Never Have I Everby Published 30 Jul 2019
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In this game, even winning can be deadly...
Amy Whey is proud of her ordinary life and the simple pleasures that come with it--teaching diving lessons, baking cookies for new neighbors, helping her best friend, Charlotte, run their local book club. Her greatest joy is her family: her devoted professor husband, her spirited fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, her adorable infant son. And, of course, the steadfast and supportive Charlotte. But Amy's sweet, uncomplicated life begins to unravel when the mysterious and alluring Angelica Roux arrives on her doorstep one book club night.
Sultry and magnetic, Roux beguiles the group with her feral charm. She keeps the wine flowing and lures them into a game of spilling secrets. Everyone thinks it's naughty, harmless fun. Only Amy knows better. Something wicked has come her way--a she-devil in a pricey red sports car who seems to know the terrible truth about who she is and what she once did.
When they're alone, Roux tells her that if she doesn't give her what she asks for, what she deserves, she's going to make Amy pay for her sins. One way or another.
To protect herself and her family and save the life she's built, Amy must beat the devil at her own clever game, matching wits with Roux in an escalating war of hidden pasts and unearthed secrets. Amy knows the consequences if she can't beat Roux. What terrifies her is everything she could lose if she wins.
A diabolically entertaining tale of betrayal, deception, temptation, and love filled with dark twists leavened by Joshilyn Jackson's trademark humor, Never Have I Ever explores what happens when the transgressions of our past come back with a vengeance.
Never Have I Ever Reviews
You know those conversational terrorists who hijack group get-togethers by dominating everything?
Now imagine one shows up to your BFF's snoozeville book club. You are secretly delighted until you realize that she has charmed everyone else as well and bish knows your deepest, darkest secret.
Amy has created a quiet little life with her hubby, step-daughter, and infant son when Roux tornadoes into her life hellbent on destroying it. Why does Roux want to ruin her life and what lengths will Amy go to in order to protect herself, her family and her secret?
This was yummy!
Thank you to Joshilyn Jackson, HarperCollins Publishers, William Morrow and Netgalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This book got better and better the further into it I got... I had a hard time putting it down the last 100 pages (much to the detriment of my work at the bookstore).
I know this book was a departure from the type of books Joshilyn Jackson typically writes, but she nailed it. I was not expecting (or ready) for some of the dark twists this book took me down.
Never Have I Ever was my first read by Joshilyn Jackson, and I heard that this is a change of pace for the author because she usually writes contemporary women's fiction novels. Have no fear though, because this book is in the same realm that she would typically write.
Amy Whey lives in a suburban town, where her neighborhood has all become friends, and everyone rallies and supports each other. Amy hosts regular book club gatherings with the local mothers and it usually includes wine, light banter, and bonding time. That is, until a new neighbor shows up to the book club. Her name is Angelica Roux and she's about the change everything. Angelica (aka Roux) is vibrant and charming, but she knows more than she's letting on. She knows about Amy's past that has been kept secret for years, but would she know? As Amy tries to navigate her newfound frienemy, her past starts unraveling and secrets start surfacing. What can Amy do to make sure that Roux doesn't destroy the life that she set up?
Never Have I Ever is a light neighborhood drama, infused with a few sprinkles of mystery. If you like anything by Jessica Strawser, this book is definitely up your alley. While the pacing was slower than I would've liked, Jackson has clever tricks and turns while delivering the story. You'll be pleasantly surprised by how it all settles.
Joshilyn Jackson books are comfort food for me. I was trying to put my finger on just what it is about them and I think it's a combination of things. 1) She writes mostly domestic thrillers, one of my favorite genres, and she's great at a twist. 2) She's particularly interested in the South. 3) Most importantly, there is something about her voice which is so distinctive, which I can recognize from 100 miles away. If I had to describe it, I would call it "friendly." This chummy voice combined with the recognizable suburban women she most often writes about and the darkness of their inner lives makes this something separate from a cozy but also separate from the overly dark domestic thrillers that are dominating the landscape right now. They don't lack for darkness but I always feel like a good friend I have known for ages is telling me the story.
Amy has that perfect suburban life but she also has a secret. Of course she does! This is a domestic thriller! You know the general gist. Anyway, the book begins with a great setup: a new mysterious neighbor comes to book club, everyone gets a little drunk, and soon they start a game of sharing their dark secrets. Amy, as a person with a secret, is not pleased. Amy is not quite your standard suburban wifey in a lot of ways, but the thing you learn about her pretty quickly is that she is fiercely devoted to the people she loves. When her old secret bubbles to the surface, Amy comes to realize that she is capable of real darkness. And while there are some very solid twists, it's the very real consideration of what she has, what it means to her, and what losing it could look like that grounds the book and makes it work.
There is a certain roadmap for a domestic thriller of the moment, and there's a certain set of expectations I have as a reader. I expect to find something outlandish or ridiculous, I expect a twist that doesn't work if you think about it too hard, I expect to be manipulated as a reader in ways I don't always like, I expect to find characters' justifications and rationalizations ridiculous. But this never happened with this book, and it's honestly a breath of fresh air. There were a couple of times when I thought, "Hmm, is Amy really as backed into a corner as she thinks she is," but then I'd always come to understand her. Jackson really grounds her stories and her characters in real emotions. She also does one very important thing: she doesn't save the big "secret" for too late in the book. The reveals here are rationed out really nicely from act to act, saving you from the problem of the big secret being something that ends up being really stupid and not worth all the buildup.
I don't know that many of my other crime-fiction-loving friends have read any Jackson, but I think this is a good one to start with. I also enjoy doing her books on audio because she often reads them herself in a nice, crackly way that's a perfect compliment to her style.
I Have to confess that I do have older books screaming out to be read, but this caught my eye and I couldn’t wait to start it!!
Amy and her husband have a happy life bringing up his teenage daughter Madison and their son Oliver. Amy helps her friend and neighbour Charlotte run the book club where local women get together more for the chat, gossip and alcohol rather than the books.
At the book club a new neighbour Roux joins in, totally taking over and getting the ladies to play “Never Have I” revealing secrets that in Amy’s case will open a whole new can of worms!! A secret that she is soon being blackmailed over.
This was a great psychological thriller, loved the cat and mouse interaction between Roux and Amy. I was totally gripped by this runaway train story with its twists that had me biting my nails.
Will be looking out for Joshilyn Jackson’s next book with bated breath.
Thank you to Netgalley for my copy in exchange for a review.