Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Book Review: "When We Were Bright and Beautiful" by Jillian Medoff

The newest book from Jillian Medoff is a gripping family/courtroom drama about a family caught in scandal.

Cassie tries to assert her independence from her wealthy family every now and again, but when she is summoned home to NYC because her brother Billy is in trouble, she shows up in the middle of the night. It turns out that Billy, the youngest child, a star athlete and an aspiring pediatrician, has been accused of raping his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Diana.

The family is shocked by this accusation. Billy and Diana have had a tumultuous relationship and their breakups have been difficult, but there’s no way that he could have raped her. But Billy is a privileged, handsome, white athlete—one who stutters when he gets nervous—so the family knows he may have a difficult time getting acquitted, especially in the current #MeToo environment.

While their parents fight over everything, from whether Billy should take a plea to whether he has the right attorney, family relationships start to splinter under the stress. But even as Cassie starts wondering about what really happened between Billy and Diana, she’s determined to prove her brother’s innocence—no matter what secrets have to be revealed.

This was my August BOTM pick, and it really surprised me just how much it hooked me. We’ve seen this storyline before, but in Jillian Medoff’s hands it’s immensely compelling and complex. As long as it doesn’t involve my family, I’m all in for good family drama!!

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