The Things We Do to Our Friends
INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER • She’s an outsider desperate to belong, but the cost of entry might be her deepest secret in this intoxicating debut about a clique of dangerously ambitious students, “perfect for fans of dark academia stories like The Secret History and If We Were Villains” (Cosmopolitan).
“One of the best suspense debuts I’ve read in years . . . Heather Darwent delivers one artful tease after another until you are completely lost in this labyrinth of clever women and obsessive friendship.”—Julia Heaberlin, bestselling author of We Are All the Same in the Dark
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 secrets of 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 become 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.
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 everything they want. And there’s no going back.
Reimagining the classic themes of obsession and ambition 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Toxic friendships propel this twisted thriller from debut author Heather Darwent. Newly arrived in Edinburgh, college student Clare falls in with an alluring and domineering new group of friends headed by queen bee Tabitha. As Tabitha pulls Clare into the group’s strange shared hobby, the story gets more intense and shivery. We loved Clare’s weird, morose worldview, and we were fascinated to learn about the secrets she so desperately wants to keep hidden. Clare’s first-person narration feels almost like a journal, giving us impressionistic insights into each character and making each shocking twist feel all the more personal. This riveting tale is a must-read for fans of dark academia and anyone who likes psychological thrillers.
Little is as it initially appears in Darwent's deviously plotted debut. The young woman now known as Clare, who was disowned by her parents at 16 following an "episode" that isn't fully disclosed until later, arrives at university in Edinburgh to study art history and laser-focused on reinventing herself—an enterprise that gets off to a better start than she could have hoped when an encounter at the bar where she's working leads to her clicking with classmate Tabitha, the lanky blonde, elegantly louche queen bee of a circle of privileged chums since boarding school. Though Clare initially approaches every invitation to her aspirational bestie's elegant Georgian flat as something of an audition, Tabitha proves to have just as much riding on cultivating her—for a key role in the potentially life-altering but treacherous "project" she and her pals have been secretly planning and which could shatter Clare's fresh start. Despite an uneven pace, the suspense rises, and if the characters don't always ring true, they, like a nest of vipers, are tough to take one's eyes off of. Darwent is off to an auspicious start. Agent: Emily Glenister, DHH Literary.