Cover Image: We Were Never Here

We Were Never Here

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Member Reviews

I loved the premise of this novel, and it was deftly executed, with well written characters and a twisty plot. My biggest pet peeve in novels like this is when you just can't relate to the character and why they are making certain choices, but the author really made you empathise with Emily, so even when you disagreed with something she did.
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Exhausted.  Started We Were Never Here yesterday and could not put it down until finished … hello midnight stay-awake-coffee. Two girls backpacking through Chile. One’s a bit unsettled and cautious after an experience they had on a trip the year before … the other is loving life and doesn’t have a care in the world. Until she has to kill someone. Always a downer! Twist after twist after I-didn’t-see-that-coming twist. I RACED through this … all power and control and obsession and a killer ending. Author Andrea Bartz got the idea when travelling with a friend (but is quick to point out that there was no murder involved on their trips) … the book’s about to be made into a Netflix film. I love great psychological thrillers … this one delivered. In spades!
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An excellent psychological thriller with two intriguing women and one toxic friendship- a novel that brings to life the question 'Who would YOU call to bury the body. We all have that hypothetical person in our lives but what if they were also just a *tiny* bit crazy?

This is a classic page turner full of misdirection and twisty possibilities- characters that are full of depth and a plot that tightens its hold with every passing chapter.

Thoroughly enjoyed this. Recommended.
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I really enjoyed this atmospheric thriller. With touches of The Talent Mister Ripley and Violet, the way this toxic friendship unravelled had me gripped.
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Thank you to Kallie at Michael Joseph for my invitation to the tour and for my copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review.

From the outset of this gripping book you know that there is something not quite right.

Emily is still recovering from the trauma that happened in Cambodia on their last trip when it happens again. This time not to her but to Kristen with unfortunately the same consequences. Kirsten had previously said that she wanted to go travelling with Emily for six months but Emily has just started a relationship with Aaron and just wants to head home after this trip.

Because of what Kristen did for Emily on their last holiday she feels she must do the same. It’s fast paced and gruesome at times but clever, I enjoyed reading about the two women and their relationship after they return home. Their friendship is not all that it appears and it becomes clear that there are many secrets that the pair have.

After they return home Emily just wants to get on with her life and put the bad things behind her but Kristen has other ideas. She seems to have forgotten what happened to them but Emily can not.

This is a really exciting and compelling story and it has lots of surprises in store for the reader.

4 stars ****
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Struggled through this one and ultimately chose to DNF - the central plot is intriguing, but the strange structure of the novel (too many flashbacks, flashbacks-within-flashbacks) and predictable twists kept me from wanting to continue.
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Emily and Kristen have been the best of friends since their college days. And though they live in different parts of the world now, they still manage to maintain their relationship and connect with each other at least once a year on their annual backpacking trip. This year they have selected the beautiful mountains in Chile for their trip and as usual they have the best time together. That is, until their last night when Emily ends up helping Kristen dispose the dead body of a backpacker. Kristen claims that she had been attacked and killed in self defence. And that would be believable, instead it gives Emily a sense of déjà vu - and not in a good way. As Emily returns home and tries to go back to her normal life, the trauma doesn't make it easy. Things only get more difficult when Kristen pops back into her life and Emily is forced to consider things that she would have never thought possible about her best friend.

The book has a bit of a slow start, but picks up soon enough, and falls a bit back again. The story is told from Emily's PoV and gives the reader insights into not only the trauma she feels but also how she tries to deal with it and how it affects her. For a psychological thriller, the book does a good job giving the readers unique insights into the protagonist and her relationship with her best friend. Though I enjoyed the thorough insights, I wished for a tighter narration that would also help with the pace of the story. That is the main reason I am not rating this book a full 5 stars.

