Black Dove

Young Adult

Alisa Hopewell and her father move back to her hometown in Alabama from Kentucky after her mother dies. While there, she reconnects with her childhood best friends, Sarah and Ben. Sarah and Ben have long since had a falling out, in no small part because of Ben’s controlling girlfriend, Courtney. Each of the three is struggling with family issues. Sarah’s mother is a drug addict, Alisa has been dealing with abuse and self-harm, and Ben’s parents take their failing relationship out on their children. Alisa and Ben are drawn to each other, but their reunion is very hot and cold as they alternatingly connect and push each other away as a result of their struggles.  

Carrigan Richards crafts a unique and heart-rending story of the struggles of two teenagers living very different lives. “Black Dove” is written in alternating first person POV and the author excels at giving Ben and Alisa distinct voices and personalities through her writing. The plot feels a little repetitive at times, causing the middle of the book to drag a bit. The protagonists seem to take the same actions over and over again, with little growth demonstrated. This causes some of the interpersonal relationships—particularly those between Ben and Alisa—to fall a little flat. Despite that fact, the external family issues and internal thoughts are all well-written, seeming very raw, visceral, and realistic. For those seeking a compelling, emotional read with relatable, lovable characters, Carrigan Richards’ “Black Dove” is sure to keep readers enthralled.

Shailyn Rogers