I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz
Published by Random House Publishing Group on August 3, 2021
ISBN: 9781984820471
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Women, Psychological
Pages: 320
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
five stars - Review: We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • REESE’S BOOK CLUB PICK • “This book is every suspense lover’s dream and it kept me up way too late turning pages. . . . A novel with crazy twists and turns that will have you ditching your Friday night plans for more chapters.”—Reese Witherspoon
A backpacking trip has deadly consequences in this
“eerie psychological thriller . . . with alluring locales, Hitchcockian tension, and possibly the best pair of female leads since Thelma and Louise” (BookPage), from the bestselling author of The Lost Night and The Herd.

A 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 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?

Andrea Bartz is back with an all-new psychological thriller.  Living out the rest of your twenties abroad sounds like the best way to live, but if you had an overbearing, manipulative, and gaslighting best friend would it be worth the bother?  Backpacking in Cambodia and Chile should give them memories galore but what if the type of memory you are left with consumes you with guilt and tears apart your psyche?  This is the situation that Emily finds herself in.  Destructive and compulsive is the yarn spun in We Were Never There.  One death looks like an accident but what if two adds up to more than a coincidence. 

The blurb didn’t give too much away, and I was happy to dive in, headfirst.  My wrists and feet shackled, the experience invigorated my senses, the shocks leaving me panting for more and angry at the treatment of Emily. 

We Were Never Herewas set up perfectly.  A traumatic event, that served as an explosive catalyst for the entire story.  It was right on point.  Andrea Bartz tapped into her reader’s mind and extracted individual fears – backpacking on foreign frontiers, the worry of meeting strangers that may do us harm, navigating language and cultural barriers, and that ever-lingering fear for a lone female – sexual assault.  The pain and suffering were evident, and the author handled it with ease and consummate skill.  She knew exactly how the formula for a thriller should work but she kicked it to the curb and delivered something new, something utterly horrifying.  She delivered a POV that struck fear into the heart of any female, and she did it very early on.

We Were Never Here follows Emily and her best friend from college, Kristen.  Whilst backpacking in Chile, Kristen falls for the charms of fellow Backpacker, Paolo.  After a frantic call from Kristen to Emily, it seems that Kristen was attacked, and a struggle ensued.  I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.  They do what is necessary but when Emily arrives home, she starts to question things, Kristen’s behavior, the reasons why, and then she finds out more things about her best friend, things that don’t add up, things that could put a whole new light on her friend.  She decides to do some digging. 

Things get decidedly hairy.  Emily is walking on thin ice.  Kristen becomes unhinged, but she wonders if she has always been this way.  Manipulation, blackmail, gaslighting, and control are what her life has become.  Andrea played with my mind, a lot and tricked me – she led me down a lot of dark paths.  I expected a high-octane thriller which delivered but I also got a deep exploration of friendship and trust.

We Were Never Here was so slippery I struggled to catch my breath.  The author roots the story in complex friendships before throwing the curveball straight at your head.


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Hi! I’m Andi, a Brooklyn-based writer and editor. My debut thriller, THE LOST NIGHT, received starred reviews from Library Journal and Booklist and was optioned for TV by Mila Kunis and Cartel Entertainment. My second novel, THE HERD, was named a best book of 2020 by Real Simple, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping, and CrimeReads. My third thriller, WE WERE NEVER HERE, is coming in July 2021 from Ballantine.

I’m also a journalist whose work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Travel + Leisure, Marie Claire, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, USA Today, Elle, and many other outlets, and I’ve held editorial positions at Glamour, Psychology Today, and Self, among other titles.


five stars - Review: We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz