The Plot (from Goodreads):
When Ruth, a wealthy divorcée, 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 du 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.
I really enjoy these mommy drama thrillers, and this one was no exception. Especially when there’s a catty parenting messaging board involved! I enjoy the “moms behaving badly” trope, and have read a handful of good “rich mom/poor mom” dramas. This book felt more like a YA thriller to me, although it was the mothers that were behaving like kids. Although it is a very slow burn, I needed to keep listening to see if I was right about the twist. Overall this was a very middle-of-the-road read for me, didn’t love it, didn’t hate it.
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