Never Have I Ever

Never Have I Ever

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 s...

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Title:Never Have I Ever
Author:Joshilyn Jackson
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Edition Language:English

Never Have I Ever Reviews

  • Joshilyn Jackson

    Now available for pre-order! On Sale July 30th!

    Wonderful - suspense and surprises, real characters, and a scary, ominous backbeat. This feels like the book Jackson was born to write. –Lee Child #1 NYT bestselling author

    A smart, original thriller with real, compelling characters and a chilling reveal. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. -Clare Mackintosh, NYT bestselling author

    “Jackson is a master of timing, meting out tension and detail impeccably. By the time of the explosive, entirely une

    Now available for pre-order! On Sale July 30th!

    Wonderful - suspense and surprises, real characters, and a scary, ominous backbeat. This feels like the book Jackson was born to write. –Lee Child #1 NYT bestselling author

    A smart, original thriller with real, compelling characters and a chilling reveal. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. -Clare Mackintosh, NYT bestselling author

    “Jackson is a master of timing, meting out tension and detail impeccably. By the time of the explosive, entirely unexpected climax, I was clinging to the edge of my seat…This book reveals a side of Jackson I’ve never seen before, and it knocked my socks off.” -Sara Gruen #1 NYT Bestselling Author

  • Will Byrnes

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    Sometimes it comes crashing back in dramatic fashion, banging on the door, in a moonglow of dark intent, and demanding that attention be paid, and paid, and paid. Roux, a new neighbor dropping in on the local moms book group, must have parked her broom somewhere out of sight. The ladies would not really get around to discussing Edith Wharton’s

    , even though at least

    of them had surely read it. Those who had might appreciate that an evening supposedly dedicated to a book about the hypocrisy of social mores in the high society of late 19th century New York would spark a battle royale in which the secrets of

    small society were at risk of exposure. The model-level-stunning Roux is a charismatic presence, everyone wanting to earn her approval. She encourages excessive consumption of alcohol, starts a souped-up variation of the

    drinking game, assigns everyone individual

    , and begins harvesting secrets. But this is collateral entertainment. Roux is there for one person only and lets her know in no uncertain terms.

    Amy Whey has a good life. She has a happy marriage, a beautiful baby, a pretty sane thirteen-year-old stepdaughter, and a successful career as a scuba instructor, here in Pensacola. It had not always been so. One spell of adolescent foolishness had changed what had been a decent life into something else. Half her high school a blur, her relationship with her parents ruined, disgrace brought down on her family. Wastrel years followed, with self-destruction denied its ultimate prize when Amy was introduced to scuba, (Buoy meets girl?) in which she found a joy that was spiritual as well as physical, and a way forward to having a life. But Roux knows Amy’s secret, and that life is in mortal peril. All Amy has to do to keep that life is give Roux every cent she has and then wonder when she will be back for more.

    – image from The Big Thrill

    It turns out that Amy is not entirely sunk by Roux’s threat, but rises to the surface, gasping for air and finds a way to shore. The benefit of having kept secrets all her life is having a pretty decent feel for how to go about uncovering the secrets of others. It requires some pretty bold action, but having guts, plus an excellent brain, gives her the wherewithal to give Roux a serious run for her money.

    Amy is

    , even since she began on her more righteous path. She has made decisions about how much to reveal of herself, of her history, particularly that dark bit, to the people closest to her. This makes Amy a particularly relatable character. I mean don’t we all have things in our past that have somehow never made it into conversation with the people we are close to now? Little pockets of privacy we can rue in private, at our leisure, presuming we have failed to remove them from our memories entirely? Ok, well then kick it up a few notches into felony territory. No more nice neighborhood. Maybe no more husband and possibly baby. What would

    do to keep that secret from becoming common knowledge? What lines would

    cross? What further crimes might

    commit? Amy faces many moral forks in the road ahead.

    It was sweet to see Jackson work Amy’s feeling for diving into how she sees the world, and the particular form of misery she faces in Roux.

    The book alternates chapters, up to a point, between the contemporary blackmail duel and the events of Amy’s adolescence. We get to know what there is to know, bit by bit, and with some nifty misdirections. One of the truly fun things about this book is Jackson’s ability to keep ending her chapters with twists and hooks that make you want to read

    . Read, hook, repeat.

    Another fun element is how Amy comes to see Roux, ironically, as the only person who really gets her.

    Roux keeps finding herself surprised that someone she had thought would be an easy mark had turned out to be a tough competitor in a game of spy versus spy. Frenemies on steroids. There is a nice scene in which Amy gives Roux a book to read, Stephen King’s

    , maybe hoping she would, on reading it, consider where she had gone wrong, maybe rue her current life gig? The author here is reminding those who are familiar with the book that many, many of us have not always lived our best lives.

    Jackson had an interesting approach to her scene-writing, informed by her other career, that explains why her dialogue makes sense, and feels credible:

    This is in addition to doing some serious hands-on research into scuba diving.

