We Were Never Here, Andrea Bartz

Emily and her best friend Kristen travel together yearly. But there are rules, including no pictures. If that doesn’t sound odd, then you’re in for a treat because things get worse. Especially because on their current trip in Chile, things go horribly awry. We watch the story unfold as Emily learns to cope with the stress of everything barreling in on her.

I have such conflicting feelings about this that it makes this a difficult review to write. Emily is obsessed with Kristen. I can’t count the number of times she reiterated that Kristen is her best friend, the one who knew her best in the world. Even her therapist points out how much time they spend talking about Kristen. Emily also claims she’s moved on from things past, but Sebastian is another one that she obsesses over.

Everything in this story can tie into Kristen or Sebastian because of how obsessed she is. Emily is an incredibly unlikable character because of this. Her lack of backbone is just another sprinkle on this confetti mess of a character. She has no boundaries, which actually isn’t that uncommon in people, unfortunately. It doesn’t help that Kristen is constantly gaslighting her. If she wasn’t so obsessive, I might feel bad for her.

I read another review that pointed out how bland Aaron is, and the more I think about it, yes, he isn’t all that multi-dimensional. But he works for Emily because she’s such a hot mess. It also works to keep the best friends at the forefront of the story. I want to say something about Nana’s decision towards the end of the book, but I can’t because I don’t want to spoil things. It just doesn’t fit, and it leaves plot points that go unanswered, which makes all the text surrounding her essentially pointless.

I wanted to really love this one because I can deal with unlikeable characters, especially if the storyline surrounding them is good. But the amount of time spent obsessing feels like filler, and then add in the other issues I had, and I’m just not in love with this one. I encourage other reviewers to give this a chance because what might not work for me might work for others. Thank you, Random House/Ballantine Books, for sending this along.

We Were Never Here is available on Amazon for $13.99.

Read this review on Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub.

About the Book:

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?

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