'The Mothers': One of the most raved-about books of fall

'The Mothers' by Brit Bennett
'The Mothers' by Brit Bennett
Courtesy of publisher

"Fantastic."

"Ferociously moving."

"One of the most exciting debuts of the fall."

Brit Bennett's novel, "The Mothers," has been on a parade of accolades this season. The story revolves around two high school seniors, bound by a secret and its repercussions into adulthood. Nadia, 17 and mourning the loss of her mother, gets involved with the pastor's son, triggering a chain of events she has to hide from everyone, including her best friend Aubrey. The novel is an examination of friendship, and of motherhood in all its forms, from absent to overbearing.

Bennett, 26, said she modeled "The Mothers" in part after the books she loved growing up.

"I like reading books that make you feel things, books that resist being sentimental but still include emotion," Bennett told MPR News host Kerri Miller.

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Bennett worked on "The Mothers" for almost eight years, obsessing over the weight and impact of female friendships.

"Friendships between women can be sources of comfort and love and support, but also can be sources of betrayal. Friendship, particularly when you're young, can be so passionate and intense. I wanted to look at how this friendship would evolve as these girls turned into women."

Bennett was also interested in "how girls become women without mothers to guide them through that transformation."

For the full interview with Brit Bennett on "The Mothers," use the audio player above.