Never Have I Ever
Author: L.V. Hay
To Be Published: December 12, 2019
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 12-24, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars
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.
The book description and gorgeous cover is what pulled me to this book. And then the protagonist Samantha (Sam) was a teenager in the 1990s like I was (though Sam is just a couple of years older than me.) I identified with Sam on that part and enjoyed the 90s references that were used in the novel.
Now an adult and published author writing under a pseudonym, Sam and her family move back to her hometown then she starts receiving notes. She and her friends played “Never Have I Ever” when they were teens and now that Sam is back, it seems like the game is continuing despite Sam not wanting to play.
Over the course of the novel, Sam thinks she has it figured out and then the final act was significant to read: This is where the past and the present collide together to form the climax of the novel and we finally find out what happened over 20 years ago.
Though a good novel, a few parts of it did not work for me: Sam really was not that likeable and it was just hard for me to think of someone having a huge high school grudge 20+ years later.
I really did enjoy reading about the town of Ilfracombe. With Hay’s vivid descriptions I felt like I was in that town with Sam. I will be reading more from L.V. Hay in the future.
Many thanks to the publisher Hodder & Stoughton for granting me an arc copy.