The Exclusives PDF/EPUB ✓ Paperback

The Exclusives In 1996 Josephine Grey and Freya Seymour are best friends and on the brink of great success Both are students at the elite private school Greenwood Hall and Josephine the daughter of the advisor to the Prime Minister is heading for everything she has ever worked for Head Girl Oxford the demons of her mother finally abated once and for allBut in 2014 Josephine is hiding in Jordan — and has been for eighteen years since those catastrophic events in her last year at school And then one day she is found Freya whom she has not seen since those fateful four months insists on meeting to revisit their difficult past once and for all and finally lay to rest the events that have haunted their adult lives ever since But Josephine can’t bear to — it only took one night for their whole lives friendship and even selves to unravel beyond comprehension They have done truly terrible things to one another in the name of survival She most of allAll she has ever wanted was to forget but Freya is no longer willing to let her and now at last Josephine is to meet her reckoning The Exclusives is a gripping and emotional thriller that explores the power the past can have on our present and confronts how far we are willing to go when everything we prize is threatened

10 thoughts on “The Exclusives

  1. Emma Emma says:

    There's just something about boarding schools that capture my imagination Not sure why because I'm pretty sure I would have floundered in the kind of pressured oppressive close knit community Thornton relates in these pages Yet it is precisely this atmosphere that makes the plotline work so well in this book The two main characters Josephine and Freya are essentially trapped together At first as friends this creates the tightest of relationships Afterwards it is one of the motivating factors in the degeneration of their friendship and personal morality But this is no schoolyard fall out What the book is really about is the opposing ways people cope with trauma and tragedy How such things can ruin lives in the biggest or most subtle ways Thornton's brilliance is in the way she portrays these fissures in the very nature of the two girls without needing to reveal all the details until the end The tension was so high in parts that it made me feel uncomfortable If she hadn't hooked me so hard with Jo especially I might have put the book down In both Freya and Jo there are thoughts and actions which are understandable; if Thornton had depicted one way as right or wrong it would never have been such a good story Instead she presents the two characters without judgement save the nature of the conseuences that come from their actions Whatever else comes from the readerAs a first novel this is one hell of an accomplishment Not only for plot but in the layered characterisation ImpressiveMany thanks to Rebecca Thornton Bonnier Publishing and Netgalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review

  2. Bill Kupersmith Bill Kupersmith says:

    Were the narrative better organised delivered The Exclusives would be a cynosure of stars I am going to write a long review comparing Greenwood Hall with the American Marin High School in The Most Dangerous Place on Earth which of course will discuss the ending be intended for readers who have finished The Exclusives Briefly both schools are intellectual moral spiritual deserts where both the staff students are utterly obsessed with materialistic values Even after than a half century I can still recall my total fixation on admission to the right uni Harvard rejected me BTW For Josephine Grey her BFs it's Oxford The practice interviews are called 'mocks' strangely appropriate given the absurdly silly uestions such as What do you know about Eisenhower? What do you think about Mad Cow Disease? my current answers would be Wasn't he the bugger who fucked us up over Suez? As a respecter of animal rights I should think the cows are entitled to their at bat but then I'm a bit past having to seek university entrance But as a story of estrangement between BFs The Exclusives is utterly heart wrenching If you've ever wanted to be reconciled with an old friend who's not buying you'll find you want to strangle Josephine for her treatment of Freya As Josephine is the narrator you will also want to strangle her the author for her inept determination to conceal the cause of their estrangement in both the contemporary back stories When we finallty get there we discover that it's not something that would keep real friends on the outs for a fortnight much less 16 years As this book deserves to be treated as a work of grown up literature where intelligent criticism reuires a discussion of the ending I'll be posting a full scale effort on my blog as soon as I can with suggestions for how it could be much better artistically But as a school story of estrangement betrayal The Exclusives is the very top level alongside Simon Raven's Fielding Grey interesting that both main characters share the same surname coincidence? Megan Abbott's Dare Me

