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Never Have I Ever: A Novel

Never Have I Ever: A Novel

Written by Joshilyn Jackson

Narrated by Joshilyn Jackson


Never Have I Ever: A Novel

Written by Joshilyn Jackson

Narrated by Joshilyn Jackson

ratings:
4.5/5 (288 ratings)
Length:
13 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jul 30, 2019
ISBN:
9780062933546
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

New York Times best-selling author Joshilyn Jackson — ”an admired writer who deserves to be a household name” (Kirkus Reviews) — displays her masterful talent in this dark and deliciously addictive tale of domestic suspense.

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 15-year-old stepdaughter, her adorable infant son. And of course, the steadfast and supportive Charlotte. But Amy’s sweet, uncomplicated life begins to unravel when the mysterious and alluring Angelica Roux arrives on her doorstep one book-club night.

Sultry and magnetic, Roux beguiles the group with her feral charm. She keeps the wine flowing and lures them into a game of spilling secrets. Everyone thinks it’s naughty, harmless fun. Only Amy knows better. Something wicked has come her way - a she-devil in a pricey red sports car who seems to know the terrible truth about who she is and what she once did.

When they’re alone, Roux tells her that if she doesn’t give her what she asks for, what she deserves, she’s going to make Amy pay for her sins. One way or another.

To protect herself and her family and save the life she’s built, Amy must beat the devil at her own clever game, matching wits with Roux in an escalating war of hidden pasts and unearthed secrets. Amy knows the consequences if she can’t beat Roux. What terrifies her is everything she could lose if she wins.

A diabolically entertaining tale of betrayal, deception, temptation, and love filled with dark twists leavened by Joshilyn Jackson’s trademark humor, Never Have I Ever explores what happens when the transgressions of our past come back with a vengeance.

Publisher:
Released:
Jul 30, 2019
ISBN:
9780062933546
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Joshilyn Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of nine novels, including gods in Alabama and The Almost Sisters. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages. A former actor, Jackson is also an award-winning audiobook narrator. She lives in Decatur, Georgia, with her husband and their two children.


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Reviews

What people think about Never Have I Ever

4.3
288 ratings / 52 Reviews
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Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    This is the first book I have read by this author, and the first book I received through Early Readers. It took me a little bit to get into this book and I can't say that is was "couldn't put down", but I did enjoy this book. Roux blackmails Amy over something happened 20+ years ago and threatens to destroy the life that Amy biult. Amy hits back but Roux aways seems to be one step ahead. I couldn't figure out who Roux was or how she found out about Amy's past. And although I'm not sure we really find out who she is, you can't help but be hooked.
  • (5/5)
    Really enjoyed reading this ARC of Never Have I Ever. It's a typical domestic thriller with a few twists and turns throughout. I appreciate how the author (Joshilyn Jackson) builds up each of the characters and spends time getting the reader involved in their lives. After the book was done, I kept wanting to return to each of the characters to see what happens after all is said and done... those are the kinds of books that keep you engaged. Will read more books by this author!
  • (4/5)
    Amy is content, living in Florida and working as a dive instructor. She has a husband, a teenage stepdaughter, and an infant son. Life is good. Until the day a new neighbor, Roux, drops in at book club and stirs things up. She somehow knows things, and she knows some of Amy's secrets from her past, secrets which no one in her current life know anything about. When Roux begins to blackmail Amy, Amy must decide whether to give in or to try to beat Roux at her own game. I've read quite a few of Joshilyn Jackson's novels and I'd probably have to say that she ranks up there as one of my favorite authors, or at least one that I enjoy returning to again and again. Most of her books have a nice mix of dysfunctional, southern craziness while exploring fairly serious subject matters. In this one, however, she branches more out into the thriller genre. So there's less crazy, but more suspense. I wasn't pulled in to the story immediately, but the further in I got, the more invested I became, and then I was hooked. Unlike many thrillers, some of the secrets were revealed early on, but there were still enough twists and turns to keep me guessing. I wouldn't say this was my favorite novel of Jackson's, but it was good enough and fairly impressive for her first foray into the thriller/suspense genre.
  • (4/5)
    This book starts slow, with a lot of repetitive inner monologue from Amy, our narrator. By midway, the story hits its stride, and from there I was hooked.For me, this book has three major strengths. First, the characters are believable, relatable, and interesting. They feel human and I enjoyed getting to know them all.Second, the plot is something I could see happening. We have depth and just enough complexity to keep us on edge.And, finally, the twists are a touch of brilliance. I'm not sure if my jaw literally dropped but I felt sucker punched a few times, and I mean that in the best sort of way. Jackson doesn't give us one big reveal at the end. Instead, she slams us with something surprising, lets us adjust, and then throws another curve our way.I don't want to say more, because I don't want to spoil a thing. Don't let the slower pace at the beginning lull you into complacency. This story is full of surprises!*I received an ARC from the publisher, via LibraryThing.*
  • (5/5)
    A secret from her past and someone who happens to show up that may ruin everything.During their regular, monthly book club meeting a knock on the door brings a new member who as the evening wears on definitely isn't welcome.Roux knows something about Amy and innocently suggests they play a game called Never Have I Ever.

