Saturday 9 April 2016

The Exclusives: No One Can Hurt You More Than A Friend - Rebecca Thornton

The Exclusives is a dual time story about friendship, betrayal and the darker side of boarding school.

The year is 1996 and Josephine Grey is a high achieving student at Greenwood Hall who appears to have it all. She's just been chosen as head girl, has a perfect friendship with best friend Freya and is confident about securing a coveted place at Oxford but this isn't Malory Towers and the story soon takes a dark turn when something happens on a night out.

Fast forward to 2014 and Josephine is now working on an archaeological site in Jordan and hasn't thought about her school days until she receives an unexpected email from Freya asking to meet her to talk about "that night" but Josephine has no wish to revisit the past and open old wounds that caused a rift between them so goes to great lengths to avoid her old friend. As time passes and the memories start trickling back it soon becomes clear to Josephine that maybe meeting up with Freya is exactly what she needs.

This is a clever book as the author keeps back the secret of what happened on that night for a good three quarters of the book but without sacrificing anything of the plot or losing the readers interest. The characters are both engaging and believable and although it was easy to feel sympathy for both Josephine and Freya at times they were frustratingly annoying in their reluctance to face up to things and actually sit down and be honest with each other.

For a debut novel, Rebecca Thornton has written a very accomplished novel that had me eagerly turning the pages to find out exactly what happened on that fateful night and I'm looking forward to reading more from her.

With kind thanks to Bonnier Publishing for the review copy.

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