Title: The Exclusives
Author: Rebecca Thornton
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥
My partner recently read The Exclusives and recommended it to me. She couldn’t put it down, and I found that I couldn’t either once I got into it!
The book is set in an exclusive girls’ boarding school in London, UK. Josephine and Freya are the best of friends, and after Josephine is named Head Girl in her boarding school house, they head out to celebrate one last time before the heavy responsibilities of the year set in. The author reveals very early in the book that something awful goes down, and it seems to be something that changes all of the girls involved significantly and fundamentally. But the charming thing about this book is that you don’t really find out exactly what happened that night until close to the end.
The chapters alternate between 1996, the year “the big thing” happened, and 2014, the present day. Thoughts and flashbacks from that night haunt Josephine still, and early on you learn that the girls aren’t friends anymore. It must have been something truly awful that happened on that fateful night!
I really found the book to be a page turner, and I read it within a couple of days. I have to admit that there were certain times in the book when I just wanted to skip to the end already and find out what it was that went down between those two girls! I’m not sure whether it was just that I was slow on the uptake, but I felt that it would have been nice to have a few more breadcrumb-like clues throughout the book.
Since the Enid Blighton series The Naughtiest Girl in School, I’ve always had a fascination with stories about boarding schools, and this one didn’t disappoint from that viewpoint.
Overall, I thought the book was quite well done. It really kept me guessing until quite close to the end, and there were several twists and turns that I just didn’t see coming. I recommend this book to you if you like to read about boarding schools (I feel like that’s something that captures a lot of people’s imaginations). Also if you like reading about the politics and changing dynamics between a group of teenagers, and in particular teenage girls, this would be right up your alley.
If you’re good at guessing what’s coming next and you’re not a fan of predictability, then you might want to skip this one. The book kept me guessing, but I did feel like if I had been just a little more attentive, it might have been easy to see what was going to happen.