Author Camilla Way certainly knows her stuff. In her debut novel Watching Edie, she takes the reader on a wild ride of obsession, lies and deception with a story that dares the reader to read the truth behind the lies.
Heather is a lonely girl, sad and rejected by her peers, out of place and form in every way, until Edie comes into her life. Edie is everything Heather isn’t, clever, beautiful, daring and with a wild side that challenges Heather’s view of right and wrong. Neither gets along with their family, although their reasons are different. This creates a bond between them that Heather believes is stronger than anything she has ever experienced.
Through Way’s narrative however, we begin to see the friendship is clearly one-sided, Heather showing much more devotion towards Edie than Edie ever shows for her. Despite this, their unlikely friendship seems to work until Connor enters the picture. A bad boy from the wrong side of town, Connor drives a wedge between Edie and Heather’s relationship as Edie methodically transforms into Connor’s pawn, desperate to please and do anything for him. This directly rivals Heather’s own obsession to do anything for Edie, and that includes trying to keep her friend as far away from Connor’s poisonous influence as possible.
Connor introduces Edie to drugs, alcohol, and dangers which she has never experienced. He trumps her infantile “wild child” ways and converts her no rules proclivities into something much worse. Heather is usually along for the ride just to be near Edie, in the position of the sad and pathetic third wheel behind her friend and Connor. Until one night, a betrayal sets terrible events in motion. Edie is left with no apparent choice other than to run away for good in an attempt to escape the horror of what she witnessed, and start her life over far away from Heather and Connor.
Years later Heather is living a lonely and quiet life in London. Pregnant and with no one to confide in, she survives on her own as a waitress, slowly raising money that she desperately needs for the new baby. But the horror of that night has never left her mind and it becomes even more present when Heather shows up one day at her door. Edie is sure that this time, she can’t run away from Heather, the past, or the night that changed both of their lives forever.
While the novel initially seems to follow a somewhat familiar plot along the lines of Single White Female, be prepared for the unexpected. Camilla Way is a deceitful storyteller in the best possible and thrilling manner. She leads the reader along a seemingly predictable path only to turn everything around at the last minute, proving that nothing is what seems. Watching Edie will have the reader turning page after page looking for answers as to what really happened between Edie and Heather that one fateful night. When it’s finally revealed, the terrible truth will chill you to the bone.
Author’s note: This review was based on an advanced reader’s copy courtesy of Netgalley and the publisher. The release date of this book is August 2, 2016.