Joshilyn Jackson’s newest novel weaves a wicked tale right from its opening pages. When a mysterious and charismatic woman named Angelica Roux shows up at a suburban book club in a small Florida town, Amy Whey has a sinking feeling that a bomb is about to drop on their cozy lives.
Roux gets the liquor flowing and slips the reins from Charlotte, the book club’s leader and Amy’s best friend. As the women relax, Roux starts a seductive game—an adult version of “Never Have I Ever,” in which each woman shares the worst thing she’s done in the past week, then month, then year and so on. The women are giddy with the newness of Roux’s game and her feral flirtation. When a married woman confesses to kissing another man, Amy worries that her neighbor is messing around with Charlotte’s husband. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Roux somehow knows a terrible secret from Amy’s past, and Amy thinks Roux has shown up to trap her.
Amy has worked hard to rebuild her life. She has a loving husband, a quirky teenage stepdaughter named Maddy and a baby to dote upon. But as Amy’s past threatens to collide with her present, she is forced to play Roux’s dangerous game. After the party has ended, Roux starts to chip away at Amy’s cool exterior, demanding hush money for the secrets she keeps. But Amy reveals herself to be shrewder than she seems, and she’s determined to keep her family and new best friend from knowing what’s buried deep in her heart.
Things get even stickier as Maddy cozies up to Roux’s son, Luca, who seems like the type of boy to break Maddy’s heart, or worse. When Roux sets a deadline for the hush money, Amy decides the only way to get out is to beat Roux at her own game.
With excellent pacing, clever character development, fun plot twists and a palpable setting, Never Have I Ever is a binge-worthy read. Jackson brings her first thriller to the table this summer, and you don’t want to miss it.