Kate’s Review: “You Are Not Alone”

45046742Book: “You Are Not Alone” by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Publishing Info: St. Martin’s Press, March 2020

Where Did I Get This Book: I received an eARC from NetGalley.

Book Description: You probably know someone like Shay Miller. She wants to find love, but it eludes her. She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end. She wants to belong, but her life is so isolated.

You probably don’t know anyone like the Moore sisters. They have an unbreakable circle of friends. They live the most glamorous life. They always get what they desire.

Shay thinks she wants their life. But what they really want is hers.

Review: Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this novel!

Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen are a dynamic duo in the thriller writing world, as their previous novels “The Wife Between Us” and “Anonymous Girl” were both buzzworthy books that got a fair amount of attention. I enjoyed both of those books, enough so that I figure that any time they come out with another novel I’m going to be interested in picking it up. Hence, I requested “You Are Not Alone”, their newest thriller/mystery, from NetGalley. I expected an entertaining and very readable thriller, as that has what has been delivered in the past. I am happy to report that not only did it live up to those expectations, it is also their best work yet.

Like their other two novels, “You Are Not Alone” is told through multiple perspectives and multiple time periods. Our main focus is on Shay Miller, an insecure and high strung, lonely woman who witnesses another woman commit suicide by jumping in front of a moving subway. The other perspectives are generally from that of the Moore sisters, Cassandra and Jane, as well as the occasional chapter from the POVs of their friend group. The wide breadth of POVs gave us a very large and detailed picture of the story, and also of the various motivations that each character had that added to the mystery over all. We know that Cassandra and Jane want something from Shay, but we aren’t certain as to what that may be. I thought that all of the women had well done characterization, and that I got a good sense for all of them and why they were doing what they were doing. Shay is the kind of protagonist that we see in thrillers like this in that she’s incredibly flawed and neurotic, but she’s written in such a way that I really liked her and was genuinely concerned for what she was slowly being pulled into. And then there are the Moore Sisters, and how they are both incredibly engaging and gregarious, as well as being terrifying in how they know how to manipulate and insert themselves into Shay’s life without her knowing it.

The mystery was also very enticing, and it kept me guessing and completely enthralled the entire time. As I said, you know that the Moore Sisters want Shay for something, and Hendricks and Pekkanen slowly peel back all the layers, leaving breadcrumbs of clues within all of the perspective chapters. It was laid out and woven together intricately enough that I was genuinely surprised by almost every twist, and all of the twists were well earned by how they were set up sometimes hundreds of pages before. I found myself slowly building up in anxiety, my heart beginning to beat as I got closer to the end and the tension just kept building with little sign of release. By the time it had all come to a head, I felt the deep paranoia that Shay was feeling and completely believed it. I bought in to just about everything, and while I did feel like it wrapped up a little neater than it probably should have (as well as quickly; the ending felt hasty even if it came together well), overall I was definitely satisfied.

“You Are Not Alone” is the best story that Hendricks and Pekkanen have come up with yet, and they will remain a high reading priority for me in the future. If you haven’t read anything by them yet, this is where you should start.

Rating 8: An anxiety inducing and twisty thriller that barely lets up on the tension. “You Are Not Alone” will make you more than a little nervous about who may be keeping their eyes on you.

Reader’s Advisory:

“You Are Not Alone” is included on the Goodreads lists “Female Writing Teams”, and “Can’t Wait Crime, Mystery, & Thrillers 2020”.

Find “You Are Not Alone” at your library using WorldCat!

Highlights: March 2020

March is that special part of year when Winter is (theoretically) on the way out, Spring is on the way, and the promise of Spring Break and St. Patrick’s Day are exciting distractions to get through. We have some books that we are looking forward to during this transitional month! 

