We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz, 4 Stars

Emily is having the time of her life—she’s in the mountains of Chile with her best friend, Kristen, on their annual reunion trip, and the women are feeling closer than ever. But on the last night of the trip, Emily enters their hotel suite to find blood and broken glass on the floor. Kristen says the cute backpacker she brought back to their room attacked her, and she had no choice but to kill him in self-defense. Even more shocking: The scene is horrifyingly similar to last year’s trip, when another backpacker wound up dead. Emily can’t believe it’s happened again—can lightning really strike twice?

Back home in Wisconsin, Emily struggles to bury her trauma, diving headfirst into a new relationship and throwing herself into work. But when Kristen shows up for a surprise visit, Emily is forced to confront their violent past. The more Kristen tries to keep Emily close, the more Emily questions her motives. As Emily feels the walls closing in on their cover-ups, she must reckon with the truth about her closest friend. Can Emily outrun the secrets she shares with Kristen, or will they destroy her relationship, her freedom—even her life?

Praise for We Were Never Here:

“Bartz takes the idea of a ‘frenemy’ to new heights. . . . [An] expert vivisection of female modes of communication and competition.”—Los Angeles Times (Best Books for Summer Beach Reading)

Marie Claire Book Club Pick • Named One of the Most Anticipated Books of the Year by Oprah Daily, BuzzFeed, Reader’s Digest, Men’s Journal, and CrimeReads

“Whether you’re planning far-flung summer travels or kicking it closer to home, you’re going to need a great beach read—and that’s where We Were Never Here comes in….[A] twisty thriller.”PopSugar

“Pulse-pounding with secrets, lies, and friends who trust too much.”CrimeReads

“This smartly written psychological thriller will leave you all tingly.”Reader’s Digest

“Bartz does a good job dramatizing the increasingly creepy relationship between the two women as the twisty plot builds. . . . Suspense fans will look forward to seeing more from this talented author.”Publishers Weekly

“A slow-burn thriller that gradually suffocates both the protagonist and the reader—in a good way . . . Bartz’s writing will keep readers on their toes.”Kirkus Reviews

“A terrific novel, blending the Hitchcockian elements with a touch of Patricia Highsmith.”Booklist (starred review)

“An eerie psychological thriller . . . with alluring locales, Hitchcockian tension and possibly the best pair of female leads since Thelma and Louise.”BookPage

My Review:

Have you ever had a friend who isn’t content just being a sometimes companion? A friend who for whatever reason has identified you as their person – their ride or die. It’s super important to see these types of people coming from a mile away before it’s too late. Because if you decide that they are getting too close and maybe little toxic? Chances are it’s going to be impossible to get out of the friendship unscathed.

That’s the kind of relationship that Kristen and Emily have. And now there are two dead backpackers. It could be a coincidence. It’s more likely that at least one of the girls is a complete psycho. And given that they’ve been locked in a co-dependant relationship for years, it’s hard to know if even they know which one.

I think it’s quite possible that the author, Amber Bartz, has had these types of friends before. Because it’s clear that she knows the dynamic well. In fact, she writes about toxic female relationships in The Herd too, which was a fantastic read! Oftentimes the most toxic friends are the ones that we love the most – at first. And then when they change and we start to realize who they really are, our lives are so interwoven with theirs that it is hard to detach.

Heard does an amazing job highlighting a very complicated friendship and the fallout. I can’t say much else but there are definitely some twists and turns and surprises. We Were Never Here is a must read. Read it because it’s a compulsive page-turner or read it to see if you can find some warning signs in your own friendships.

Special thanks to Netgalley and Ballatine Books for an advanced e-galley in exchange for my honest review. This one is out August 3! Get your copy:


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