Amy Whey has a nice, contented life with her husband, her step-daughter Madison and her new baby Oliver – nothing to see here, folks. Her best friend Charlotte runs a local book club where women in the area get together for a drink and a gossip and occasionally remember they were supposed to be critiquing their latest novel. Charlotte is a bit of a stickler for the rules and gets annoyed with the new neighbour Roux, who essentially gatecrashes Charlotte’s carefully arranged gathering and turns it into a weird session of the secrets and lies game of the title, Never Have I Ever. Amy is immediately uncomfortable in Roux’s company, not helped by the way she is behaving, and it soon becomes clear that Roux knows all about who Amy was before she became a respectable wife and mother. Amy’s lifelong fears of being exposed and losing her family are being realised in front of her, but who is this dangerous, frightening woman in the swish sports car, and what does she want from her?
There are twists and turns aplenty, but they are all perfectly laid out in the plot – to me there weren’t any that made me feel like they’d been shoehorned in just for the hell of it. As you get deeper into the story and start to understand what drives both Amy and Roux, who are clearly more similar to each other than either would care to admit, you really can’t tell which way this is going to go and who is ultimately going to emerge the victor – or even who should!
A genuine rollercoaster of a novel, Never Have I Ever is pretty much the perfect summer read and a 5 out of 5 from me!
Thanks to the Pigeonhole book club for inviting me to read this along with them and thank you to Joshilyn Jackson for answering all of our questions along the way, and giving us an insight into her writing process!