  3. Liz Barnsley Liz Barnsley says:

    I have a bit of a thing for stories set in schools that hold a hint of mystery and a pastpresent vibe so when I read the blurb for “The Exclusives” the terrific cover having caught my eye I thought AHA Looks like one for meAnd it was – I loved this – for many reasons not least of which is the brilliant characterisation with the girls being portrayed evoking many emotional responses from deep sympathy to intense dislike Sign of a good read thatFreya is trying to contact Jo – way back when they were the closest of friends – until they were ripped apart by actions and conseuences What those actions were remains obscure for much of the novel but it is clear that something went very wrong between these two girls which has reverberated down the yearsRebecca Thornton constructs her plot carefully and compellingly – starting with a night out gone wrong and following on from there we see snapshots of events unfolding back at their exclusive school and now see Jo in the present willing to go to extreme lengths to avoid coming face to face with Freya again Atmospherically speaking it is haunting and often very sad themes of parental and peer pressure run through the narrative not only that but the pressure we often put on ourselves at a vulnerable ageThe writing style is terrifically engaging and as I mentioned earlier the author has a great eye for building a character you can love or hate – I went from one extreme to another on both our main protagonists Freya and Jo also frankly on the external cast all of whom are perfectly drawnIt is not actually difficult to work out what happened initially on that first night when the cracks in their friendship started probably on purpose so you could feel the full horror of what happened next It is thought provoking intense at times as you watch how each girl reacts both to the situation and to each other In the present day it is obvious that Jo is damaged but one of the things I loved most about this one is the subtle shades of grey that Ms Thornton weaves into the overall storyline a real feeling for human nature and the things we will do to keep that which we feel we needAn impressive debut for sure and one that certainly comes highly recommended from me especially if you like this type of pastpresent focus and have a thing for enduring characters This one will stay with you

  4. Celise Celise says:

    This book won't be for everyone and neither will the charactersThe story is told over two different timelines; one in 1996 where Josephine and Freya experienced something horrible that night and one in 2014 as Josephine is haunted by her past The author doesn't actually reveal what happened to the girls to destroy their friendship until the last 10% of the book which for me killed the suspense a little You can't exactly predict what happened to them but what did happen is probably one of many things a reader will consider for a moment or two before moving onThe characters are pretty ugly towards each other and it's easy to lose empathy for them There's nothing worse than a main character who treats her friends like dirt and justifies it That said Josephine's mother is a paranoid schizophrenic and Josephine herself spends a lot of time wondering if she is like her This makes for a perspective that I've never actually read before A lot of Young Adult this is not YA btw novels have characters simply go crazy or start experiencing hallucinations but this book tackles a real mental illness and I thought that was uite well doneThat said the main character is a little one note She doesn't want to talk about that night with the friend Freya who she went through it with in fear of becoming crazy or jeopardizing her academic future In 1996 she denies it In 2014 she denies it Her voice and perspective don't change over 18 years and I think this might bother some readers like it did me Josephine never develops she just comes to realizations and makes big leaps in thought that have little logical support behind themThe boarding school thing is what attracted me to this book like many others I'm sure Throw in a dark plot and you've got me I absolutely hated the school though The headmistress put her school's reputation above the students and that annoyed the crap out of me because I know it probable happens in the real world I usually also like view spoiler affairs with teachers hide spoiler

  5. Corrie Jackson Corrie Jackson says:

    Rebecca Thornton's brilliantly drawn debut throws a spotlight on female friendship and all the complexities it embodies The story follows Josephine and Freya who were best friends at boarding school until a sinister secret ended their friendship The story dips between past and present day providing a deep insight into two girls who will do whatever it takes to navigate the choppy waters of an elite boarding school The messy bitchy desperate cliuey lives of teenage girls is particularly well executed and I found myself empathising with all the characters even those I didn't particularly like Thornton's rich writing style is very visual and she teases the reader just enough before dropping the final bombshell I raced through the book with a growing sense of dread and boy the ending doesn't disappoint A fantastic debut I can't wait to see what Thornton does next

  6. Irene Irene says:

    Two timescales 1996 and up to date Beginning at an expensive boarding school with best friends Freya and Josephine until something happens one evening Freya wanted to discuss it but Josephine didn't end of friendship The trouble is that sometimes the longer you have to wait for the reveal the less of an impact it is which is what happens with this story It was all a bit tiresome and I thought that some of the events at school were implausible Neither of the girls were particularly likeable I liked the cover and the blurb was interesting as was the insight into an all girl boarding school the petty jealousies and minutiae of life in a closed off environment I liked the idea for this book and know that lots of people will love it I was given this ARC by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

