Published by St. Martin's Press on March 3, 2020
Format: ARC, Paperback
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 so isolated.
You probably don’t know anyone like the Moore sisters.They have an unbreakable circle of friends.They live the most glamorous life.They always get what they desire.
Shay thinks she wants their life.But what they really want is hers.
Hi, I’m Patricia, and if you’ve met me, you know I am certifiably nuts for Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. (See: my reviews of The Wife Between Us and An Anonymous Girl, their first two books). So when I didn’t get my wishes to read their third book approved by NetGalley, I was devastated – until my blogging BFF Katie over at Pages and Pugs said she had a hardcopy ARC, but prefers their books on audio. She sent it to me and I
lost my shit was very happy and had something great to read on an airplane.
I just adored The Wife Between Us, and I liked An Anonymous Girl, but I didn’t love it. I was low key afraid that You Are Not Alone would share a similar fate as their sophomore novel – however, I needn’t have worried.
How I’d Describe This Book to a Friend
In true Hendricks & Pekkanen fashion, there is not a lot I can say here that won’t immediately spoil this entire book for you. While the synopses for their first two books were fairly vague, the synopsis for You Are Not Alone is unbelievably vague – and I fully understand why, having finished it. Giving you any more information about this plot won’t really do the story any justice, or give you the ride that you deserve when you buckle in to your too-small plane seat and accept a tiny plastic cup of Diet Coke and a broken Biscoff cookie (you can get these at the grocery store, did you know that!? But the Delta-branded ones hit differently, don’t come at me).
What I can tell you is this:
Our protagonist is a young woman in her early thirties named Shay. She lives with her guy best friend who has thoroughly friend-zoned her (it is not mutual), and now his dumb girlfriend won’t stop coming over and being perfect. She can’t find a steady job, or a steady man to go to home, and her life is just generally feeling pretty blah. Shay is running late one morning on her way to her shitty temp job, and some creepy guy is leering at her in the subway station, so she’s edging toward another female of a similar age who hopefully will have her back if the creepy guy becomes creepier when the unthinkable happens: the train car sweeps down the tunnel, and the woman jumps in front of it.
That will definitely ruin your work day.
Now Shay is dealing with everything she felt before, plus she has a terrible case of PTSD and survivor’s guilt. She wishes she could have stopped that woman, and her guilt at the matter leads her straight into the path of the Moore sisters: two socialites who were friends of the young woman who jumped in front of the subway car. They have it all, and yet what they want is to sweep Shay into their inner circle. In their orbit, Shay feels more powerful – she gets a makeover, a new job, even a romantic prospect. But things aren’t always what they seem, and the Moore sisters want Shay for more than just her friendship.
The Bottom Line
Hendricks and Pekkanen are the masters of the POV flip – we spend most of our time in Shay’s head, but also occasionally go to the Moore sisters, another friend, or even into the mind of Amanda – the young woman who died by suicide in the subway tunnel. These POVs are effortless, and written so well. The only issue I had is that there is a close-knit friend group among the Moores – there are six of them in total – and I found it a bit hard to keep track of who was who from time to time. However, the POV chapters for each helped flesh out their backstories, and overall they were all needed, and connected in the end.
Shay also dabbles in statistics – she keeps a notebook with her and is constantly looking up and jotting down different figures, some of which scared the hell out of me. Did you know that the average person will walk past sixteen killers in their lifetime? Or that 73-79% of homicides during a fifteen-year period were committed by offenders known to the victim? Enjoy walking down the street wondering who you’ll pass who is a murderer, because I sure will!
As a woman in my early thirties myself, struggling to find my career and really “begin” my life, I really got Shay on a fundamental level, and so enjoyed my time with her. Her road is not easy, but ultimately it’s an enjoyable one. I spent the last ~100 pages of this novel with my heart in my throat, I was so panicked for her – and that’s the sign of a good thriller. Hendricks & Pekkanen are modern-day Agatha Christies, and their storytelling and masterful plot twists cannot be missed by anyone who is a thriller buff.
“Numbers never lie. Statistics, charts, percentages-they don’t contain hidden agendas or shades of gray. They’re pure and true. It isn’t until people start meddling with them, spinning and shaping them, that they become dishonest.”