Book review: Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

Book details
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing and Raven Books
Genre: general fiction, mystery & thrillers
ISBN 9781526611628 

The title and cover grabbed me immediately but I'll confess that at the start I wasn't too sure about this one. It opens with a group of glamorous suburban housewives meeting for a book group but instead of discussing books they end up playing a raucous drinking game (although it isn't Never Have I Ever). However, I loved the description of the woman who introduced the drinking game:

I opened the door to a stranger standing easy with the fat moon rising behind her, practically perching on her shoulder. That moon drenched my neighbourhood in silver light, soft and wavery, so she looked like she'd climbed up the steps from an underwater world into the egg-yolk glow of my porch light...               

Already we're getting the hint that this woman is about to throw everything into chaos and that the main character Amy is in a way looking at her own destruction.

It soon emerges that Amy's done something bad in her past and that this woman called Roux knows about it. But is Roux who she says she is and what does she want in return for her silence? In order to protect her family from the truth, Amy finds herself getting drawn into an escalating game of cat and mouse - and there can only be one winner.

From the moment Roux told Amy the real nature of her game I was riveted. In many books this would be the end of the story but there are so many more twists to come. There's nothing formulaic about this psychological thriller. It's beautifully written with strong, believable characters but above all I loved the gladiatorial feel, although for most of it only one of the women understands the rules. The stakes are high but get so much higher. The book's full of dilemmas and guilt as secrets from the past come back to haunt Amy and the tension just keeps ratcheting up. Highly recommended!

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for sending me a review copy of this book which has in no way influenced my opinion.

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