A book group meets in a Florida suburb in the brilliant opening of Joshilyn Jackson’s Never Have I Ever. When Roux, a charismatic newcomer with “Cher hair” and a “yoga body”, charms the members into playing a truth game instead of discussing Edith Wharton, an exercise in female ensemble noir (in the vogueish vein of Big Little Lies) seems on the cards. ... It’s all horribly credible, and Jackson’s dialogue and scene-painting are impeccable as each chapter addictively advances the battle of wits — either adding another turn to Roux’s screw, or another step in Amy’s plan to uncover her opponent’s own secrets.
"One Booker shortlist later, Galley Beggar were proved correct. Ellmann’s novel isn’t perfect, and it may not take the prize, but in a world where Ian McEwan is still at large, something introspective and richly painted is a tonic for us all...."
— The Daily Telegraph
4.25 out of 5
The destructive outsider in American author Joshilyn Jackson’s Never Have I Ever is Roux, newcomer to a suburban community in Pensacola, Florida. When she hijacks a mothers’ book club by initiating a wine-fuelled game of confession (“What’s the worst thing you ever did?”), diving instructor Amy senses trouble. Not only does her best friend’s husband’s affair come to light, but it’s clear that Roux knows Amy’s own secret, a crime committed as a teenager that has haunted her ever since, and intends to blackmail her. Determined to protect herself and her family, Amy retaliates by digging into her tormentor’s past to uncover her secrets. Jackson raises the stakes again and again in this skilfully plotted novel.
Have you played Never Have I Ever? When Roux, a newcomer to the neighbourhood, turns up at Amy's book club, she suggests they ditch the book discussion and play the party game instead. Fuelled by wine, secrets slowly come to the surface. A riveting read that will get you womdering who you can turst.