Serena’s Picks

45047384._sy475_Book: “The House in the Cerulean Sea” by TJ Klune

Publication Date: March 17, 2020

Why I’m Interested: The beautiful cover! Look at all those colors and that children’s-storybook-like artwork. Yes, this was the actual thought in my head when I clicked through to read more about what the book is actually, you know, about. But the story itself, of a middle-aged, quiet man who suddenly finds himself charged with the care of a bunch of bizarre orphans, sounded right up my alley. And when I say bizarre, I mean “Umbrella Academy” but on acid, bizarre. We have a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Pretty excited to check this one out! And all because I thought it was so pretty…

35530507Book: “A Murderous Relation” by Deanna Raybourn

Publication Date: March 10, 2020

Why I’m Interested: Obviously, I’m very excited for the next installment in the Veronica Speedwell mysteries. Particularly due to the events of the last book and wanting to see how that would play out in this book. I think it was also written as a potential last book in the series, though after some author stalking, it seems like there may be more to come. Which I’m totally on board with. Yet again, Veronica and Stoker are called upon for their excellent sleuthing skills. But this time, there is less a mystery to be solved than a scandal to be warded off. The story seems to also be incorporating some connection to “Jack the Ripper,” a seeming requirement for any mystery sent around this time period. I’m curious to see what angle this book will use to approach this much-used portion of history.

42074525._sy475_Book: “The City We Became” by N.K. Jemisin

Publication Date: March 24, 2020

Why I’m Interested: I’ve loved everything I’ve ever read from N. K. Jemisin. She not only amazing, original worlds, but she excels at peopling those worlds with nuanced and complicated characters. She is also an excellent example of an author using science fiction and fantasy to shine harsh lights on very tricky subjects without dumbing anything down or spoon-feeding the reader. The book description for this one is pretty vague. Something about cities, in this case New York City, having souls and five people having to come together to protect it. But, like I said, I’ve loved everything of hers that I’ve read (and the two series I have read are very, very different), so you can bet that I don’t need more details in the description to have me on board and ready to go.

Kate’s Picks

46354144Book: “The Return” by Rachel Harrison

Publication Date: March 24, 2020

Why I’m Interested: I come for the haunted hotel and the missing girl, and then I stay for the disintegrating friendships and the interpersonal drama. “The Return” has been hyped up as “Girls” meets “The Shining”, and if that doesn’t pique my interest I don’t know what will. After Julie goes missing in a national park, her friends, including her best friend Elise, can’t believe that she’s gone. So when she suddenly returns two years later, Elise is elated, and their friend group plans a weekend away as a reunion. But Julie seems… different. Strange things begin happening when the weekend gets underway, and Elise doesn’t know who, or what, Julie is anymore. Creepy and soapy is a combination that I can get behind, so “The Return” is high on my highlights list!

46371247Book: “The Deep” by Alma Katsu

Publication Date: March 10, 2020

Why I’m Interested: I loved, LOVED Alma Katsu’s Donner Party re-imagining horror novel “The Hunger”, so when I heard that she had another historical horror novel coming out, this time involving the sinking of The Titanic, I was very excited. Annie is a stewardess turned hospital attendant who survived the sinking of the Titanic and is now on its sister ship The Britannic as it transports patients wounded in WWI. She can’t forget what happened on the Titanic as much as she tries, especially since something unnatural seemed to be going on. So when one of her patients is a man who was also on Titanic, things start getting strange again. As if whatever was haunting the Titanic has followed to the sister ship. With historical characters and a lot of focus being on the doomed ‘unsinkable’ liner, “The Deep” is sure to be another eerie and beautifully written horror novel.

49223060._sy475_Book: “Darling Rose Gold” by Stephanie Wrobel

Publication Date: March 17, 2020

Why I’m Interested: Like many other true crime freaks/weirdos drawn to the morbid, I was totally taken in by the case of Gypsy Rose Blanchard, whose mother Deedee scammed people into believing that her daughter was afflicted with a multitude of medical problems. As it turned out, Deedee was making Gypsy Rose ill, and Gypsy Rose ended up killing her. “Darling Rose Gold” is clearly inspired by this story. Patty was a single mother to Rose Gold, a girl who seemed to have chronic illnesses that made living a normal life impossible. But as it turns out, it was Patty who was making Rose Gold ill, and conning everyone about her condition. After Patty was convicted of abuse, she went to prison. After she is released, she reaches out to Rose Gold to ask if she can come live with her. Rose Gold says yes. But she may have plans for her mother and abuser. This has been getting some buzz, so I’m VERY excited to jump into it!

What books are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments!