The Things We Do To Our Friends

A Sunday Times bestselling deliciously 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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Description

'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

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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 . . .

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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

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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...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780241538821
PRICE £14.99 (GBP)
PAGES 384

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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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OMG THIS BOOK WAS GOOD. It was dark, chilling with a toxic undertone and a creepy, obsessive atmosphere. It was well written with well developed characters and I couldn't put it down. I loved it.

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The Things We Do To Our Friends toys with you from start to finish, setting up your expectations before whirling you around and sending you, off balance, in another direction. It's a spell-binding debut that artfully balances the fearful state of being young and fitting in with the fear of darker, weirder impulses. Things that not every teenager feels, perhaps.

Our protagonist Clare arrives at Edinburgh University trying to literally and figuratively make herself, and soon falls in with the impossibly glamorous Tabitha and her small clique of rich friends. It's a world that's dangerous for Clare in the unwritten rules she has to navigate, but also the dangerous honeytrap scheme they start running together, Darwent seems to ratchet the tension up almost effortlessly, and you're never quite sure whether Clare wants to be Tabitha or wants to be with Tabitha - or what Tabitha wants either. What We Do To Our Friends is sticky, dark, and needle-sharp - like pretty little teeth cracking a creme brûlée.

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The perfect dark academia read for autumn! Finally a book set in a Scottish university and with such a strange but intriguing group of "friends". It follows them over their time studying at uni and their extracurricular activities with a possibly darker nature. I love how it is told from the point of view of older Clare so you have hints at the events throughout and the references to her childhood that is only revealed at the end. Amazing story and characters!

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Absolutely amazing read! Such a captivating read! Amazing cover art that was super eye catching would definitely recommend to all! Super super read

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This book pulled me in from the very beginning and I was soon lost in a world of toxic friendships and secrets, all set in the dark corners of Edinburgh's grandiose New Town. Darwent writes young women so well, and captures the heart of Edinburgh as her gothic backdrop.

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Clare wants a new start when she starts university in Edinburgh where nobody knows her and the constraints of her past will not affect who she can be. To be self-efficient and feel like you belong surely isn’t too much to ask for? Then she finds a group that provide excitement, escape from mundanity, and that enigmatic dynamic that makes you want to be accepted and they do so want her. How intoxicating. But all friendships have unique dynamics, some more complicated than others. I guess a lot of friendships are based on how much that works for us.

Do we really know our strengths and our true selves? Fighting against who we naturally are is exhausting. Fighting against who we are told we are is confusingly soul destroying. A chilling novel that explores many levels of nature versus nurture. An addictive read that could easily produce a sequel!

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This was perfect. It was exactly what I expected when I r4ead the description and more. I love a book about toxic, manipulative friendships and this definitely delivered. A kind of twisted feminist undertone was present throughout and it was really enticing. The plot twists and development were gripping and its definitely an unforgettable read.
I read the book quite staggered so I did occasionally struggle to keep up with the timeline, but that's just me.
Overall a fantastic read, definitely recommend it.

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The start of a new friendship with the cool kids of her art class , takes Clare in a direction she could not have expected. Desperate to belong to this wealthy clique and eager to escape her past, the cost does not seem too high at first but quickly becomes too much to pay. But what do you do when nobody wants you to quit? A slow paced but brilliant read which takes you from Majestic Edinburgh to Sunny south of France. More than a clash of classes, a real study of human nature and greed.

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This had be gripped from the beginning. I could not put it down. It was an extremely disturbing story about the imbalance of female toxic friendships at its most unpleasant and sinister level. Throughout obsessions, control and class ebbed and flowed.
Throughout there were backstop revelations of the main characters which could be shocking..
An amazing debut and exciting read.

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This was such a fun festive read - a speedy page turner, and it even reminded me of some of Bret Easton Ellis's novels where it's heavily focused on rich kids and their antics. This was deliciously toxis and so much fun - perfect for anyone wanting some proper entertainment!

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This is a richly layered thriller with an intriguing narrator and a darkly alluring cast of characters. The imagery is really unsettling and bold, and there's a sense of impending dread - and morbid curiosity - that keeps you hooked. I did find it was one of those book where I was so eager to find out what was happening that I probably read it a bit too fast, but that's not a complaint! Fans of Bunny by Mona Awad will enjoy the academic setting and toxic female friendships here.

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A really intriguing read about secrets and friendships. Clare has moved from Paris to live with her grandmother. She has been accepted into the University of Edinburgh. She is a loner but is desperate to fit in and make friends. When Clare meets Tabitha in her history art class she is drawn into Tabitha’s world and friendship group. It is a world far from her own, they have wealth, confidence and so Clare feels herself being immersed and overwhelmed. When Tabitha proposes a money making project secrets are drawn out and Clare realises she has be manipulated and used.
This is a great read which is scary, toxic and sinister. Highly recommended.

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