ARC Review: The Things We Do To Our Friends by Heather Darwent

Evening Everyone,

It’s Friday, hip hip hooray. I can’t remember the last time I felt so work exhausted at the end of the week. I’ve spent two days in the office this week (for context I’ve been into an office once since December 2019) and I think the commute and the being “on” around people just wore me out. My fiancΓ© has also been away for work for a few days this week so all things house and dogs has been up to me, like a real grown up. So all in all, I am very much looking forward to doing sweet FA this weekend.

Book πŸ“–

Thank you to @vikingbooksuk for this advanced copy of The Things We Do To Our Friends by @hdarwent in return for an honest review. The Things We Do To Our Friends was published yesterday (12th January 2023) and you can get a copy here.

Description πŸ”–

Clare is looking for a blank slate and the opportunity for a fresh start and so she enrols at Edinburgh University where she knows nobody.

Then she meets the charming and filthy rich, Tabitha. Clare is quickly taken under her wing and is swept along into the world of summers in France, champagne on rooftops and amounts of money she’s unable to fathom.

Clare is confident that she has found her group of friends and her new life has begun. But then Tabitha reveals the project she’s working on; which can’t go ahead without Clare. Clare doesn’t want to go along with the project, but she has no choice. Tabitha knows her secret.

General Thoughts πŸ€”

Firstly, I’ll forewarn that this is likely to be a pretty short review. Me and this book did not click and I found reading it a struggle. It felt like I read an entire book of nothing and then there was a reveal at the end that was predictable and not really that exciting.

The book was supposed to be dark but it wasn’t that that I disliked about it because that’s my jam, it’s what I’m into. However I don’t think that there was much that was particularly dark in the story.

Characters πŸ‘«πŸ‘­πŸ‘¬

Clare was the main character and it was obvious that she was very troubled, but the reason for this was dragged on and on and I don’t feel like I truly understand her now, having finished the book. She was made out to have anger problems and be violent, however she actually came across as quite weak I found. It may have been because that’s what she wanted to appear to be to Tabitha and the rest of the group, but if that was the case, it wasn’t obvious enough for me to draw that conclusion.

Finn was really the only character that I could have liked in the story, but he was very much on the outskirts of the plot. I’m all for unlikeable characters, in fact I quite like them. But I didn’t enjoy disliking these characters. They were all superficial, lacked depth and were dare I say it; a bit boring.

Writing Style ✍️

I really don’t like to use the “B” word for a book, but this book did genuinely feel quite boring. I didn’t think that much happened overall and so progressing through each chapter was like waiting for something that never ended up materialising.

I would have liked to have found out about or at least had more information about Clare’s past earlier on and more often throughout the story. I think it would have helped with having some feeling (positive or negative) about her character and her actions.

Conclusion & Scoring πŸŽ–

It’s sad that this book and I were not meant to be. Unfortunately we did not connect and I struggled through about 70% of the story. I didn’t have anything in common with the characters and couldn’t draw on my own experiences to relate to them which probably influenced how I felt about them and their stories. I do think that there are a lot of readers that will like the tone and style of this debut author and it’s 100% personal preference that it wasn’t to my taste. I hope that this book finds its people and it has lots of success.


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