Becky and Jamie are getting by just fine, but Jamie wants more than 'fine' for their lives together. Becky is hesitant when Jamie then strikes up a friendly conversation with Mel and Paul in a bar in Spain and starts to make serious waves in their financial security. Will they actually be able to make their dreams come true, or, are Mel and Paul not what they seem? Making new friends always comes with risks...
Another Zooloo Book Tour review for you today! Thank you Zoé for including me on this tour, as well as Daniel Hurst and Inkubator Books for an electronic review copy! The tour concludes today but some wonderful bloggers have already shared their thoughts, check them out here!
The opening chapters really hooked me into this novel. Introducing Becky and Jamie as rational and realistic people dreaming of something 'more' immediately connects me as a reader to them. They felt as if they'd been plucked from my street in the Midlands, they could have been anyone just trying to navigate their financially constrained lives. Hurst picks two similar personalities but gives Jamie the edge of optimism. That edge develops the plot and even though he wants 'more' than Becky, Jamie doesn't become this irrational and power-hungry character I expected of him, he had the purest of motives for having a more stable bank account.
By making both Becky and Jamie actually likeable I really wanted to continue reading to make sure everything worked out. And, without revealing too much about the plot, Hurst definitely knows how to work the scale of 'likeable' for his characters. We get lovely, likeable characters, alongside 'on the fence' characters and utterly dislikable characters.
I wouldn't necessarily call this a 'thriller', it definitely unsettled me in the sense that there are people out there that are this diabolical and my heart really felt for Becky and Jamie but it wasn't edge-of-my-seat thrilling. When the revenge comes I couldn't put my Kindle down but it was more of a "I have to know what happens!" vibe instead. With that being said, the plot itself and changing narrative really kept me engaged with being exceptionally "thrilled" by the developments. Hurst pulls on the aspirations of most of his readers, wanting to be "well-off" is something we've all thought of and by writing about the risks involved in our own goals it does make the reader more nervous and gets them reading to the end for the "happy ending".
The New Friends is definitely one to read if you want to connect to a character and see development from bad to good whilst revealing the depths of humanity's greed. For me it was definitely enjoyable and the ending was perfectly scripted to round off the story as a whole but I wanted more than one or two scenes of "thrilling" action.