One of our recent Star Books, Jessica Moor’s Young Women is a powerfully timely, punch-packing novel. Immediately compelling through its fascinating characters and #MeToo context, it’s a novel that’s sure to spark lively book club discussions around a myriad of themes, among them trust, betrayal and the ways women are held accountable for predatory male behaviour.

Centred on the bond that develops between two young women living in London, it’s also a compelling portrait of female friendship, posing the question: it is ever right to speak out on someone’s behalf, against their wishes? 

Intrigued? Read it now, then return to these suggested book club discussion points. It really is a thought-provoking novel.

1. “Clearly Tamsin’s story was different. I didn’t want to hear about a trust fund or a windfall from a dead grandparent, or parents who’d bought the flat for the investment. I was like an audience member in a drag show. I wanted the illusion.”

What were your initial impressions of Tamsin? Discuss how the author filters our impression of her through Emily.

2. Do you think the title suits the novel? What does it reveal about the author’s intentions? 

3. Did you relate to Emily or Tamsin? Consider in relation to their experiences, their respective world views, and how they engage with the world.

4. What does Young Women reveal about friendship and female bonds? Consider in relation to Emily’s relationship with Tamsin, and Lucy.

5. Were you surprised when Emily realised who Tamsin really is?

6. Compare Lucy’s experience with Mr Hawkins and Tamsin’s experience with Art Rawlings. Compare also with Emily’s experiences of one-night stands.

7. “Taking money to stay quiet after he . . . It’s . . . it’s like prostitution, Tamsin.” Is it?

8. Do you understand why Tamsin didn’t come forward when other women did? Was it wrong of Emily to email Tamsin’s voice recording to the media?

9. “Maybe she was just too tired of it all. Maybe she was biding her time until there was less background noise, so her voice could be heard clearly. Maybe she thought she hadn’t said no loudly enough. Maybe she hadn’t said no at all. Or said no and meant yes. Or the other way around.“

Re-read all the “maybes” Emily runs through on pages 286-287. How did you respond to each of them? What do they each reveal about the justice system? 

10. “Someone who had behaved the way she had as a teenager clearly didn’t have an appropriate sense of boundaries between pupils and staff.” Discuss this statement.

11. What did you think of the writing style?

12. What did you take from reading Young Women? What did you think of the ending? Do you think Tamsin will find peace with what happened to her? Do you think she should take legal action? Do you think Emily should get in touch with her?

For more ideas, browse our book club recommendations, and explore reading group questions for a range of novels.