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  • Mandy McHugh

We Were Never Here, Andrea Bartz: A Review

I've seen this title making the rounds on twitter for a while and I was thrilled to be approved. I mean, look at that cover. I was sold by the summary and quickly dove in.

Emily and Kristen have been best friends for years. As their annual girls getaway is coming to an end in a remote Chilean town, things go sideways when Emily finds Kristen cowering in her room beside a dead body. It was self-defense, she claimed, but Emily can't help but draw comparisons to their previous trip that also ended under similar deadly circumstances. And as Emily tries to cope with the trauma back home, Kristen's unexpected arrival sparks a string of realizations that leave Emily questioning how safe her friendship really is. I loved this book. I'm a sucker for survival horror, so the backpacking trip had that creepy undertone nailed early on. You're waiting for the other shoe to drop, and boy does it DROP. No spoilers, of course, but after the hotel sequence, this book is an insane foray into murdery friendship in the best possible way. And let me talk about the friendship for a minute. Kristen and Emily's relationship is so authentic I could've taken swatches of these conversations as some of my own. Bartz explores the gray area of friendship that is often overlooked. We get two girls who used to be close, who no longer really know each other but cling to their memories as a tie that binds. They are friends because they have been friends for so long, and I wish we'd see this more often in the genre. Friendship doesn't come easily to everyone, and sometimes it is incredibly difficult to see the toxicity of a situation, especially when that person is the only one we turn to in a time of need, and Kristen and Emily's dynamic is what really drives the plot. At its core, We Were Never Here is a story about recovery, identity, and growth. It explores relevant themes of trauma, sexual assault, gender constructs as they pertain to victimization and blame, and stigmatizing therapy in the larger context of mental health. I devoured this in a single sitting because I literally couldn't put it down, and I think many readers will find themselves equally engrossed. Overall, We Were Never Here is a thrilling, fast-paced jaw-dropper that will leave you guessing until the very last page. I'd recommend to fans of Obsessed, SWF, Roommate, or anyone looking for a strong female protag face-off. Out in July, add this to your TBRs NOW. Big thanks to Ballantine and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.

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