‘Luster’ by Raven Leilani


Rating: 4 out of 5.

3.6 but for the sake of Good Reads, we’ll give it 4 stars…

Synopsis: Edie is just trying to survive. She’s messing up in her dead-end admin job in her all-white office, is sleeping with all the wrong men, and has failed at the only thing that meant anything to her, painting. No one seems to care that she doesn’t really know what she’s doing with her life beyond looking for her next hook-up. And then she meets Eric, a white, middle-aged archivist with a suburban family, including a wife who has sort-of-agreed to an open marriage and an adopted black daughter who doesn’t have a single person in her life who can show her how to do her hair. Edie finds herself falling head-first into Eric’s home and family.

I buddy read this with @normalreaders and at first I was loving it. I read it over a span of like two days?? I couldn’t put it down. The plot completely intrigued me, I’d never read anything quite like it. I was absolutely hooked by Leilani’s writing style, I remember saying to Charly that her writing style was violent and fast-paced, which worked so well with the plot of the book. I had such high hopes for this book, mainly from the response it was getting on booksta. The first half was so strong and I was anticipating a shocking twist at the end (Boy Parts style) but I was so disappointed. The ending felt so safe and I can’t help thinking it could’ve really done something. It felt like it was all tied up quickly, so I was left with questions at the end because it felt like there were still loose ends which left me rattled. Like what happened with Eric?? The daughter??? I actually can’t. I need ANSWERS.

All in all, I enjoyed the book, it was an exceptional debut, but the ending majorly let it down (sorry if you loved it). I loved the dysfunction aspect that was featured throughout the novel (which is why I was probably expecting a jaw-dropping ending), it captured the essence of navigating adult-hood so candidly that it was at some points, brutal.

I’m still angry at the ending but I’d probably still recommend it because I loved the style of Leilani’s writing.

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