Book Review: You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book that passes the Bechdel test Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisfy: A b...

PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book that passes the Bechdel test

Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisfy: A book that's published in 2020, A book with the same title as a movie or TV show but is unrelated to it, A book about or by a woman in STEM, A book with a character with a vision impairment or enhancement (advanced)

TW: Stalking, gaslighting, suicide, murder, violence

When given the opportunity to read You Are Not Alone, I obviously jumped at the chance. Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen are quite the dynamic duo when it comes to suspenseful and twisty thrillers. I've never read any of their solo novels, but together, they truly seem to work great as a pair.

Shay Miller is unfulfilled. Her roommate is a man she's in love with, whose girlfriend visits often. She has no friends, and no prospects. When she witnesses a horrific event one morning in the subway station, her life is quickly flipped upside down. She's thrown into a whirlwind of anxiety and PTSD, and stumbles right into the path of Cassandra and Jane Moore, who quickly take her under their wing. Only now, her situation has spiraled into "too good to be true" territory, which has become, well, too good to be true.

It's funny how the nitpicky things become nonessential when looking back. I rated The Wife Between Us with three stars, but considering it now, I actually really enjoyed the story and thought it was incredibly shocking and twisty. I also enjoyed An Anonymous Girl. As for You Are Not Alone, I thought I was going down this path of figuring out what the twist would be, but boy was I wrong. I totally didn't see the twist coming - but looking back into the story, it makes so much sense. You can follow the pieces and connect the dots, and it leads you right to it. Hendricks and Pekkanen have a way of leading you down into a completely immersive story and then switching paths hard enough to give you whiplash, though the feeling can be quite enjoyable when it's done in a completely metaphorical way.

Something I didn't like, though, was how many of the characters that I thought were going to be much more involved in the story basically disappeared about two-thirds of the way through. They were absolutely integral to the plot, but eventually just disappeared, which was weird and kind of awkward. Seriously, where did they go? It made the story feel like pieces were missing, so I felt a bit unsatisfied by the end of the book.

Something else is these books seem to be written for a very particular demographic. I do enjoy the stories and I get really attached to a Hendricks/Pekkanen novel - they are seriously page-turners. But when reading any of their stories, the majority of the characters are all very White, very blonde, very fit, and very well off. Even the characters who are struggling financially seem to be rich. The struggle seems unrealistic. I have struggled, and have come from a disadvantaged background, and the "struggles" of these characters seem unrelatable and unrealistic. These people live in NYC with a savings account and enough money to buy a $200 top on a credit card with a temp job. The characters are a bit too "perfect," even in their imperfections. The main police officer in the story was Black, but other than that, all three books have lacked diversity (in ways even outside of race). I would like to see more diverse characters in future Hendricks/Pekkanen novels.

"Some people contend there are two primal fears. The first and most basic is the end of our existence. The second is isolation; we all have a deep need to belong to something greater than ourselves." - You Are Not Alone, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Overall, the story was just as shocking and twisty as the last two books from this duo. You Are Not Alone was definitely a page-turner, and I'll likely read any future novels this pair releases. But I would really like to see more diversity in their stories.

Goodreads rating: ★★★★☆

*I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own.

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