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When We Were Bright and Beautiful

By Jillian Medoff
When We Were Bright and Beautiful by Jillian Medoff digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

“Two parts Gone Girl, two parts Notes on a Scandal. . .will play with your expectations about who’s the villain and who’s the victim.” — Jennifer Weiner, USA Today

The acclaimed, bestselling author of This Could Hurt returns with her biggest, boldest novel yet—an electrifying, twisty, and deeply emotional family drama, set on Manhattan’s glittering Upper East Side, that explores the dark side of love, the limits of loyalty, and the high cost of truth.

You can have everything, and still not have enough. 

Cassie Quinn may only be twenty-three, but she knows a few things. One: money can’t buy happiness, but it’s certainly better to have it. Two: family matters most. Three: her younger brother Billy is not a rapist.

When Billy, a junior at Princeton, is arrested for assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Cassie races home to Manhattan to join forces with her big brother Nate and their parents, Lawrence and Eleanor. The Quinns scramble to hire the best legal minds money can buy, but Billy fits the all-too-familiar sex-offender profile—white, athletic, and privileged—that makes headlines and sways juries.

Meanwhile, Cassie struggles to understand why Billy’s ex Diana would go this far, even if the breakup was painful. And she knows how the end of first love can destroy someone: Her own years-long affair with a powerful, charismatic man left her shattered, and she’s only recently regained her footing.   

As reporters converge outside their Upper East Side landmark building, the Quinns gird themselves for a media-saturated trial, and Cassie vows she’ll do whatever it takes to save Billy. But what if that means exposing her own darkest secrets to the world?

Lightning-paced and psychologically astute as it rockets toward an explosive ending, When We Were Bright and Beautiful is a dazzling novel that asks: who will pay the price when the truth is revealed? 

75 Reviews

Surprised Face with Open Mouth“The first half was unbelievably slow and boring. The 2nd half was FULL of WTF moments with the last few chapters being the most… intense? I hated the characters, particularly Cassie and her sudden flip at the end. It felt unresolved and too clean of an ending given the revelations during the trial.”
Reviewed in:The Angry Uterus
Easy to readMind-bendingTragicTwistyUnpredictable
Surprised Face with Open Mouth“The first 20 chapters were pretty slow, then it got intense. Not to give too much away, but a lot of the reactions to horrific, real-life events seemed not believable. The family didn’t seem torn down in the way a normal family might react to the situation. It was a page turner though, and good writing style.”
Reviewed in:The Angry Uterus
Multi-layered charactersOriginal writingComplexDark settingHeartbreakingSerious
Surprised Face with Open Mouth
Morally ambiguousEasy to readSuspensefulRealistic settingDark
“Thank you to Harper for having sent me a gifted copy of When We Were Bright and Beautiful. If you are looking for a family driven/court room type book this one would be a great choice for you. Its the perfect mystery for you to escape into and want to know what is going to happen next. The chapters were short which I really enjoyed and you learn a lot reading this one. Definitely a quick emotional read.”
“I don't know how to even put into words my reaction to this book. I was intrigued by the premise of the book because I love 'Law and Order: SVU", but I was disappointed in this story. I felt that the book was too long, and I didn't care for any of the main characters. This story was another example of privilege and wealth getting someone out of a crime. I was shocked that there were no consequences for their actions. I was also disgusted by the grooming and horrified by the revelation about Cassie and her adoptive father. The descriptions made me feel sick, and I didn't like any of this part of the book.”

About Jillian Medoff

Jillian Medoff is the author of the national bestseller I COULDN'T LOVE YOU MORE, as well as the novels GOOD GIRLS GONE BAD and HUNGER POINT. A former fellow at MacDowell, Blue Mountain Center, VCCA, and Fundación Valparaiso, she has an MFA from NYU. In addition to writing fiction, Jillian has a long career in management consulting and is currently a Senior Consultant at the Segal Group, where she advises clients on all aspects of the employee experience.

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