Luster: A Novel by Raven Leilani

Sistah Girls, this book is wild. If you’re looking for a dramatic read with a lot of depth then this is for you.

Luster is a literary fiction novel that follows Edie, a broke 23-year-old with a monotonous job and a dangerous sense of boredom, as she starts dating a married man. He is in an open marriage with rules his wife sets that he and Edie break.

What starts as a slightly uncomfortable look into Edie’s life ends up a roller coaster of emotions.

Edie and Eric meet on a dating app and through texts, they share secrets, fears, and talk to each other about anything. None of their daily lives gets to impact the quiet bubble they make of their relationship.

So Eric doesn’t know that Edie is a hot mess. She is ruining her own life, passenger to her own whims, and Leilani takes us on a ride as Edie’s circumstances change throughout this book. Not only does she struggle with relationships, but she also has serious mental health issues–and she’s in poverty.


Edie is such an erratic and unpredictable character, but her motivations are laid out well. She just wants to be seen. Leilani grounds the intense drama of Edie’s life by showing scenes of Edie getting on the train, at work, or just interacting with normal people outside of her warped relationships.

Depictions of poverty and life as a Black woman in America were relevant to me and helped me empathize with Edie. My favorite relationship in this book is Edie and Akilah, Eric’s adopted Black daughter.

I loved this book and highly recommend it to people who are okay reading dark themes: abuse, drug abuse, eating disorders, self-harm or suicide, and toxic relationships.

Sistah Girls, if you read Luster let me know your thoughts in the comments section.



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