Review also posted on NetGalley, Amazon US & UK and Goodreads.
This is a very strange novel! Strange in a good way, a unique way and cleverly and brilliantly compelling.
The story begins with a terrible event, then we are taken back in time by the four narrators and main characters of Ruby, Callum, Juliette and Yasmine.
All are undergraduate freshers who arrive at university and appear to be all squeaky clean and relatively innocent.
They all live in the same university hall of residence. Slowly most of them slip into a hedonistic lifestyle of heavy alcohol consumption, parties, cigarettes, and for some, other substances. Social smokers turn into heavy smokers and you can almost smell the stale smoke through the pages. Crates of beer and bottles of vodka become essential kitchen items. Watching rugby or football games in the bar turn into heavy drinking sessions. Hangovers are common.
They form friendships and relationships with each other and peripheral characters in the book and the dynamics between them are constantly changing. There is an air of foreboding right the way through as the tension builds and you know that the bad thing at the beginning of the book is going to happen but you don’t know why or when or if there are more bad things coming.There are secrets too.
What is interesting are the ways in which the characters see themselves and the events they are part of in one way, but then each of them see those same events and actions differently as their individual narratives unfold. We go from one telling of an event to another version of the same event as witnessed by a different person.
At times, it felt as though I was in the middle of a bad dream that drew me in and I just had to stick it out and keep reading to find out what happens in the end. Kept thinking about the characters even when I was away from the book and couldn’t wait to come back to it to read more.
A really intelligent and intuitive first novel from the author.
Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.