This book was one of my favorites of 2018! It squeaked in as a late-December entry. This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is republished here with permission.
“Dear diary, I think I’m in love with my English teacher.”
With that opener, Lisa Jewell signals that Watching You will be unsettling, and when the prologue follows with a dead body in a pool of blood, this feeling is confirmed. The identity of the body is not revealed right away, as Jewell goes back three months to introduce all the characters in this twisty psychological drama.
Joey is a young newlywed who has just moved with her husband, Alfie, into her brother’s house in Melville Heights, a ritzy section in Bristol, England. Jack insists both he and his wife, Rebecca, love having Joey and Alfie there. Joey isn’t so sure, since Rebecca seems to avoid her.
Joey develops an instant case of lust for a neighbor, Tom, headmaster at the local school. He’s married and has a teenage son, Freddie, who sits in the upstairs bedroom window and photographs his neighbors and people in the street.
At Tom’s school is a student named Jenna who suspects she’s crossed paths with him somewhere else, years before he came to run her school. But where? And does her best friend, Bess, have a crush on him?
Watching You can be applied to all these people, who are all obsessed with someone. Jewell excels in creating complex characters, building tension and keeping readers in the dark yet riveted until the “Aha!” moments. Some situations don’t end well, but this thriller unfolds and concludes in a very satisfying way.
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