The different settings and situations, one almost as over the top as the other, keep the readers entertained. I almost felt like I was watching a horror/thriller and kind of urging the protagonist with comments like 'oh come on, don't tell me you can't see what's going to happen next' or 'girl, that's bound to be a trap. Don't fall for it.' It was fun and entertaining. Those who are hardcore mystery fans like me will be able to figure out the plot pretty early, but the high stakes and some cliched but fun situations keep the pages turning. And the dark humour in the book is almost like an added bonus.

This book would certainly make for an entertaining movie.
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Sucked in
Spat out
Head spinning

That's pretty much me on the whole reading experience of this book and on finishing. What did I read? What were those characters?

This story of two besties having holidays off the beaten track togther across the years focused in particular on one holiday to Cambodia and one to Chile. Not far into the book, I just knew there was something fishy about one of these besties but I had no idea how this was going to escalate.

This read felt like a combination of Single White Female (look it up if you're unfamiliar) and Shallow Grave. On the one hand I was rooting for the more innocent of the pair and on the other hand, I was conflicted at her implicitness in the events that played out.

It all got a lot sinister as it culminated.

Did I enjoy it? I guess in some ways, yes but it was angsty, uncomfortable reading. That said, I could not look away or put the book down. It was a wild trip and an all consuming read.

Thank you to Michael Joseph for the early review copy.
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Rather too over the top for me both in situations and action. I really couldn’t take to either of the two main characters and struggled to get to actually finish it.
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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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4.5 stars 

We Were Never Here is the latest book club pick from @reesesbookclub. I was drawn to the cover right away and then the blurb convinced me I needed to read this! 

The story follows main character Emily and her friend Kristen, starting with a holiday together in Chile which takes a fatal turn. 

This book had me gripped! I couldn’t believe the twists and turns throughout. I felt like I was being gaslighted myself as the story unfolded and I kept questioning where it was going to go. Towards the end of the book I was with Kirsty while I was reading it so she can testify to the numerous gasps as the narrative which had been building throughout reached its final crescendo. 

I always say I want to read more thrillers and this really given me that boost to read more! Have you read this one? Or any other of the recent picks from Reese’s book club?
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Great fast paced thriller, you could see this being becoming a movie, great read with lots to keep you gripped.
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Emily is having the time of her life with her best friend, Kristen, in the mountains of Chile. 
On the final night of their annual trip Emily finds blood on the floor of their hotel room and Kristen says she was attacked.       Kristen is claiming self defense but this is scarily similar to last years trip when a backpacker died. Can this really be happening again?
Kristen is independent, free spirited and the risk taker. Emily the polar opposite  shy, obedient and has serious trust issues. Together this unlikely pairing works well and setting how there characters played out throughout kept me entertained. Think single white female for the obsession and you've got the premise for this great psychological thriller. 
This was a great quick read and the action really picks up towards the end. Thriller fans will not be disappointed.
And it's a @reesesbookclub pick... great choice.
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You might've said at some point that you'd help your best friend hide a body ... even kill for them. But when it comes down to it, could you actually do it? 

Emily and Kristen have been best friends for over a decade, despite Kristen moving halfway across the world. Reunited for their yearly trip, they embark on their dream trip to Chile together looking forward to wine, fun and sun. But soon enough, their dream turns into a nightmare when Emily finds herself in an unsettling familiar situation - covered in blood with a dead man at her feet.

Kristen claims she killed him in self-defence, that he was going to hurt her. She had do it. 

After getting away with murder, it should be over. But Emily can't help but relive that night over and over, and she's got a feeling something even worse is coming. 

"I breathed deeply. I chose to believe her. Maybe were were never here."

Wow. This story literally dove straight into the action and then somehow kept it simmering away slowly throughout the rest of the pages. I could feel the ache in shoulders from the tension I was feeling during this sinister tale. There were definitely some wordy sections that broke the flow a little bit, but it was easy to get pulled back in. 

Emily and Kristen were strange characters. They were the standard introvert/extrovert pairing you've seen a million times over but with something very unique about them. While Emily was plagued with anxiety and nightmares, Kristen was the bright light in her cloudy life whether she wanted it or not. Their relationship was crafted expertly - toeing the line between loyalty and ownership, between love and toxicity - and kept my head spinning. 

