Never Have I Ever…. Lucy V Hay
Twenty years ago
Four teenagers discover a new game.
They add their own rules, going from sharing secrets to sharing firsts.
And then it all goes spiraling out of control.
A woman gets a note through her door which chills her blood
‘Never have I ever been punished for what I have done’
She thought this was over. But it looks like it’s her turn to play
Because no matter how far it goes, you have to obey the rules of the game. And the game is never really over.
A little while ago I responded with a daft comment on one of Lucy’s social media posts about her upcoming new novel to say that “Never have I ever….been disappointed by one of Lucy’s books” – and, just a few weeks later, I can safely say that I still haven’t. Never Have I Ever is a great exploration of guilty secrets and the effects they can have on those involved, told over two unravelling timelines as the protagonist’s past comes back to haunt her present.
Succesful author, Sam, moves back to her childhood home of Ilfracombe to escape the claustrophobia of London life. While some unpleasant memories remain from her childhood, it seems like enough time has past to bury those memories where they belong… in the past. But, when a mysterious note arrives, reminding Sam of the game she used to play as a teenager and how it tore apart her small circle of friends, the past comes crashing into the present with terrifying results.
Lucy weaves an intriguing tale that jumps backwards and forwards in time, revealing the secrets of Sam’s past in dribs and drabs as she tries to find out who is behind the notes. As she becomes increasingly desperate, Sam’s new life becomes more and more precarious and it even starts to look like her family might be in danger. When she finally pieces everything together, and the novel reaches its dramatic conclusion, the reader is left reeling from the revelations.
I came to Never Have I Ever after Lucy’s previous books, Do No Harm and The Other Twin, both of which I enjoyed so was expecting more of the same, and was not disappointed. Never Have I Ever is a tightly plotted, fast read that will have you guessing throughout. The ending is perfectly pitched, turning everything that you have learned about Samantha and her friends on its head; you may have suspicions about the past events that are driving the story, but I am pretty sure most people won’t be predicting the ending.
Lucy has a no-nonsense approach to writing, so the language isn’t over-flowery and gets the job done effeciently and effectively, driving the story along at a great pace, not wasting a single-word. As I have said before, if you enjoy a bit of crime, you can do a lot worse than give Lucy a go – and obviously I mean from a reading perspective – I have no idea how good Lucy would be at actual crime…
Give it a go and enjoy! I for one will be on the look out for the next from Lucy!