Best Friends Forever

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Member Reviews

WOW! What an emotionally charged thriller this is, in the end, somewhat heartbreaking. BEST FRIENDS FOREVER is the first book by Dawn Goodwin I have read and it won't be my last. I really enjoyed the emotional roller-coaster I was on with Anna and Vicky throughout that I wasn't sure where or how it was going to end.

Before I go any further, I MUST state that there are a couple of triggers that may effect some.
Rape
Child abuse
Animal cruelty

So where do I start? BEST FRIENDS FOREVER is the story of the lifelong toxic friendship between Vicky and Anna as they grow from teenagers into women now approaching their 40s. Given that they were 13 in 1986 my rough estimate is that they were 39 at the climax surrounding the London Olympics in 2012. Having been friends since high school, I really couldn't understand how such a friendship could really stand the test of time. But they are completely co-dependent on each other and as they grew older, so they continued to be.

Anna is, to put it bluntly, a bitch. She is devious, manipulative and always craves attention - none of which she gets at home. As an only child, her parents are distant but rich. Her mother is a flaky alcoholic while her father is a habitual philandering womaniser. 

Vicky is the complete opposite of Anna. She is quiet, meek, insecure and submissive - perfect for Anna to control. And Vicky allows it because she couldn't bear to lose the one and only person who has ever loved her. So desperate for love are both of these girls/women that they are willing to do almost anything to maintain it. There couldn't be anything more toxic.

The story begins with Vicky pondering recent events when she receives a phone call from David, Anna's husband, to say that Anna is dead. Vicky is shocked and devastated to lose the one person who knew and loved her. But did she really? Honestly? Could what they have had really be called "love"? There are times I'm sure she hated Anna but at the same time she couldn't be without her. They were like a drug to each other. It was pretty toxic.

So in the aftermath of Anna's death, David is struggling to cope. His world has fallen from beneath him and he spends his days in an abyss of grief. His mother Louise stays with him for a few weeks to help him get back on his feet but there comes a point when David must learn to pick up the pieces himself and move on - for the sake of their children, Harper and Lewis. But David is still struggling to keep things together and when Vicky stops by to see how they are doing she finds the house littered with takeaway containers and dirty dishes with the children glued to the TV, amusing themselves, and David lost in a void amidst it all.

Vicky takes charge and moves in with them to bring order back into the children's lives while David goes back to work. He finds that Vicky's presence is a Godsend as she manages to keep the place going, the children happy and everyone fed - something he struggled to do. He is so impressed he ends up asking her to to stay on as the children's nanny, for which he would pay her, as they adore her and he admits that he use the help. It's the perfect solution for everyone. Or is it?

It's no secret that Anna liked everything to be perfect. She wanted the perfect life, the perfect husband, to live in a perfect house with the perfect children and have the perfect job. She worked hard to make this happen so everything would remain...perfect. So when she died suddenly, Anna's perfect life ended...leaving Vicky with the chance to have a taste of that perfect life she left behind.

But Anna was far from perfect. She was a complete bitch that had me twisted in knots throughout most of the story. A despicable person, I felt nothing but contempt for her. She was an entitled narcissist who was so obviously a sociopath. She had no remorse for anything she did or who she hurt, trampling over anyone to get what she wanted. To her, their feelings were not her problem. Even as a wife and mother, Anna was bored. She just could not see how lucky she was...because she wanted more. And what Anna wanted, Anna got. But what made me hate Anna even more was her brutal attack on her mother's cat in such an uncontrollable rage that Vicky had to stop her. But it was too late...and Anna still didn't care.

My heart ached for Vicky. I could relate to her and identify with some aspects of her personality as a quiet, meek and somewhat insecure young girl who just ached to be loved. So low is her self worth that even when she has been wronged she will still apologise and blame herself. Her young life goes from one trauma to another as she just yearns for acceptance. And when abuse she endures at home becomes too much to bear, Anna hatches a sinister plan to help Vicky escape. But it came with a cost which bound Vicky in a whole new way to Anna, who never missed the chance to hold it over her whenever she wanted Vicky to do her bidding.

This manipulation extends into their adulthood and made me just loathe Anna. Many may not like Vicky because she could appear weak when succumbing to Anna at almost every whim...and when she didn't, Anna would sulk and remind her of that one thing from her past. As if Anna herself was completely guiltless. However, if Anna did anything she taught Vicky how to be deceitful and manipulative...and this plays out in the days, weeks and months after Anna's death rather brilliantly as Vicky becomes too close, too obsessed and too desperate for that perfect life. Has she slipped up? Has she gone too far? Either way, still haunted by the secrets of her past, she continues to be influenced by Anna's transgressions.

