This is a completely engrossing read. I did what I seldom do – received this, opened it, began reading immediately and continued until I’d read it, virtually at one sitting.
That’s not to say it’s a lightweight read either, although it’s easy enough to follow. It just grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.
It’s the story of Edie and Heather, who were friends at school, Edie was loud and confident, she’s the first one to try things, make-up, boys, drinking. Shy, plump Heather is the quieter one, she doesn’t make friends well, is a little bit of a misfit, the one people snigger at behind their hands for her non-coolness. Neither completely fit in, this pair need the closeness of a best mate. The 2 girls gravitate together. Both with fractured and difficult family lives they seem as needy as each other, but Heather perhaps more than most. Together with a couple more girls they form their own little clique which Heather sometimes feels on the outskirts of.
But when Edie meets the devastatingly handsome but wild and unpredictable atypical bad lad, Connor and falls head over heels in a doomed love affair with him Heather gets her nose pushed out. She loves Edie and doesn’t want to see her hurt so vows to try and stick around to protect her. This has repercussions which haunt the girls in later life.
I could relate to so much of the teenage angst both girls experience. Insecurities, longings and failings make them seem so human, that by the time I emerged from my reading fest I was not just shaken and shocked, I was confused - Had I been there with them? Were these real girls I’ve known?
Fast forward 16 years. We don’t know what happened to drive these 2 girls apart. We do know that Edie hasn’t made a complete success of her life, living in a poky flat she is single and pregnant and has been working as a waitress. She is also pretty isolated, has no friends to speak of, has lost touch with her family and frankly she’s daunted by the prospect of single motherhood.
Then there’s a knock on her door, and Heather shows up. Her face is the last one Edie expected to see and despite offering friendship and help she seems more scared than pleased to see her old best friend. But Heather’s made contact and isn’t about to let go easily.
What follows is a portrait of doomed friendships, obsession, secrets and guilt. Both parties are deeply flawed, events from the past unfold insidiously and ominously revealing a doomed friendship tainted by bad decisions and misplaced loyalties, between 2 girls neither of whom are the most stable of characters but both are really likeable.
My sympathy veered wildly from one girl to the other. In fact both girls gained my empathy so what could have just been a tense nail biter became also a haunting emotional expedition between past and present. Damaged girls become damaged women and its inevitable that their early years have had a huge impact on their lives, but is it just the after effects of coming from shattered backgrounds and mixing with the wrong people, or is there much more behind the girls story? Oh I think you know already there must be!
Although each girl is at times painted in varying shades of black I actually liked both of them and was rooting for first one then the other and finally for both, you can never quite decide who did what to whom, until the stunning climax, which made the final twist of the knife all the more shocking and agonising. This book left me reeling I felt as though I’d been punched in the gut and I recommend it unreservedly if you like people based, emotional stories with plenty of twists and turns. An awesome read.
I received my copy from Shelley and Louise, the Lovereading book review team, on behalf of the publisher, the excellent Harper Collins in exchange for my honest review.
Thanks Girls you picked a Good’un.
The Blurb ....
Beautiful, creative, a little wild - Edie caused a stir when she walked into Heather’s life. Back when they both had dreams for the future. Before it all went horribly, terrifyingly wrong…
Years later Edie is pregnant and alone, desperately trying to rebuild her life. But someone’s been watching her, waiting for the chance to prove what a perfect friend she can be.
It’s no coincidence that Heather shows up just when Edie needs her the most.
A dark secret lies between them and Edie’s about to learn that those who have hurt us deeply—or who we have hurt—never let us go…