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Summary

In this riveting, heartfelt debut, a young woman assumes a new name to escape her dark past and find the redemption she desperately seeks.

“It’s impossible not to root for this strong, willful girl as she finds her place in the world and for her brother as he tries to make sense of it.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Charming, touching, and a host of other adjectives not often associated with a murderous thirteen-year-old.” (Booklist)   

Venus Black is a straitlaced A student fascinated by the study of astronomy - until the night she commits a shocking crime that tears her family apart and ignites a media firestorm. Venus refuses to talk about what happened or why, except to blame her mother. Adding to the mystery, Venus’ developmentally challenged younger brother, Leo, goes missing.

More than five years later, Venus is released from prison with a suitcase of used clothes, a fake identity, and a determination to escape her painful past. Estranged from her mother, and with her beloved brother still missing, she sets out to make a fresh start in Seattle, skittish and alone. But as new people enter her orbit - including a romantic interest and a young girl who seems like a mirror image of her former lost self - old wounds resurface, and Venus realizes that she can’t find a future while she’s running from her past.

In this gripping story, debut novelist Heather Lloyd brilliantly captures ordinary lives thrust into extraordinary circumstances. Told through a constellation of captivating voices, My Name Is Venus Black explores the fluidity of right and wrong, the pain of betrayal, and the meaning of love and family.

Praise for My Name Is Venus Black

“Fans of realistic coming-of-age fiction will enjoy Lloyd’s fast-paced first novel for the freshly drawn original characters, compelling story line, and beautiful tribute to the healing power of love. It’s bound to have crossover appeal to older YA readers.” (Library Journal)

“A dark but ultimately uplifting story about family, love, and forgiveness, and how to find your place in the world, My Name Is Venus Black is a powerful debut novel from a fresh voice in fiction.” (New York Times best-selling author Sarah Jio)

"A terrific debut, told gently, honestly, and with a generous amount of hope." (New York Times best-selling author Jamie Ford) 

©2018 Heather Lloyd (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"Lloyd’s debut novel is charming, touching.... Lloyd’s extraordinary plot is grounded in the complex, palpable emotions she exacts from her beautifully realized, heartwarming characters. A culminating series of reunions illuminate their richness and humanity as they confront guilt, blame, and forgiveness. Lloyd’s vivid, superbly crafted novel will have wide appeal." (Booklist)

"Moving.... [Lloyd] adroitly brings the resilient Venus to life.... A satisfying tale about family, forgiveness, and moving on." (Publishers Weekly)

"It’s impossible not to root for this strong, willful girl as she finds her place in the world and for her brother as he tries to make sense of it. A badass bildungsroman." (Kirkus Reviews)

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What listeners say about My Name Is Venus Black

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Engaging

This story takes unexpected twists & turns. It’s interesting that the author didn’t reveal the reason why Venus killed her step-father until the last quarter of the novel. There was a good selection of characters in the book & the main one, Venus displayed remarkable depths of emotion. If you’d met in her in real life I think she’d be an outstanding woman: strong, resilient, tenacious, thoughtful. Her scars would be visible to a select few. Entertaining & absorbing.

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  • Yikes
  • 24-03-18

Loved it!

Don't expect wild car chases or extreme suspense! Instead, if you enjoy an interesting meandering tale of how a crime touched not just one family but many others, then this is a book you might enjoy. Narration is really great!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Mia
  • 03-03-18

Left a piece of me on Venus

This book was like super-glue. It’s stuck even if it is beyond painful to rip-off. It is as heartbreaking as “All the beautiful and ugly things” blended with “Room” and “Ginny moon” It will be a modern-classic. The narration raises the bar,don’t let this pass you by!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Elena Bates-Singleton
  • 29-03-18

Very good story

The younger voice annoyed me terribly and I considered returning the book but the story captured me enough to stick with it till the end.

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  • reviewer in Wisconsin
  • 23-11-21

Good characters and story

I really liked the characters as well as where the author took this story. The author concludes the story in a way I hoped for it to end.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-07-21

Crime crossed with Coming of Age

I enjoyed the Narrators. One sounded like the actress Awkafina. I listened to the book at 1.5x speed and that was perfect.
The style of the book reminded me of authors Billie Letts and Wally Lamb.
Interesting read with a splash of autism, crime, self discovery, reinventing self, and humor.

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  • Kelli avid listener
  • 29-02-20

Liked it

I enjoyed this book. I would consider it a young adult novel. It was heartfelt and I’m glad I stuck with it.