Review: Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson


Title: Never Have I Ever

Author: Joshilyn Jackson

Published: July 30th 2019, William Morrow

Status: Read July 30th 2019, courtesy William Morrow/Edelweiss


My Thoughts:


“She smiled and I had no premonition as I smiled back. She didn’t look like my own destruction to me.”

Only after inviting neighborhood newcomer Angelica Roux In to join the members of the Brain-Dead Mommies Bookclub clustered in her basement does Amy Whey realise her mistake. Without a shred of humility, and with confidence born of beauty, Roux, as she prefers to be called, disrupts the planned discussion about The House of Mirth, instead leading the women to play an adult game of Never Have I Ever. While a handful of drunken women grow ever more indiscrete, Amy refuses to participate.

“I knew what she was then. Too late, I understood her game.”

Two days later Roux appears again at Amy’s door, but this time she isn’t in the mood for games. Roux demands a quarter of a million dollars or she will reveal a dark secret from Amy’s past that will shatter her well ordered life.

“You owe me. You owe me, and you are going to pay.”

Deftly plotted, offering unexpected twists and turns right up until the last pages, Never Have I Ever is a compelling psychological thriller. Roux’s attempt at blackmail sparks a daring game of cat and mouse between two women who both have a lot to lose.

“She was better at this than I was, more experienced, but I didn’t have to win, after all. I only had to play down to a draw, get enough to make her walk away. I needed two things: a secret and to know who she was hiding it from.”

Amy is not so much interested in winning, as she is in simply ridding herself of the threat Roux poses, but each move she makes is met with a countermove from Roux that escalates the stakes. I’ve always found Jackson’s female characters to have an authentic complexity in thought and behaviour, and it’s no different here. Amy is a sympathetic character, but she refuses to be a victim. As a sociopath, Roux’s actions are more slightly more predictable, she puts her own self interest above everything, except perhaps her son. I was utterly absorbed by the battle of wits as it played out, particularly curious to see just how far Amy was willing to go to protect herself, and those she loves.

“The past remained the same, and so, apparently, had she, but I had come up new.”

Never Have I Ever is a provocative, gripping, and wildly entertaining tale of secrets, betrayal, revenge and redemption. A must read.

Read an Excerpt



Available from HarperCollins US

Or from your preferred retailer via Indiebound I via Booko I Book Depository


Alternate Cover

15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. willemite51
    Jul 25, 2019 @ 18:36:44

    Terrific review. I quite liked the book as well.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Tanya Atkinson
    Jul 25, 2019 @ 19:59:20

    I’ve been seeing a lot of advance buzz for this one. It’s great to see that it lives up to the hype!

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Veronica The Burgeoning Bookshelf
    Jul 25, 2019 @ 20:43:24

    This sounds good. The title caught my eye because my daughter was telling me about the game just the other day and we were having a laugh at some of the questions.

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Vicki
    Jul 26, 2019 @ 04:10:42

    After reading your review I have to go get a copy! It sounds SO good!

    Liked by 1 person


  5. Patty Magyar
    Jul 26, 2019 @ 08:28:51

    Oh boy…I have this one ready to go!

    Liked by 1 person


  6. Beth F
    Jul 26, 2019 @ 22:19:18

    I usually really like her books. This sounds really good!



  7. Lisa
    Jul 27, 2019 @ 00:41:21

    This sounds good! Roux sounds like the type of person who would terrify me in real life.

    Liked by 1 person


  8. Kathryn
    Jul 27, 2019 @ 14:23:58

    You are so right about her female characters, while I don’t read too many thrillers, this kind I do! Looking forward to it.

    Liked by 1 person


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