The Things We Do to Our Friends – Heather Darwent

Another stunning cover this month!

Thanks to Random House for the gifted copy in exchange for my honest review

THE THINGS WE DO TO OUR FRIENDS – Heather Darwent (Released January 10th, 2023)

Book Description:

She’s an outsider desperate to belong, but the cost of entry might be her darkest secret in this intoxicating debut of literary suspense following a clique of dangerously ambitious students at the University of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh, Scotland: a moody city of labyrinthine alleyways, oppressive fog, and buried history; the ultimate destination for someone with something to hide. Perfect for Clare, then, who arrives utterly alone and yearning to reinvent herself. And what better place to conceal the dark secrets in her past than at the university in the heart of the fabled, cobblestoned Old Town?

When Clare meets Tabitha, a charismatic, beautiful, and intimidatingly rich girl from her art history class, she knows she’s destined to be friends with her and her exclusive circle: raffish Samuel; shrewd Ava; and pragmatic Imogen. Clare is immediately drawn into their libertine world of sophisticated dinner parties and summers in France. The new life she always envisioned for herself has seemingly begun.

And then Tabitha reveals a little project she’s been working on, one that she needs Clare’s help with. Even though it goes against everything Clare has tried to repent for. Even though their intimacy begins to darken into codependence. But as Clare starts to realize just what her friends are capable of, it’s already too late. Because they’ve taken the plunge. They’re so close to attaining the things they want. And there’s no going back.

What is the cost of an extraordinary life if others have to pay? Reimagining the classic themes of obsession and striving with an original and sinister edge, The Things We Do to Our Friends is a seductive thriller about the toxic battle between those who have, and those who covet–between the desire to truly belong, and the danger of being truly known.

My Thoughts: 3/5 stars

I really wanted to love this one more than I did. THE THINGS WE DO TO OUR FRIENDS is Heather Darwent’s debut novel and while I like the dark academia thrillers there was just something that didn’t work for me. Don’t get me wrong, and the setting and characters were so well developed – like you can appreciate how much work and time she put into everything. This is more on the slower side, so if you’re hoping for a thriller then you should adjust those reading expectations before starting. I think that was one of the issues I ended up having. Gotta love when our own expectations end up ruining things.

Like I mentioned, the setting was so beautifully set and the detail was incredible. The characters were also fully formed and fleshed out to where you really got into their heads. When I say some of these characters were unlikable and horrible to each other, I’m not exaggerating in the slightest! These relationships were truly the definition of toxic and I just can’t get enough of them sometimes. I think, overall, the part that brought down my rating was the slow pacing. Parts did feel a little repetitive and disjointed but based on other reviews, I’m in the minority with this book. Even though it didn’t completely work for me as a reader, there’s not denying that Darwent can tell a great story, so I plan on picking up her next book.

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