What dark secret could Amy be hiding, how does Roux know about it, and how did Roux find Amy? Roux demanded money, and Amy had it. 

Who would have thought after all this time someone would find out and take the time to look into what Amy did as a fifteen-year old?

Roux did just that, and she was pretty clever, but Amy was pretty clever too so the game gets intense for both of them, but who has the most to lose?

Both women are strong and determined. Both know how to play games, but will the winner take all or will both players lose? 

A tiny bit on the slow side at first, but not for long. Ms. Jackson took a nightmarish incident that could very well happen and turned it into a story line that will grab you and will have you wondering how someone would even think about doing something like this to someone and how they were able to acquire the information they found or how they even found the person.

You will be on the edge of your seat as you turn the pages and anxiously await how this game goes.

 5/5This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoy Joshilyn Jackson's stories. They are a good blend of likable characters who are usually slightly flawed, with plenty of dysfunctional family dynamics thrown in to make it an enjoyable 'chick lit' read. But this book was a surprise because it had a dark and twisty mystery thriller component that made you glued to the story. If you're looking for a psychological thriller with some very clever plot twists, then you'll like this book!
  • (4/5)
    This was a different genre than I usually read but it did keep my interest. There were many twists and turns and was able to keep my interest all the way through. The main character Amy had done unforgivable things in her past and someone was about to make her pay.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    Amy has a comfortable life with her loving husband, stepdaughter Maddie, and baby Oliver. Then one night at the monthly neighborhood book club meeting a stranger threatens her life as she knows it. Amy has a secret that she has kept hidden…until now. Roux knows what she did and wants retribution. But Amy has too much to lose so she fights back. But as it says on the cover of the book “In this game, even winning can be deadly.”This book is a departure from Joshilyn Jackson’s usual Southern women fiction. However, Jackson brings to her debut thriller aspects of her previous novels that her fans love – the strong female friendships, the witty bantering, and the characters you love to hate. She brings us two equally strong women who are ready to do battle – a battle of wits. Both with secrets they will do anything to keep hidden. Her mastery of this genre-flip may well attract readers not familiar with her previous works. The story quickly grabbed me and took me on an exhilarating ride. It kept me on the edge of my seat as their cat-and-mouse game was played out. I do hope she will write more books of this genre.Thank you to BookBrowse and William Morrow Books for the advance copy. Opinions expressed here are totally mine.
  • (3/5)
    I wanted to like this, and at first I did. Jackson portrays a typical suburban neighborhood, including a book club for moms, with juicy tensions. Then the plot took a couple of unrealistic turns, and I found myself losing interest.
  • (4/5)
    Until I saw Joshilyn Jackson on a book tour in Wichita years ago, I had dismissed her work as chick lit - not my genre. I was so impressed with her wit, compassion, and storytelling skills that I became a lifelong fan. My guess is that even her grocery list is entertaining reading!This is the story of Amy Whey, a thirty-some young mom and diving instructor with a secret in her past, and a beautiful devious newcomer who threatens to exploit it and ruin everything Amy holds dear. A fast paced, twisty plot makes this book hard to put down. Recommended as a great beach read!
  • (5/5)
    I’m a big fan of Joshilyn Jacksons’s writing. Her sassy, southern style is completely unique and unmistakable. This story was a little different from her usual, but still written with her signature complex, flawed southern characters and witty southernisms like only she can do. I learn so much from her writing. Her main characters usually have some interesting career or hobby that I learn about and in this book it was scuba diving. I also love how her books make me think about all the grey areas in life and see different points of view on important themes like justice and forgiveness. Her writing speaks to me in a way like no other—when I’m reading, I’m thinking she knows me and she gets me. Her characters feel like family and her books feel like home. Thank you to LibraryThing Early Reviewer program for a free copy in exchange for review. I will still be purchasing the audio version when it’s released in July so that I can hear her tell the story in her own voice. If you have never listened to Joshilyn as a narrator—you’re missing out!
