Title: What My Best Friend Did
Author: Lucy Dawson
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: ARC from Library Thing
First line: “Can you tell me what’s happened, Alice?” says the calm voice on the end of the phone.
From the outside, Alice would appear to have it all: a fantastic boyfriend who loves her and is ready to settle down, a rising career as a freelance photographer, and good friends. She’s not quite sure she’s at the “time to settle down” stage, however, and when she meets the beautiful and vibrant Gretchen, her world of parties and excitement is enticing. Alice becomes more and more entangled with Gretchen and her life, even becoming attracted to Gretchen’s brother, Bailey. At first she loves the whirlwind of shopping and parties, the emotional high that Gretchen always seems to be on – but then events start to spiral out of control. Alice discovers that Gretchen has a secret – and that secret may not be the darkest thing about her new friend.
What My Best Friend Did is a strong psychological thriller masquerading as chick lit. It starts out with Alice dialing for an ambulance to come get Gretchen, who has taken a bunch of pills with some alcohol. Alice accompanies her unconscious friend to the hospital, distraught and frantic. The entire chapter reads as you would expect, until the last sentence: “I can’t stop thinking: Please don’t wake up, please don’t wake up, please don’t wake up.”
Alice then starts to tell the reader the story of her friendship with Gretchen. As the reader, you can immediately see the danger signs in Alice’s quick willingness to abandon her old friends and old life for her friendship with Gretchen, but can also understand the attraction. As the book progresses, the sense of impending disaster grows stronger and stronger, and yet the story pulls you inevitably onward, not permitting you to look away or stop until you understand the events that led to Alice’s 999 (like 911 in Britain) phone call.
What My Best Friend Did delves into the psyche of female friendship and how easy it is to allow oneself to be manipulated, used, and deceived. It wasn’t difficult to see that Gretchen was not quite what she appeared, and yet I was still surprised when I finally read the scene that portrayed the final minutes leading up to the alcohol and pills that put Gretchen in a coma and into the hospital. The ending kept me guessing through the last few pages, which I read with breathless suspense.
My ARC copy of What My Best Friend Did is up for grabs – first reader from the US or Canada to comment and say, “I want it,” gets it. 🙂