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  • Writer's pictureAnnika Pillai

i read a book recommended by reese witherspoon

I was scrolling through TikTok on a Tuesday afternoon, when Reese Witherspoon suddenly appeared on my for you page, recommending this book to me––and so of course, I had to pick it up. If Reese Witherspoon is recommending a book to you, you obviously have to read it.

I had only ever read one other Reese’s Book Club book before, which was The Last Thing He Told Me, which I, for the most part, enjoyed, so I was pretty optimistic about this book.

We Were Never Here, follows two best friends, Emily and Kristen, who have been friends since college, and who love to travel the world. Last year, they visited South Africa, and this year, they are visiting Chile. Everything is going great, until, Kristen is assaulted in a hotel room, and accidentally kills her attacker, forcing both Emily and Kristen to cover the murder up. This might have been believable, if the same exact thing hadn’t happened last year, in South Africa. Now Emily is forced to deal with the fallout, and the realization that Kristen may not be who she thought she was. As Emily tries to pull away, Kristen tries to pull Emily closer, and Emily starts to question her entire friendship with Kristen.

This book, for me, was a little bit hard to get into; I was struggling to read it for the first twenty percent, however, after that I was pretty hooked. I know that some readers found that middle to be very slow and boring, but I personally did not feel that way––I was pretty engaged for the most part. I think that this book’s strong point is the Amanda Knox vibes it has––murders in a foreign country, isn’t something you read about often, and Andrea Bartz’s writing has a way of keeping you interested.

Although I was engaged, this book fell a little bit flat for me. As I was reading the last 30-40 percent, I was hooked. The pace definitely picked up towards the end, but the whole time I was reading it, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was waiting for some twist, something to shock me, and that never really happened. I was just expecting something more. Codependent, unhealthy female friendships aren’t something new in literature, and I don’t think that Andrea Bartz took that idea and turned into something new. The relationship between Emily and Kristen could have been further developed, as a lot of Kristen’s motivations sort of confused me.

I also think that Emily’s past trauma was something that could have been further developed, as it definitely had a long-lasting impact on her.

This book wasn’t as creepy and twisty as I had wanted it to be, which is why it didn’t personally work for me. Still, it was a really fun read, and if you have some time on your hands, I definitely recommend that you pick this one up.

Rating ➳ 3/5 stars

(tw: sexual assault, murder, manipulation, abuse of a minor)


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