  • (4/5)
    Amy Whey, 42, feels lucky to have a solid, loving family with her husband Davis, stepdaughter Maddie, and her eight-month old baby Oliver. She has a nice home and a best friend in Charlotte Baxter, who has a little girl of her own. But Amy has a secret past that isn’t so nice. She thinks there is no way anyone will know, until a newcomer, Angelica Roux, comes to her neighborhood bookclub, and hints that she knows all about Amy. Amy’s world, that she thought was safe and protected, is about to be upended, unless she can come up with a way out. But “Roux” as Angelica calls herself, brings pathological skills and hard-core experience to this game she is playing with Amy, and Amy fears she will lose everything good in her life.Amy is much like the characters we are used to from Joshilyn Jackson - full of overflowing, nurturing love for family and friends. But Amy does have a dark past that takes this character beyond the more quotidian flaws of previous protagonists. Roux, on the other hand, is something new for Jackson: a repugnant and remorseless spider who snares everyone she can into her web and then coldly devours their lives.Tension and twists keep readers on the edge of their seats until an unexpected revelation about Roux changes the nature of the game.Evaluation: The writing is as good as usual for Jackson, but some of the characters are beyond despicable, so it’s hard to say I “liked” the story. I’m also still not sure how I felt about Amy’s past. Somewhat ironically, since the story begins with a book club meeting (gone bad), a (normal) book club meeting is exactly where I would love to dissect this story and hear the thoughts of other readers.
  • (4/5)
    I was really excited to read this book! I’m not sure it lived up to my expectations. This is a suburban mom thriller - what if someone threatened to reveal your worst secret, how far would you go to stop them. It might be that this just wasn’t the perfect book for me but I wanted more nuance from the reading experience. The storyline went back and forth: the two protagonists would spar, then the threatened one would take care of her baby, make dinner, and come up with a strategy, then repeat. The secondary characters were not well developed, maybe no one was? There were some clever twists and turns but overall this was not a totally satisfying read.
  • (3/5)
    As a longtime fan of Joshilyn Jackson, I was both excited and a little wary when I saw that she had a new novel coming out (the former) and that it would be in the mystery genre (the latter). Never Have I Ever has Jackson’s signature cast of female characters who have clever and biting personalities. In other words, women I’d like to befriend. But unlike her previous novels, character development and family entanglements take a backseat to a propelling plot. Jackson takes on the current trendy psychological thriller novel rather than a procedural mystery. And, although she does fall into the genre tropes a bit, Jackson, it should be remembered is not bad at handing out a good twist whether or not a mystery is at the core of the plot or not. Although it takes a bit for the book to get off the ground, and the title proves to be a burden to the narrative (yes, there is a game, and no, it’s not quite “Never Have I Ever”), Never Have I Ever, ultimately, is a page turner with feisty female characters and some unexpected twists that made me gasp and cheer with equal relish.
  • (4/5)
    I have long been a fan of Joshilyn Jackson's books, so was eagerly anticipating this one, especially since it was advertised as being "different" from her others. It is indeed different, with the dark twist of the stranger Angelina Roux threatening to reveal Amy's secret and well-hidden past. The settings, character development, and writing style are reliably familiar, however, which for me is a good thing. I was engrossed in the plot, and thought that the denouement was rather predictable, but still interesting. This is definitely a book worth reading, though not quite so compelling that I could give it a 5-star review.
  • (5/5)
    This was recommended to me as a thriller for my book group and wow. It starts off with a harmless mom's book group when this "new neighbor"mom shows up, inserting herself into their getting like she has been there forever, starts this game that's intended to get them drunk and makes them divulge secrets about they're lives, so she can blackmail each of them to further fuel her own secret life, she doesn't want anybody to know about. Tons of plot twists. This would be better to read, but being I didn't have the ebook or the physical copy, I listened to it and wished there hadn't been any reason to have to pause this
  • (5/5)
