by Brit Bennett
Reviewed by Linda:
Welcome to Upper Room Chapel, an African American church in Southern California. The elderly women of that congregation act as a Greek chorus throughout this gripping first novel. They cast their eyes—sometimes lovingly, more often disapprovingly—on the young people in the church, particularly on Nadia, her chaste best friend Aubrey, and Luke, the pastor’s son. Following a brief romance, Nadia and Luke share a secret, one that threatens to expose them, their families, and the congregation itself to suffering. The author explores the topics of community and ambition, and of living up to expectation in contemporary black America.