  7. Daphne Daphne says:

    This book really did manage to capture me at first and I thought it was very interesting and engaging What I didn't like so much was the way the author kept things hidden from the reader it felt clumsy and obvious at times and I didn't like the big reveal at the endBut I did enjoy reading the story and how it switched between the past and the present The chapters were short and every time I finished one I wanted to read just one I finished most of the book in one sitting I enjoy reading books about boarding schools and female friendships and I think the author managed to make it all feel 'real' very successfully While Josephine often did things I thought were a bit stupid I always understood her motivation and got why she did thingsBut there were some big things revealed near the end that I wasn't a big fan of I won't get into spoiler territory but it felt a bit predictable and weak

  8. Life By Letters Life By Letters says:

    OK I really didn't know what to expect from this book I have preconceptions that it was going to be a bit of a boring and cliché thriller just based on the front cover But this again is another example of why you should never judge a book by its coverMy boyfriend actually picked this off my shelves as my next read and when he read me the blurb I knew I had this book all wrong I read about 70% of it in one day as it actually had me hookedA real insight into friendships relationships mental wellbeing secrets and closure that had me gripped from almost the beginning The realistic drama and events of it all really brought this narrative to life 💕

  9. mikhaela mikhaela says:

    35 i enjoyed this but the messy narrative certainly diminished the experience still a solid debut and i thought the cover was absolutely gorgeous

  10. Cleopatra Pullen Cleopatra Pullen says:

    I don’t know about you but ever since reading Enid Blyton’s stories of boarding school I’ve been a teeny weeny bit jealous of anyone who got to go to one so when Midas PR asked me if I wanted a copy of The Exclusives to read whose very setting is an exclusive girl’s boarding school I couldn’t resist Better still the summary indicates that are secrets in the past that are impacting on the present for at least one of the pupilsI was uickly absorbed we first meet Josephine Grey in 2014 daughter of the Prime Minister’s advisor when she receives an email from Freya Seymor her former best friend at Wendell’s Back in 1996 the two girls were studying their A levels hoping to go to Oxford but it is clear from Josephine’s reaction to Freya’s email that something went badly wrongThis is an engaging story although sadly devoid of midnight feasts and jolly japes the atmosphere is far competitive and with rivalries bubbling beneath the surface the japes are anything but and the conseuences far reaching The whole story is told from Josephine’s point of view a girl who has a mentally ill mother and a father who is being busy and important Freya is really her only friend and so when the friendship suddenly breaks down she has scant support to help her throughIn the present Josephine is an archaeologist but she doesn’t want to go digging around in her own past and she doesn’t want Freya raking it all up either As her personal life such as it is begins to fall apart Freya’s dogged determination to meet up with Josephine to discuss the past causes panic It is obvious from the beginning that she feels guilty about something but what could possibly have such a long lasting reaction?The storytelling is engaging and I had some sympathy for both girls although there did come a point when I wondered how much longer the author could expect me to wait for the secret to be revealed as my patience reached its limits It is always nice to read a book where the characters appear to be authentic funnily enough I was convinced by the pupil’s behaviour than some but by no means all of the adults As much as I hate to admit it lots of girls together can be a force to be reckoned with and I could easily imagine that in the enclosed environment of boarding school the element of claiming the prize whatever the cost can soon spiral out of control Interestingly it appeared that the Head teacher shared this personality trait with her pupils but for her it was to ensure Wendell’s kept the top slot in the Times listI enjoyed this story about friendship how bonds are made how they can be broken and what happens afterwards enormously I’m full of admiration for the publisher’s twenty7 choice of debut novels the two I have read feel fresh and innovative I can’t recommend this book if you like xxx as t haven’t read a book uite like this one The setting combined with the secrets yes there is than one cause a powder keg of tension and I could only wonder what the result would be when the whole thing went up – I wasn’t disappointedThe Exclusives is published today in eBook format the paperback will follow in April 2016

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *