Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson
eBook review copy; 352 pages
Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson is a very highly
recommended compulsively readable domestic thriller that will grab all
of your attention and hold you hostage until the end. One of the best
books of the year!
Amy Whey had a troubled past but is now living a content, ordinary
suburban life. She is married to Davis, and loves her fifteen-year-old
stepdaughter, Maddie, and their infant son, Oliver. Amy teaches diving
lessons, which is how her best friend, Charlotte originally introduced
her to Maddie and Davis. Now she and Charlotte are neighbors and she
helps Char run their book club. When a new neighbor from a rental house
who calls herself Roux shows up at the club, Roux immediately takes
charge of the book club and sets it careening off into a dangerous
Roux keeps the women drinking, talking, and then starts a dangerous
game of "Never have I ever." Many of the members, including Char leave
early but some women stay and overshare to Roux. Amy ends up ordering
Roux to leave her house, because she recognizes the dangerous game this
woman is playing. Roux is dangerous and now she knows a secret from
Amy's past that she is threatening to share if Amy doesn't give her a
large sum of money. Everything isn't quite as cut and dried as Roux
thinks. She may be threatening Amy, but Amy is not going down without a
fight and that means playing a dangerous game of her own.
Warning: Once you start reading Never Have I Ever you
will lose sleep and even, briefly, consider taking a sick day from work.
It is that good. This is a twisty dark tale of evil, deception,
blackmail, temptation, family, love, shrewdness, friendship, and
strategy. If Amy wants to win this game, it means she needs to undertake
her own risky game against a professional extortionist. Roux thinks she
is an easy mark, but she has underestimated Amy.
I'm a huge fan of Jackson's writing. She's talented, clever, funny,
smart, and writes memorable character-driven fiction. Almost every book
she writes becomes my favorite of her novels, and now Never Have I Ever
is my favorite. The writing and the plot are absolutely perfectly
paced and executed. I was totally engrossed in this compelling thriller
and, as each new twist surprised me, couldn't pull myself away from
reading. And I guessed not a twist or move in this story.
Amy is a wonderful character. She has made mistakes in her life and
has been through some hard circumstances. She is clever and shrewd at
times, but she is also goodhearted and supportive. She has endured her
own hard times and has overcome them while trying to do the right thing
and keeping some things to herself. She is a character that you will
support and wish the best for in spite of her flaws. Roux will make your
blood pressure rise right from the start when she comes to the book
club and takes over with her little games.
Never Have I Ever has it all: exciting plot, great
writing, unexpected twists, and memorable characters. It is the perfect
summer read - or fall, or winter, or spring...
My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.