Title: Look What You Made Me Do
Author: Nikki Smith
Date of publication: April 1st 2021
Genre: psychological thriller
Format reviewed: proof
Number of pages: 336
Sisters Jo and Caroline are used to hiding things from each other. They’ve never been close – taking it in turns to feel on the outside of their family unit, playing an endless game of favourites.
Jo envies Caroline’s life – things have always come so easy to her. Then a family inheritance falls entirely to Jo, and suddenly now Caroline wants what Jo has. Needs it, even.
But just how far will she go to get it?
Look What You Made Me Do was an Instagram coup de foudre. I saw the book once. It caught me eye. I am a sucker for domestic noirs and family stories. I saw it again. I read a few reviews. I knew I had to read it. I felt the familiar itch of a book calling me. I am very grateful to have received a copy of it before I started scratching at my skin in anticipation of the book getting to me after publication!!!
What to say? Hello dysfunctional family! Wow! I have read much dark and heavy stuff around family keeping things from each other that would end in it killing them, but man Look What You Made Me Do is on another level!
Two sisters, two point of views. It is funny how we feel and interpret things we share so differently. Jo and Caroline have never been close. Their family seemed cut in half. Mom and Caroline on one side, Dad and Jo on the other side. No bridge in between. A ruthless game of favorites. At least, this is the image you get pretty much straight away, and the choice of Nikki Smith to give each sister a chapter reinforced this strong impression. I don’t have sisters, however I love reading about them. Like romantic or platonic relationships, the bond that connects sisters can take a million shapes and forms and I simply enjoy getting a glimpse of what life is for those who are lucky? To experience it.
If at first, I believed the gap between Caroline and Jo was never to be overcome, some cracks in their chapters made me think mending was not out of the question. But how? And how had they ended up in this situation? But I’m getting ahead of myself here!
Both are married and with kids. Caroline’s son is travelling during his gap year. Jo’s daughters are younger and at school. Their husbands… Next time people ask me why I won’t get married, I’ll send them a copy of this book! Neither deserved my love. Still, the author managed to instil something addictive in their stories so I would never lose interest in their games. That’s how you know you’re in good hands.
We will never learn, will we? Secrets and unsaid words are poison that, coupled with our biased vision of our world and those around us, can be our worst enemies. Look What You Made Me Do is filled with those little dark corners that literally smother the characters and pull them apart.
Jo and Caroline’s dad passes away, and for a long time, I thought this was the turning point, the avalanche that launched quite a mayhem… and I was wrong. This event was merely the tip of the iceberg, and the toxic yet exquisite narrative created enough heat for the white coat to melt and reveal worse, much worse!
Working together, living close enough, and yet, Jo and Caroline could not be further apart, in their personalities as much as in their lives. Yet, they have more in common than they suspect. Both are trapped in invisible cages that force their hand and pushes them to act…
Goodness, this book was emotionally charged. I felt like a kettle, going through all stages until my blood was boiling and I was so angry, so invested in the story, that I thought I’d explode! The toxicity in this novel is powerful, like one of those super expensive perfume that stays around long after the person who was wearing it (or who bathed in it!) leaves the area. But, weirdly, there is also hope. Tiny threads of hope among the fear, the recriminations, the bad memories and the bruises.
Look What You Made Me Do feels impossibly real, cleverly blending grief and secrets, wrapping the characters in a blanket of everyday and more uncommon issues…
You can now grab your copy! (the ebook is 99p at the time this review is published!) Amazon
Thank you very much to Nikki and Alex for sending me a copy of this book, and to Alex for inviting me to be part of this tour!