, which was just as (if not more) captivating as her first book, The Mothers. All of the characters were flawed in their own way, which made me appreciate the narrative even more.
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Wow! 
I was a bit hesitant at first because it started off with a lot of detail which made it move slow at first. 
But, after the first chapter or two, the story truly began to take shape and WOW what a story it was. 

Bennett writes such a character-driven inter-generational story that requires you to binge read because you just want to know what happens next. 
There are points you think "okay, i see where this is going" and even though it may go the way you predicted how it arrived to that destination is NOTHING like you expected. 

Bennett's debut novel The Mothers seemed to just be practice for Bennett to develop her skills even further. The Vanishing Half seems to be written by a completely different person but in the best way possible. 
Each storyline comes full circle. Nothing is wasted. Every word written is important. 
there is no way that this book doesn't win some type of award. 
I think Bennett's writing is beautiful and necessary. 

The plot of the story is everything that is described in the blurb online but at the same time it is everything you don't expect and that is what makes this story even more powerful.
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