Did I Say You Could Go? by Melanie Gideon, 5 Stars

Have you ever had a friend that is almost too close? Like not only do they want to spend time with you, but they want to spend every waking moment with you? And you start to feel a little suffocated and maybe a little stalked? I haven’t had many friends like this in my life, but there have been a few. And if you can’t spot them coming, it’s hard to untangle yourself once they’ve drawn you into their web.

I’ve learned to spot them now, so that I can give them a wide berth. They are usually people who are lonely, looking for validation. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I just tend to be a little bit of a free spirit so I ain’t got time for that craziness! Did I Say You Could Go? is a cautionary tale of what can happen when you’re already stuck.

From the Publisher:

When Ruth, a wealthy divorcee, offers to host the Hillside Academy kindergarten meet-and-greet, she hopes this will be a fresh start for her and her introverted daughter, Marley. Finally, they’ll be accepted into a tribe. Marley will make friends and Ruth will be welcomed by the mothers. Instead, the parents are turned off by Ruth’s ostentatious wealth and before kindergarten even begins, Ruth and Marley are outcasts.

The last guest to arrive at the meet-and-greet is Gemma, a widow and a single mother to her daughter, Bee. Ruth sets her sights on the mother-daughter duo, and soon the two families are inseparable. Ruth takes Gemma and Bee on Aspen vacations, offers VIP passes to Cirque de Soleil, and pays for dinners at Michelin-starred restaurants. For Gemma, who lives paycheck to paycheck, Ruth’s largesse is seductive, but as the years go by, she can’t shake the feeling that she’s accruing an increasingly unpayable debt. When Ruth’s affair with a married Hillside dad is exposed, and she’s publicly shunned, Gemma uses it to sever ties with Ruth.

Six years later, when Gemma finds herself embroiled in a scandal of her own—Ruth comes to her defense. Their renewed friendship rehabilitates their reputations, but once again, Gemma starts to feel trapped as Ruth grows more and more obsessed with their relationship.

A relentless page-turner, Did I Say You Could Go is the story of friendships steeped in lies and duplicity. It’s about two families, when pushed to extremes, cross the line with devastating results.

My Review:

Ruth just wants people to like her. And it should be easy since she’s beautiful and has more money than God, right? Except somehow it isn’t. She experienced loss at a young age and it jacked her up. So much in fact that it’s hard for her to form relationships, both romantic and with friends. But she’s desperate for a connection.

Enter Gemma. An unsuspecting single mother who’s hustling to provide for her daughter after being widowed. Ruth is ruthless (ha!) at the lengths that she will go to be friends with Gemma, especially after she thought she had lost her forever. It’s obsessive, it’s crazy and it’s not actually that unbelievable. We’ve all met people with a few screws loose, and after some of the stories I’ve heard, these people do exist.

I really don’t want to say much more, because this book is amazing. As each crazy detail leads into the next, this book with scratch every single itch you have to gossip IRL. I think this is why people like reality TV? But this is fiction so you indulge guilt free! Did I Say You Could Go? is an amazing page-turner that really gets into the dark world of how far some people will go for a best friend.

I would recommend Did I Say You Could Go? to fans of Bridget Jones’ Diary, and Jane Green. Special thanks to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for an advanced e-galley in exchange for my honest review. This one is out August 3, 2021. It’s the perfect read to sneak in before the end of summer. Pre-order your copy:

Indiebound

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