Title: Sticks and Stones
Author: Jo Jakeman
Publisher: Vintage publishing
How far would you go for revenge on your ex?
Imogen’s husband is a bad man. His ex-wife and his new mistress might have different perspectives but Imogen thinks she knows the truth. And now he’s given her an ultimatum: get out of the family home in the next fortnight or I’ll fight you for custody of our son.
In a moment of madness, Imogen does something unthinkable. Something that puts her in control. But how far will she go to protect her son and punish her husband? And what will happen when his ex and his girlfriend get tangled up in her plans?
Sticks and Stones is a deliciously twisting psychological thriller from an exciting new voice.
This is a fast-paced enjoyable novel which centers around revenge. There isn’t a huge amount of the ‘unknown’ in this novel (although some circumstances from the past do come back into question, which did add a good dose of mystery to the story) because you know how Imogen, Naomi and Ruby are involved; it’s more a case of following them as they try to work out the best way to deal with the tricky situation they’ve ended up in.
The characters in this novel really provoked some strong reactions in me. I empathised with Imogen and really warmed to her, and definitely became more fond of certain other characters. Philip, however, is another matter… such an awful, horrible person. I think you need to feel this way about him, though, to understand why Imogen does what she does.
There are some parts which feel perhaps a little too crazy, and at some points I did question whether anyone like Imogen would really do ‘that’, but I enjoyed reading Sticks and Stones; it’s a great debut novel and, in many ways, focuses as much on friendship and loyalty as the actual actions these women take against this horrible man, and I liked that. Instead of all-out-action, the plot highlights what desperation can do to someone, and how, as a shared feeling, it can unite even the most unlikeliest of allies.