|A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell
The thing nobody knows about you. The thing you've left in your past and sworn to yourself you would never share with anyone. It's ok, we won't judge. After all, we have one too...
A Simple Favor is your classic "you thought you knew them so well" thriller. Or, at least, it seemed that way for a little while and then it turned into "literally does anyone even know themselves what the fuck is going on around here". And it was a slippery slope from one to the other- I couldn't stop reading this fucking book.
I won't lie, I read it because the marketing for the upcoming movie (starring one of my spirit animals, Anna Kendrick, and my wifey goal, Blake Lively) made me want to see it, but we all know the rule- cannot see the movie until you've read the book. So I downloaded this one while I was sick one weekend, figuring it would keep me occupied.
It kept me up all goddamn night.
We start with the disappearance of Stephanie's best friend, Emily. We learn from Stephanie, that she and Emily have become the best of friends over time through the friendship of their sons. She finds that Emily is a caring shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen, and a sounding board to help her through the difficult time of finding her place in this world after losing her husband. And Emily is everything Stephanie wishes she is; while happy as a stay at home mom living off of life insurance and blogging about being a stay at home mom, Stephanie still can't help but admire the ritzy jet-set life Emily and her husband Sean are living. As head of PR for a haute couture fashion house, Emily wears the nicest clothes. She has a fancy car. She has a beautiful house.
It seems like all Stephanie can think and talk about is her best friend. Who has gone missing. And, as the person who knows her better than anyone else in the world- even better than the husband, who she knows from Emily doesn't "connect" with her emotionally- Stephanie knows that there's no way the devoted mother would ever run away from her life and abandon her child.
We all have that thing.
Emily has that thing.
And Stephanie also has that thing. And, to be honest, I kinda still feel like Stephanie's thing is bigger.
This book is so full of twists and turns, I almost needed to take notes to keep track. But it won't give you a case of whiplash- the twists are exciting, and the turns are jaw dropping. As soon as I finished reading it, I couldn't wait for the movie to come out so I could see these amazing actresses tear up these characters.
It is intense, to say the least. The characters are far more three dimensional than you normally see in an "unreliable narrator" novel (of whom we get three in this one.)
The Final Breakdown:
It's a fun read, but it's still a very "of the moment" read. Unreliable narrators are pretty much everywhere you turn these days (and too many of them, in my opinion, are female, but that's a different article.) Not breaking any boundaries here, but still super entertaining. Highly recommend as a beach read.
There were some twists I saw coming, but there were other twists I definitely didn't. Bell shows a great skill at carefully crafting a complex situational suspense.
Honestly, I would dare you to DNF this book. (Once you got past the part that's told through Stephanie's blog posts, I mean. That part grated my nerves to no fucking end.)