Book review: You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Sunday, February 23, 2020 Permalink

Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen reportedly started working together a decade ago, initially as editor / writer before becoming friends and morphing into a writing partnership.

I’ve read their two previous books, The Wife Between Us and An Anonymous Girl and enjoyed both. They’re clever and twisty and their latest You are Not Alone, is no different.

Book review: You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah PekkanenYou are not alone
by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen
Published by Macmillan
on 25/02/2020
Source: PanMacmillan
Genres: Thriller / Suspense, Psychological Thriller
ISBN: 1529010780
Pages: 352

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 becoming increasingly isolated.

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

Shay thinks she wants their life.

But what they really want is hers.

Given the blurb, I actually expected Shay to be unlikeable. Kinda pathetic. But she’s not like that at all. In reality I think she judges her life to be more dire or desperate than it actually is. (Or maybe my life sucks and hers isn’t too bad in comparison?!)

Either way, Hendricks & Pekkanen have given us a really likeable and relatable character in Shay. We’ve met similarly sympathetic characters in their previous novels – Shay is not the perfect heroine; she’s flawed but not unsalvageable. I’m tempted to say she’s slightly socially-challenged but I’m not even sure that’s the case. I think she’s just a little depressed when we meet her and kinda down on herself.

I can’t help myself; I often see the world through stats. It’s not just because as a market research I analyze data to help companies make decisions about the products they sell. I’ve been this way since I was a kid. I started keeping data books at age eleven, the way other kids kept diaries. p 4

I loved that each of the chapters narrated from Shay’s point of view also included some stats from her ‘data book’.

Her life’s turned upside down when a woman steps in front of a train (in front of her). Rather than putting the incident out of her mind Shay finds herself drawn to the story of the young nurse and sees her life reflected back at her. (A ‘There but for the grace of God go I,’ kinda thing!)

It could be said the Moore sisters come into her life at just the right time.

And Hendricks & Pekkanen don’t dilly-dally when introducing Cassandra and Jane. From the get-go we see they’re manipulative and secretive. But, the real question we readers get to ponder is whether they’re sinister. It seems their actions have had repercussions they hadn’t expected. Can the blame really be assigned to them?

I initially didn’t understand how the (rather) disparate group of friends came together under the Moore sisters’ helm, but we’re taken back to events in their past that led them into the orbit of Cassandra and Jane. There was far less maliciousness and cunning in the introductions than I expected and I really liked that Hendricks & Pekkanen take time for us to meet each of the women separately.

The female characters in all three books I’ve read by the pair are all well drawn. Real and complex. Neither completely evil nor completely nice. There’s a lot of grey rather than black and white.

Here I made certain assumptions about a lot of the characters, and was proven wrong again and again.

The authors eke it out slowly but readers are eventually given insight into the actions leading to the events of this book. They’re driven by a desire for revenge and punishment, for justice. But at the same time we’re reminded of the intoxicating allure of power and implications of believing we can play god.

I love that this writing duo continues to produce really clever novels. They’re twisty sure, and addictive (I read this in a sitting), but they also all offer readers something a bit new and different. There’s often a moral or ethical dilemma to ponder amidst a very entertaining tale.

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen will be published in Australia by PanMacmillan on 25 February 2020.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 


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