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER is cleverly written in the past and present as we witness the evolution of their friendship, with a rather dexterous touch included in the form of letters to Anna from Vicky in the present day. Since no one else knew each other as well as they did it was rather ingenious of the author to have Vicky confide in Anna once again, despite the fact she would never read them.

This toxic tale from start to finish is both intriguing and chilling that hynotises the reader, as Anna and Vicky both play with fire and we simply can't look away. With secrets and lies, toxicity and drama, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER is fast paced, gripping and unputdownable. 

But the question remained...who wanted to kill Anna?

The only problem I had with this book was the end. Oh, it was satisfactory but it did leave you with questions...and I like things tied up in a nice little ending. This...well, it was different...an ending with a twist. It wasn't a bad ending but, for me, it wasn't perfect.

I wasn't sure what I expected when I dived into this book, but it wasn't this! I had heard mixed reviews about it so therefore I expected it to be mediocre but it was anything but! I loved it and loved to hate Anna! The  more I read, the more I hated her. And the more I hated her, the more I wanted Vicky to have the last laugh. But does she? Grab yourself a copy, read it and find out! You know you want to.

4.5 stars - due to poor Murphy and the "OK-but-not-perfect" ending.

I would like to thank #DawnGoodwin, #NetGalley and #Aria for an ARC of #BestFriendsForever in exchange for an honest review.
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Crikey what a story. 

A story about best friends Anna  and Vicky. When Anna dies Vicky sees a chance of having what she’s always wanted. 

Who killed Anna?

I honestly didn’t know what to think with so many secrets and lies. 

It’s rare that I come across a book that I dislike the main characters but this is one of them.
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I have been a fan of Dawn's work for a little while now.  I love a good psychological thriller and Dawn has written a couple of them now.  I read the synopsis and it sounded just like my kind of read.  I jumped straight in and began to read.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading 'Best Friends Forever' but more about that in a bit.
Although I loved the characters of Anna and Vicky, I can honestly say that I didn't warm to either of them at all.  Anna comes across as little Mrs. Perfect.  She has the perfect life.  She is slim, beautiful, has the perfect career, the perfect home life, the perfect husband and the perfect children.  She is also a complete narcissist.    Anna and Vicky are supposed to have been best friends but I think they would be best described as being best enemies rather than friends.  Anna then dies in uncertain circumstances.  It doesn't take long for Vicky to want to just step into Anna's shoes and try to take her place.  However, questions start to be asked about Vicky's motives as regards taking Anna's place.  The situation soon intensifies and soon becomes even more tense and there are undertones of murderous intent.
Oh my word, it didn't take me long at all to get into this book.  I got to the bottom of the first page and I just knew that this was going to be one of those books that I would binge read the book over the course of a day.  I picked the book up only intending to read a couple of chapters but I was still sat there reading over half an hour and 5 chapters later.  The pages of the book increased increasingly quickly as my desperation to discover the truth grew and grew.  The more I read, the more I wanted to read and the quicker the pages were turning.  Sadly I got to the end of the book far quicker than I had anticipated.  I was enjoying the author's writing style, the characters and the storylines so much that I just wanted the book to continue.
'Best Friends Forever' is very well written.  Dawn certainly knows how to grab your attention from the start and she keeps that attention all the way throughout the book.  I had my own suspicions as to how the story would pan out but my suspicions were wrong.  Dawn describes things so realistically that I really did feel as though I was part of the story myself.  I found myself trying to interact with the book in the sense that I wanted to cry out to warn certain characters of what other characters had in mind for them.  I then gave myself a kick and realised that the story is fiction and the characters can't hear me.
In short, 'Best Friends Forever' is one hell of a read and I would definitely recommend it to other readers.  I will definitely be reading more of Dawn's future work.  I can't wait to read what she comes up with next.  Here's hoping that we don't have too long to wait.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.
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Twists and turns, a little bit creepy - this is a cracking read!

Anna is dead. Her husband, their children and her best friend are devastated. But what really happened? That's what we're here to find out but, trust me, it's not that straightforward. Following the lives of husband David, both children as well as best friend Vicky, we discover a labyrinth of secrets and lies - which to believe?

This is a beautifully structured story, reeling the reader in to understand and sympathise with the main character's plight. She spins a wonderful tale, and I was drawn in from the word go. But how did Anna die? No-one seems to know the full story, but as we travel back to when she and Vicky first met at school, we discover so much about both of them, but it's clear there is something we don't know. As the book unfolds, there is some very clever writing turning us first one way and then another but I had no idea exactly where it was all leading until it was spelled out clearly in the last few pages. Wow, what a read! Masterfully told and riveting throughout, this is absolutely a five star read, and a sparkling one at that.

