Sunday, January 1, 2023

The Things We Do to Our Friends

The Things We Do to Our Friends by Heather Darwent
1/10/23; 336 pages
Bantam/Random House

The Things We Do to Our Friends by Heather Darwent is a so-so debut psychological thriller.

Clare is attending the university in Edinburgh, Scotland while reinventing herself. She has changed her name and hopes to distance herself from her past while studying art history. After she finds a job at a bar, she notices Tabitha, a rich privileged young woman, and her group of friends. Soon enough Clare is drawn into their group and Tabitha reveals a project she and her friends have been planning.

The characters are all unbelievable, unreliable, and unlikable, which I could go with but they are also undeveloped beyond the surface traits. Simply put they are all caricatures of a type and none of them are portrayed as realistic individuals. There were plenty of red flags to avoid this strange, annoying group of people and never any compelling reason presented for Clare to want to join them. 

Honestly, I struggled to finish this novel but pushed through hoping the ending would redeem it. Adding to my lack of motivation to finish reading it was the uneven pace and very slow start. Sure, the opening grabs your attention, after which the pace is akin to a leisurely stroll until later in the narrative. When the excitement finally does pick up, it is still uneven. I realize I'm an outlier on this one, but the plot could have been better planned out and tightened up considerably. The twist at the end did not help. Perhaps this is more of a new adult novel and one I should have avoided. Gorgeous cover, though. 2.5 rounded down

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Bantam via NetGalley.

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