After a childhood where she never felt good enough, Amy Whey finally has her perfect life. A loving husband, a feisty fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, and a sweet baby boy. She even has a best friend, Charlotte, to hang out with in her suburban neighborhood. It's at Charlotte's book group when everything changes: with the appearance of Roux, a new neighbor. Roux is gorgeous and charming and soon all the book group ladies are happily drinking wine and spilling their secrets during Roux's Never Have I Ever game. But Amy can sense Roux's sinister side from the start. And sure enough, before she knows it, Roux comes to Amy. She knows Amy isn't so perfect after all. She knows a big, dark secret about Amy's past. And if Amy doesn't give Roux exactly what she wants, she's going to make Amy pay, tearing down the perfect life she's so carefully built.
"The game was Roux's idea. More than an idea. A plan. She made it up herself, this shotgun of a game. She packed it tight with salt and metal, counting on collateral damage, too, but she aimed it straight at me. She said it was like Never Have I Ever, but not any version I'd ever played."
Well, this was an interesting one, I must say. It's the epitome of domestic thriller, I suppose: a mix of character-driven fiction and thriller/mystery. The beginning was tough for me: it felt slow, as I waited for things to heat up. The language is rather flowery at times, making some scenes seem long. And some of the real action felt bogged down by Amy and Roux's interactions, as they chattered and bantered--either in person or in Amy's head--while they played their twisted little games. Enough, enough, just get to the point!
"Her hands were not empty after all. They were holding my history, invisible but so very heavy. I could almost see it in her hands."
That said, once things picked up, I enjoyed this much more. When the twists arrive, they are very twisty and fun, and often quite surprising. Roux is appropriately hateful, and Amy is a bit whiny, but it's okay when everything is collapsing and you're trying to figure out where this is all going. This one trailed dangerously close to my pet peeve of "main character with secret, where the book would have no point if they'd just man up and tell someone," but once some of the twists came out, I could at least understand Amy's point of view, if not exactly empathize with her. Jackson gives us a rather dark tale, which, you know, is appreciated. If these two women are going to battle each other, it might as well be grim, right?
Overall, this book starts slow, but once it gets going it's enjoyable twisty, dark, and macabre. It was a different sort of tale, but worth the read. 3.5 stars.
I received a copy of this novel from William Morrow and Librarything in return for an honest review.
Good book with lots of twists and turns. Every time I was sure I knew the twist, I was turned and was very wrong. I really thought I had it figured out at the beginning... nope. I liked that and I enjoyed how well it was written. I had a hard time liking the main character, Amy. She was all over the map for me throughout the book but finally developed a fondness for her at the end. I also got tired of the on and off banter between Amy and Roux. Sometimes it seemed to draw on and on. Yet once the book got going, it was hard to put down.
This was a book I had a hard time putting down each night at bedtime. It drew me in from the start.
Several of the ladies in the bookclub have secrets, but Roux manages to draw many of them out on her first evening with them when she disrupts the bookclub meeting causing the leader, Char, who is Amy's best friend, to depart disappointed in not having gotten to discuss the assigned book at all.
Amy is startled to learn Roux seems to know something of her hidden history when, as a teen, she changed the lives of her best friend, a neighboring family, and her own as well. This sets up the rest of the story where Amy will have to confront Roux to discover just what she knows and what she wants.
Amy's life changing hobby, scuba diving, plays a major part in the novel and it was nice to learn some details about this unusual pastime.