My thanks to publisher Aria for my copy via NetGalley, and especially to Vicky Joss for my spot in this Blog Tour. As always, all opinions are completely hones an entirely my own.
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This is a complicated story full of lies, deception and twists dating back to school days. I enjoyed it and would recommend it
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Favorite Quotes:

He smiled at her and everything around them seemed to hold still for a moment, like a caught breath.

Brian had a squashed face like a fat troll, all folds and furrows. His gut hung over his well-worn belt and his shirt strained at the buttonholes. Vicky had never liked him. 

Secrets and lies. That’s what friends are for.

My Review:

I am still vacillating in how I feel and in how to rate this twisty and complex story of retribution, manipulation, lies, and secrets.  The characters were not admirable or all that likable as people, yet I had empathy for several.  Sometimes poor choices started out as no choice, and then continue to mushroom until they pervade every inch, breath, and thought.  That is but a part of what happened in this slippery brain-burning tale that kept me on edge and off-kilter.  I devised and cast off and reworked a multitude of theories.  My curiosity and cynical nature were so active they may have overheated, and I fear the poor little pea in my brain may have been scorched.   

Anna was all kinds of wrong and simply vile, beautiful, yet rotten to the core.  She was a cruel, volatile, vain, and a manipulative and narcissist sociopath.  She had been toying with others and honing and steadily progressing her deviousness since childhood.  And Vicky was her perfect victim, needy, eager to please, lacking in confidence or self-control, and able and willing to take abuse.  And David, well, David was an idiot, completely under his wife’s spell.  In real life, I would not willingly share air with either of them and found them to be heinous and exasperating individuals, yet their encounters and exchanges made compelling dicey storylines that I just couldn’t seem to get a grip on or leave alone.  Dawn Goodwin is a crafty minx and led me on a merry chase.  So while the ending was not as satisfying as I would have desired, I have to concede to her advanced level of craft – she had me well invested and kept me guessing to the very end.
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Have you ever wanted to kill your best friend?
Anna was the perfect wife. Perfect mother. Perfect woman. And now she's dead. Leaving behind her husband, David, and two young children their lives will never be the same. But Vicky will make sure life goes on…
These two women have been best friends forever, a lifetime of secrets lies between them and now Vicky is ready to step up into Anna’s perfect shoes.
But not everything is as it seems and as David begins to question Vicky’s motives for walking in his life things might just get a little murderous. The question on everyone’s lips is, who killed Anna? And what actually happened on the night she died?

Wow what a great read this one was.
Filled with so many secrets and lies that you didn't know what to believe.
Gripped me from the very start and didn't let me go til I got to the end.
Well written plot and story line that was so gripping.
Characters have been fleshed out so well and were believeable.
Recommend reading.

I voluntarily reviewed this complimentary digital book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my very own!
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Anna and Vicky had been friends since school, Their relationship has always been a bit dysfunctional, full of manipulation, dark secrets, deceit and jealousy. When Anna is killed in a tragic accident, Vicky having always lived in Anna’s shadow, uses this a perfect opportunity to take over where Anna left off, working her way into Anna’s family. 
A brilliant, dark and intriguing story.
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Excellent psychological thriller!  It moved at a fast pace with twists and turns throughout!  Well-developed characters and plot.  Highly recommend!
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I have mixed feelings about this book. It had an interesting premise as you can read from the blurb. As you read this book which goes back and forth from present day to the past and their long friendship from school. Their relationship is so toxic and they really are not likeable characters. I persevered because I wanted to know how Anna died but the book was mediocre at best. I hate not giving great reviews but I received this book from net galley as an ARC for an honest review. I also want to thank net galley for this ARC. (less)
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Dawn Goodwin deftly and skillfully explores the many intricate layers of a toxic female friendship in her latest addictive thriller, Best Friends Forever, a must-read  chiller that will shock, grip and terrify readers everywhere.

Anna and Vicky had been best friends for decades. Despite the fact that the women couldn’t be more different from one another, their friendship seemed absolutely rock solid and nothing and nobody was going to be able to come between them. Or so they thought. When perfect wife and mother Anna dies, she leaves behind her husband David and their two young children. Life for this family is never going to be the same ever again. However, Vicky is waiting by the sidelines determined to be there for her best friend’s family. Vicky is more than happy to step into breach and help David and the kids through their grief and through this difficult and heart-breaking time. Vicky is more than happy to step into Anna’s shoes. Perhaps, some might say, a little bit too keen…

His wife’s passing had changed David’s life, however, Vicky has constantly been there by his side like a rock. Nothing is too much trouble for Vicky. However, David cannot shake off this gut-wrenching feeling that there is something not quite right about his late wife’s best friend. As David starts asking questions and digging deep into the friendship between Anna and Vicky, he is stunned by what he discovers and things soon begin to get a little more frightening and terrifying for him and his children.

