Review: Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

Amy Whey leads a simple life. She has her perfect family: her devoted professor husband, Davis, her high-spirited fifteen year old step-daughter, Madison, and her new baby boy, Oliver. She also has her supportive best friend, Charlotte, who runs the local book club with Amy’s help. She bakes cookies for the new neighbours, and teaches lessons at the local diving school. Amy loves her uncomplicated life. But, when the mysterious and alluring Angelica Roux arrives at book club, this sweet life begins to unravel.

Roux sweeps in and takes control of the book club with her magnetic charm. She gets the wine flowing, and refills glasses as though she is in her own home. When the entire group has had a little too much to drink, Roux lures them into playing a game of Never Have I Ever, and secrets start spilling out. Most of the group think that it is just a little harmless fun, but Amy isn’t being fooled. Roux has come for her, and seems to know exactly who she really is, and the terrible truth about what she once did, and if Amy doesn’t give her what she wants, she will make her pay for her sins.

If Amy wants to protect her family, and keep the life that she has built for herself, she must play Roux at her own game, and she MUST win. The stakes are high, and Amy is terrified of what she might lose, regardless of whether she beats Roux or not.

Before requesting Never Have I Ever on NetGalley, I had seen it quite a lot on social media, and was really interested. So when I saw it available to request, obviously I had to, and was very excited when my request was approved! From the synopsis, this book was exactly the sort of thing I enjoy reading, but after finishing it, I have to say, I was a little disappointed.

The book gets off to a good start with the introduction of Roux, and jumped straight in to the game. The opening chapters were exciting, and tense, and enjoyable to read. But, it soon starts to take a downhill slope. There were large amounts of the book that were too drawn out, and seemed to drag, and where nothing really seemed to be happening, it was a little repetitive in places too, with little excitement. I found myself reading, but not really giving it my full attention, because it wasn’t gripping hold of me the way I had expected it to. However, I didn’t feel as though I didn’t want to read it, and was happy to continue reading, because honestly, it isn’t a bad book at all.

The characters are definitely a redeeming feature of Never Have I Ever. Despite her past, Amy is a character you can really get behind, and you realise you really are rooting for her all the way. Roux is the type of character that you love to hate, but can also feel a little sorry for. They’re the perfect combination. Also, the way that Joshilyn Jackson describes parenthood is so accurate, that I could actually sympathise with the characters. Not everything about parenthood is beautiful, and lovely, and Jackson showed that, which is one of the things I really loved about Never Have I Ever.

One thing that did bother me throughout the book was the amount of times Amy’s weight was mentioned, and how she used to find herself “ugly and disgusting” for having a little extra weight. There was one chapter in particular which was almost completely about Amy’s self-hate. I really didn’t see why it was necessary. This could also be triggering for anyone who actually feels that way about themselves, and I think readers should be warned before they start reading, just in case.

I really had hoped for a lot more from Never Have I Ever, but overall, it wasn’t a bad read. There were parts that I did really enjoy, and that is reflected in my rating. Thank you to NetGalley and Raven Books for my copy!

I give Never Have I Ever a 3/5 rating.

Have you read Never Have I Ever, or any of Joshilyn Jackson’s other work?

Let me know in the comments!

3 thoughts on “Review: Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

Add yours

  1. Amy’s constant negative focus on her weight made me eventually DNF Never Have I Ever, so I’m glad someone else noticed it because I didn’t see anything about this in other reviews. It completely put me off and I just couldn’t get past it enough to enjoy reading what was an otherwise good story (at least what I read of it). Disappointing because I had such high expectations!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was mentioned way too many times, and I really didn’t see why it was included. It had no connection with the rest of the story, and was totally unnecessary! I also noticed that it hasn’t been mentioned in other reviews, which I’m a little shocked by… I had high expectations too, and was disappointed!

      Liked by 1 person

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