    I enjoyed every second of this book. Kept me interested from beginning to end, and speaking of ending, I totally wasn't expecting this twist! Bravo!
  • (3/5)
    Omg ok I get it, the main character is a mom. Honestly, all the mom things got so annoying. All the baby talk, all the nicknames (monster, fuddy, Mads), and other “mom” terms (keeping room) was just so piled on. And I lost count of the number of times “in spite of” myself / herself / themself, etc was used. I thought the book was ok, but the voices for everyone were so typical and cliche - the teenager and the baby were so annoying. I can’t tell if I didn’t like the main character, Amy, because of the way she was written, or because the way she was narrated.
  • (5/5)
    Never have I ever...........been so happy about what a main character does to another main character. I was yelling YES!!! and so will you when you get to that part of the story. This is a very different story and overall I really liked it. The narrator of this book was really fantastic, with just a tiny trace of a southern accent she really brings the characters to life. I also liked the afterword when the author thanks the readers for listening, what a nice touch. I will look for more from this author.
  • (5/5)
    The audio version is well done. Enjoyed it very much
  • (5/5)
    Great story! Very talented author, and I cannot imagine a better narrator for her own work than the author herself. A fine job, all the way around.
  • (5/5)
    Such a gripping, unexpected book, beautifully read by the author
  • (5/5)
    Really love it. Truly great story with a surprising twist!
  • (5/5)
    Typically don’t write reviews but this one deserves it. The twists and turns will keep you on your toes. I couldn’t stop listening!!
  • (4/5)
    Having read and enjoyed other of Joshilyn Jackson’s novels, I was eager to read this one — which sounded as though it would be a psychological thriller, a genre with which I would not associate Jackson. Once again, Jackson did not disappoint.A typical suburban book club meeting initiates all of the suspense and action that follows. New-to-the-neighborhood Roux brazenly takes control of the meeting and begins to get the members to play her game “Never Have I Ever,” with each being required to tell her deeply hidden secrets amidst much wine drinking. Amy Whey, who has a successful marriage, complete with a loving (but perhaps a bit boring) husband, a great step-daughter, and a baby boy, gets caught in Roux’s web. If she is not careful, her darkest secret will be revealed and she stands to lose the family that she holds so dear — and more, including her best friend Charlotte.As the story unfolds, the reader becomes completely immersed in the tug of war between a very forceful Roux and Amy and who will ultimately come out as the winner of the “game.” Does Amy have the gumption to stand up to Roux and beat her at her own game? Can she out-wit Roux as precious time continues to tick away? Does she have what it takes to save the wonderful life she now has?Although somewhat slow reading at first, the novel picked up as characters and their backgrounds became more familiar. And, although a few pieces of the plot seemed a bit far-fetched, Jackson’s writing and her carefully developed plot twists and turns definitely kept me reading. All in all, even though I found this novel somewhat “darker” when compared to others I have read of Jackson’s, I really enjoyed it . . . and hope she writes another “psychological thriller” type.Thanks to HarperCollins and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy for my honest review.
  • (4/5)
    This was a really good book! The most awesome thing about this book was the writing. It was amazing and made the story come alive. I also enjoyed the story, how we learn about the past as the present story plays out. I really liked the character of Amy. She seemed like someone I would be friends with and she could teach me scuba diving too. I didn't like Roux at all so I wasn't too surprised by the ending and how everything played out. This was definitely good and worth reading.
  • (4/5)
    Great psychological thriller with a lot of twists and very flawed but likeable main character.
  • (4/5)
    I was sent an early copy of this and I am very grateful! At the start of this novel you will think you know the twist, and you'll be right but also so wrong. This book reveals a lot towards the beginning and teaches you to assume nothing. I was pleasantly surprised by many of the aspects of this novel. It did a lot of unique things in terms of reveals. There are many types of mystery/thrillers and this one falls in the category that I don't always enjoy. I can't say why because I don't want to give much away but I think fans of Karen Slaughter will really like this one!
  • (5/5)
    Excellent!! All her books are great!!
    Looking forward to reading more.