Just what on earth happened the night Anna died? Who would go to such great lengths as to kill her? And is her best friend Vicky as innocent as she is making out to be? Is David ready for the shocking answers he is about to uncover? Or are some things better left dead and buried?

Dawn Goodwin certainly knows how to keep her readers turning the pages and Best Friends Forever is no different. Written with style and flair, Best Friends Forever is a sophisticated thriller where tensions run high, danger is ever present and nothing is quite what it seems. Intricately plotted, brilliantly written and spine-chillingly terrifying, Best Friends Forever is a book that will make readers question how well they really know their friends.

A page-turning emotional roller-coaster of a thriller with plenty of twists and turns, Best Friends Forever is a brilliant read grip lit fans are sure to love!
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Full on twists and turns with this book and i thoroughly enjoyed it all from start to finish! 

Really good storyline, as the title says 'Best Friends Forever'  but what really happened that night!? Did Vicky kill Narcissist Anna? Was it David Anna's Husband? was it just an accident? 

I loved the writing style here by Dawn Goodwin, you easily become invested in the characters, Even Anna though she was pretty awful to Vicky.  but you never know when the next twist comes so always on edge, completely gripping!
Cant wait to read more by this author.. 5 stars!
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2.5 stars

This had an intriguing premise, and I was able to enjoy parts of the story. I was disappointed in the ending, as I was left with a number of questions. I'm not sure if a sequel is planned that will address them or not. I also had a hard time caring about or connecting with the characters. I was never really able to get into the story as much as I'd hoped.

Trigger warning: Animal cruelty and rape
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(Also posted on my GR account!)

I wanted to like this book but some things are still nagging my mind.

What I like from it:
(1) It was different! It sounds like your usual psychological thriller but it isn't. I promise you.
(2) I love the main characters (Anna and Vicky) and I did wish that Anna was still alive and it could make the book more amazing because David was just meh

However, some dislikes:
(1) BFF should come with a warning of animal cruelty and rape
(2) David was the weakest link of all
(3) I didn't like the resolution at all, much like David, it was sort of... there
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Were Anna and Vicky really best friends?  Really?  Anna seemed to have everything-including husband David and two kids- but she also had some ugly secrets.  The only person who knew those secrets was Vicky, who in the classic way of this genre, had nothing of the happy life Anna had.  Anna is killed in a car crash but was it murder?  And if it was, who did it?  Vicky takes advantage of Anna's death to move into her life, which gets kinda creepy.  You might have read the broad outlines of this plot before but Goodwin does a nice job with her characters and there are unique twists.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  Will keep you guessing.
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Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the eARC. Vicky and Anna were best friends but Anna was the controller and narcissist. Always holding everything over Vickys head. Putting Vicky down. In the end there is a twist that you will not see coming. KARMA is one way to put it. Just when you think you know the ending! I highly recommend this book. Amazing writing and my first book from Dawn Goodwin.
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A good dark thriller that made my heart race. We’ll written with well rounded characters. Easy to read and had lots of twists and turns
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The words, “Best Friends Forever” really gives you a sense of a lifelong friendship that has endure struggles and challenges and that one special person having your back.  But what if your friendship was not like that?  What if your friends was long driven by manipulation and control?  What if you did not see a way out of this relationship?  What if you were not really sure you wanted out?  For so long your best friend was all you had, and the thought of not having her was just as hard as maintaining the relationship.
Anna was a perfect wife, mother, and had found success in her job. But when she ends up dead, will Vicky keep her secrets? Will Vicky step in to help David cope with not having Anna anymore?  Will Vicky be able to provide comfort to Anna’s 2 children?  David struggling with his grief needs to find out what really happened to Anna.  All the questions lead to Vicky and he wants answers.  What will Vicky do?  She could tell David the truth and crush him or she could take her and Anna’s secrets to grave.
This was an interesting story that kept you guess to the very end.  I was thankful to receive and advanced copy to read and I enjoyed the story.
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Anna and Vicky have been best friends since childhood. They've shared secrets that they wouldn't want anyone else to know. Vicky is not a very nice person and she has no qualms in holding things over Anna's head. When Anna is killed in a car accident, Vicky sees this as the idea opportunity to take over Anna's life, husband and children. 

I can honestly say that I did not like any of the characters in this book and if that was the authors intension, she has done a good job. The characters did not like each other either ut they also could not be apart from each other. The plot is interesting but not gripping. The ending was a little disappointing. I still managed to enjoy this story though.

I would like to thank NetGalley, Aria and the author Dawn Goodwin for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thanks to Netgalley for the advanced copy...

Oh wow! What a crazy story! Loved it!

Looking forward to read more book from this author soon...
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