    There are several elements in

    that readers familiar with Jackson’s writing will recognize. Redemption is a frequent theme. Amy is certainly trying, in addition to besting Roux, to make up for what she had done. Secrets are a favorite central pillar. Amy has a few, and so does Roux, but they are not alone. And Jax can usually be counted on to look at the construction and disassembly of families. In this one, Amy has forged a new family for herself with formerly married Davis, and his daughter, Madison, (adolescents seem a mandatory element, so check, and Roux arrives with one of her own, so double-check) while her original family seems to have pretty much dissolved. Jackson’s books can be counted on to present (at least one) mystery, which is exposed to the light in a final reveal/twist. A pretty killer one here. Somehow Jackson uses these familiar parts to construct a novel that feels quite different from her earlier work, while somehow still managing to remain engaging and satisfying. Highlighting the what-are-they-hiding elements makes it feel more like a thriller/mystery than her prior work, although there was no shortage of mystery in those.

    I have two gripes about the book. There is a scene in which Madison tells Amy that a bit of unacceptable behavior was based on a bet, and Amy fails to follow up with an inquiry about the possibility of there having been other such “bets” before. My parental DNA was screaming for Amy to ask. Another is that there is a point at which Amy misleads Roux by telling her something that was not true, hardly an unreasonable approach when dealing with the criminal element. But not having been clued in by the author makes Amy, who had seemed pretty reliable, an unreliable narrator. It seemed inconsistent.

    But those are quibbles really. Bottom line is that I found

    to be an addictive page-turner of a thriller, by a reliable author at the top of her game. A terrific beach read, but with plenty of meat on those bones to make it an excellent book-club item as well. Strap on a tank, rub some spit on your mask, slip into some flippers and take a long step over the side of your boat.

    will take you for a time out of your world and let you float about in another for however long it takes you to read it. Dive in. Look around. You won’t be sorry.

    Review posted – July 19, 2019

    Publication date – July 30, 2019

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    Links to the author’s

    ,

    ,

    ,

    and

    pages

    -----2013 -

    -----2016 -

    -----2017 -

    -----Interview - The Big Thrill -

    - by K.L. Romo

    -----Publishers Weekly -

    - By Beth Levine - May 30, 2019

    -----

    -----JJ’s

    - what she listened to while writing

  • Diane S ☔

    It starts when s new member shows up at the book club. A game, Never have i Ever, a secret kept for many years. What if someone knows your secret? Is willing to do anything to win the game, and get your money? Would you know how to play? Could you find a way to win?

    I've read this author for years, has the undeniable knack of creating fully realistic characters. Women and situations that could be taken out of the newspapers, maybe even our own lives, our neighborhoods. These women seem real becau

    It starts when s new member shows up at the book club. A game, Never have i Ever, a secret kept for many years. What if someone knows your secret? Is willing to do anything to win the game, and get your money? Would you know how to play? Could you find a way to win?

    I've read this author for years, has the undeniable knack of creating fully realistic characters. Women and situations that could be taken out of the newspapers, maybe even our own lives, our neighborhoods. These women seem real because they are multilayered, not all good, not all bad.

    I found this story, absorbing, addicting. Times I thought I knew where it was going, how I felt, something was revealed that I didn't see coming, and my feelings changed again. Couldn't wait to see how this was going to end. Both women had much to lose, so who would come out on top? Such a spider web of s story, expertly plotted, and expertly executed. Step, by step.

    ARC from Book browse.

  • Dita

    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

    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.

  • Susanne  Strong

    3 Stars.

    Amy has a past. Not that anyone would know it. To her friends and family she is a mother and a dive instructor and her life seems picture perfect thought it wasn’t always that way.

    Amy always imagined that her secrets would stay in the past, exactly where they belonged. That is where they stayed until the day that she walked into a game of “Never Have I Ever” and her new neighbor Roux made it clear that she knew. Thereafter, Amy ad Roux had a game to play and both had every intention of

    3 Stars.

    Amy has a past. Not that anyone would know it. To her friends and family she is a mother and a dive instructor and her life seems picture perfect thought it wasn’t always that way.

    Amy always imagined that her secrets would stay in the past, exactly where they belonged. That is where they stayed until the day that she walked into a game of “Never Have I Ever” and her new neighbor Roux made it clear that she knew. Thereafter, Amy ad Roux had a game to play and both had every intention of coming out on top. As we all know, however - when it comes to games, there’s only one winner.

    For me, “Never Have I Ever” had one wild and crazy plot. I have never personally played a game of “Never Have I Ever” (nor do I intend to) and admittedly, I found the entire storyline to be a little far-fetched (in my world these things just don’t happen!!). I will say that it took until the 60% mark for me to get hooked and then I was all in. As for the end, say what?! Talk about a weird one! I must say there was one storyline that got me good (way to go Joshilyn Jackson - that is how you do it!!)

    Another fun buddy read with Kaceey!

    Thank you to Edelweiss, William Morrow and Harper Collins and to Joshilyn Jackson for an arc of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

    Published on Goodreads and Edelweiss on 7.14.19.

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