Despite my love of reading, I had never been part of a book club until quite recently. Last month, my friend asked me if I wanted to join her virtual book club to keep people connected through literature during the quarantine. An excuse to read books and talk about them with other people? I was in.
She named the club "Waiting for Merlot," both an accurate statement and a play on words. The members of the club received an email with a list of genres and potential time periods. After the vote, we ended on a contemporary mystery. As luck would have it, Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson is a contemporary mystery about none other than a suspenseful event that begins as women meet one evening attending their local book club. What book could be more appropriate?
Admittedly, I haven't finished the book yet, but I am super close. Jackson's words flow into one another like water, perhaps reflecting the metaphorical importance of water in the text. The main character, Amy, is a diving instructor, and underneath the water is her safe place. She feels safe from the world, from her misdeeds, from her mysterious past. It is this mysterious past that threatens to break up her perfect little suburban-mom life should her husband, Davis, her stepdaughter, Madison, and her best friend, Charlotte ever find out.
I won't give anything away, but if you enjoy layered writing with complex symbolism and multiple plot twists that reads like a mixture of Hold Still by Lynn Steger Strong and In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, this is a book you would enjoy. Despite the heavy, lyrical quality of the writing, the book moves quickly. For perspective, I generally read slowly, and I got to page 200 in a day and a half. Even after two glasses of Moscato made my eyelids heavy, I read long into the night. If anything is a testament to the quality of this novel, it is the fact that it has kept me reading, exploring the layers of Amy's life. I am eager to solve the mystery.