The Things We Do To Our Friends

A dark, intoxicating, compulsive tale of feminist revenge, toxic friendships, and deadly secrets

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Pub Date 12 Jan 2023 | Archive Date Not set

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'One of the best suspense debuts I've read . . . startlingly lovely, like a fine, dark silk shivering on your skin' Julia Heaberlin, We Are All the Same in the Dark


What is the cost of an extraordinary life if others have to pay?

Clare arrives at the University of Edinburgh with a secret. This is her chance for a blank slate - to finally become who she was meant to be.

And then she meets Tabitha.

Tabitha is charismatic, beautiful and intimidatingly rich. Soon Clare is sucked into her enigmatic circle of friends and their dizzying world of champagne on rooftops and summers in France.

Her new life has begun.

Then Tabitha reveals the little project they're working on, a project they need Clare's help with. And Clare can't say no.

Because they know what she did . . .


An intoxicating feminist page-turner with shades of The Secret History and Promising Young Woman, this novel will take you on a journey from Edinburgh's dazzling spires to the dripping staircases and dark alleyways of its underbelly.

'One of the best suspense debuts I've read . . . startlingly lovely, like a fine, dark silk shivering on your skin' Julia Heaberlin, We Are All the Same in the Dark


What is the cost of an...

Advance Praise

'Darwent's writing is sleek while also being modern, which is a difficult task to accomplish in my eyes. It was almost hard to believe that this was her debut novel . . . a stellar debut novel' Early Reader Review

'Take The Secret History, throw in some foie gras and make it 100 x weirder. Creepy bad girls torturing men and each other. A misanthropic delight of a book' Early Reader Review

'Darwent's writing is sleek while also being modern, which is a difficult task to accomplish in my eyes. It was almost hard to believe that this was her debut novel . . . a stellar debut novel' Early...

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ISBN 9780241538821
PRICE £14.99 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

"Secretly, I quite liked it – the idea of us as witches. Something to bind us, something wicked."

The Things We Do To Our Friends is toxic, obsessive, and disturbing. It follows Clare, an Art History undergraduate that moves to Edinburgh to reinvent herself and at once becomes enthralled by a clique of eccentric students.

It is masterfully written; the characters, the plot, the twists. Everything flowed in a way that left me gripped from start to finish. And the Edinburgh setting was the cherry on top, it being my favourite city!

I devoured this book. You should too.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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I adore a novel about toxic friendships, and this did not disappoint! I loved the darkly feminist undertones and the scheme the women set up... and the blackmail. The Edinburgh setting was the cherry on top, the perfect city for a story like this and a refreshing break from London-set thrillers.

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To make a comparison, The Things We Do to Our Friends is like The Secret History meets Bunny. I was so surprised that this was a debut!

I requested an ARC of this book due to the premise and that the story was centred around students at The University of Edinburgh. Having been a postgrad student at UoE myself, I was really excited to get into this and it didn’t disappoint!

Edinburgh is a beautifully bleak city, history towers over you wherever you go. It’s gothic and spooky with a whimsical charm - the perfect place to set a slow-burn thriller.

The Things We Do to Our Friends is toxic, vile, and manipulative. It has you convinced you know what is happening only to throw something new at you.

Not only was the novel a thriller around the toxic female friends trope, but it delved into class, privilege and obsession.

I can’t wait to see what else Heather Darwent writes in the future and everyone should add this to their tbr list.

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A superbly dark and foreboding read, one of the best novels I've read this year. Filled with sinister undercurrents and menace. The pacing and story development are done incredibly well but the highlight for me was the characters, beautifully drawn and complex it makes for a very compelling read. I really enjoyed this, it will stay with me for a long time.

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This is a claustrophobic, incredibly neatly paced novel full of unlikeable characters that draws you in from beginning to end. Clare' is at Edinburgh University and wants to to fit in and feel good about herself whatever the cost to herself and others around her. She is enthralled by what appears to be the magnetism of Tabitha and her cohort, but actually it's Clare who is the most mesmerising character and you are immersed into her world through clever references to her dark past introduced in the ambiguous prologue and then interwoven into the narrative. The unravelling of the groups "plan" and the subsequent realisation that while they all appeared to be so glamorous and exciting but in fact in the end they were all just deeply flawed - was for me the most interesting element of the story. And to be so emotionally invested as a reader in a cast of characters that are all truly so awful in their own ways is a real testament to the author and the brilliant writing style. Highly recommend.

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Compulsive, addictive, evocative.
I can't believe this is a debut, because Darwent's writing is so assured. A brilliant premise, executed with great style, convincingly dragging you into an amoral, intoxicating world of privileged university undergraduates. This book is going to be big in 2023. Thanks to Viking for the ARC

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This book is dark and compelling in all the best ways. Set mainly in Edinburgh, and surrounding the complex and sinister relationship between a group of university friends, and where that leads them, it is dark academia at its best. It reminded me of Clique, a BBC drama that I loved - in that it doesn’t shy away from exploring difficult themes and the dysfunctionality of friendships based on an inequality of power. The protagonist ‘Claire’ is both beautifully drawn and intriguing and the novel took plenty of turns I didn’t expect. Highly recommended

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Astronomical. I had the highest of hopes for this book and it delivered on every count. Heather Darwent's writing is as strong as they come, picking out minor details that no ordinary person would notice. Yet every detail layers on top of one another to create the richest of settings, the darkest of characters, and the most fantastic of plots.

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Toxicity, Obsession, Secrets,,,
A dark, disturbing, enthralling and utterly compelling tale of toxicity, obsession, secrets, friendship and feminism. When Clare arrives in Edinburgh she is determined to completely reinvent herself. Her stint in Unsiversity is her chance and she soon becomes drawn into a glamorous and deliciously alluring group of people headed by the intimidating Tabitha. Clare’s reinvention begins. With a beautifully drawn, often menacing and somewhat Gothic, backdrop and a perfectly crafted cast of characters this is an immersive read from start to finish.

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This is such an impressive and assured debut. Beautifully written, with an atmospheric evocation of the dark corners and rarefied homes of Edinburgh, Derwent’s story is a dark treat. The characters are wonderfully complex, and there are echoes of The Secret History in the gradually increasingly stakes and tension. The ending will stay with me for a long time!

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This book reminded me so much of Bunny by Mona Awad, it almost filled the hole in my heart that it left.

It’s dark, intriguing and so morally gray it had me clawing at my hair when reading some of the abstracts… I sped through this because of how short the chapters were and the unreliable narrator really forced me to keep reading the whole time.

All the characters have detailed back stories that get revealed slowly as you go along, and as the story progresses, so does our own main character. We get a glimpse of her past too, and boy does it shock you. I loved how psychological this book got, how flawed every character was, some parts really made my skin crawl.

I also adored the dark academia setting, bleak Edinburgh, mixed with scenes from Paris added to the striking imagery that really matched the core of the book, and reflected our characters too.

This book talks about toxic relationships, manipulation, morality and growth. I recommend it to anyone who loves unhinged characters, and it’s definitely a perfect pick to enter Autumn with!

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review!

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Wow! This was such a captivating read. It’s dark, with complex emotions and female and group relationships. I really liked the Scottish setting as well for such a young oriented novel! I’ll definitely look out for Darwent’s following novels.

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