The blood and murder wasn't the only unsettling thing about this story - it was about friendship, about possession and obsession in it's most beautiful and dangerous forms and left me looking over my shoulder far too many times. 

Twist after twist, with an ending that felt like a handbreak during a car chase, this explosive thriller will definitely leave you reeling.
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We Were Never Here, Andrea Bartz

On a girls getaway with her best friend Kristen, Emily is having the time of her life. Until the final night when Emily enters the hotel room to discover it covered in blood. Kristen claims to have been attacked by a backpacker, now dead on the floor and convinces Emily to help her clear the scene. 
Back home Emily tries to pretend everything is okay but a surprise visit from Kristen forces her to confront what happened and to ask herself if she can really trust her best friend. 

This is the latest #ReesesBookClub pick, a gritty thriller which is crying out for an adaption. 
You can immediately feel unease as you slip in between these pages, with references to infamous tales of women who travelled alone you can tell the scene that is being set. You can feel the story that is about to unfold. 
Nevertheless Kristen is an ominous antagonist. She looms across every page, even those she isn’t in. Single White Female meets Jawbreaker.
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We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz is a psychological thriller and actress Reese Witherspoon's bookclub pick for August. 

The story kicks off in Chile, where Emily and Kristen, two American best friends on the brink of their 30's, are vacationing together. This backpacking sojourn is their reunion trip, an annual tradition they began when Kristen relocated to Australia from Wisconsin, where Emily still resides. 

Readers quickly learn that something major happened to the women on their previous trip to Cambodia a year earlier. The plot, and their stay in Chile, soon takes a turn for the disturbing. Now the women are forever tethered to each other by two sinister secrets. 

The book kept me up reading, even though I was frustrated by Emily's sometimes hard-to-swallow naïveté. Told from Emily's point of view, Kristen emerges as the villain early on. Or is she? And is Emily really as innocent as she lets on? 

According to the author's bio, Bartz is a well-travelled journalist who has written for, amongst others, Psychology Today. In We Were Never Here, she explores psychological issues such as co-dependency, obsession and how past trauma can influence future behaviour. Tough topics handled by Bartz in an accessible way. 

This book is not unlike a rollercoaster ride. While you may think you have the end in sight, it will take a few twists and could throw you for a loop along the way. We might even forgive Bartz for that one South African character... 

We Were Never Here is published by Penguin Random House and will hit store shelves in South Africa in October 2021. If you're keen to read it right away, the Kindle version is out now on 

Penguin Random House South Africa  

#wewereneverhere #andreabartz #penguinrandomhousesouthafrica #netgalley
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⭐️ rating: 4
📖 genre: thriller
#️⃣ pages: 320
🍾 pub date: August 18, 2021

I was a bit nervous going into this one, but I’m happy to say that THE WERE NEVER HERE was a great thriller and it felt like I was reading a movie script the whole time!

All right, here are the facts: WE WERE NEVER HERE follows Emily, who is enjoying a vacation in Chile with her friend Kristen, when suddenly she finds a man dead in their room. Apparently, Kristen killed him after he tried to assault her. The worst part? It's not the first time this happens. The girls dispose of the body and return home, but Kristen becomes increasingly clingy and suffocating. Emily begins to suspect that Kristen’s obsessed with her and sabotaged her past relationships in order to keep Emily all to herself, and starts to wonder if she is safe around Kristen after all.

The story is incredibly dark and suspenseful. It gave me MAJOR Amanda Knox vibes, like many others have pointed out as well, and that was incredibly unsettling. Emily and Kristen's relationship is a twisted friendship, filled with co-dependency manipulation, and bad decisions. I didn’t see the twists around the middle and end coming and I loved Emily's development through the story, but it dragged on in the middle and therefore I don't feel like I can give the full five stars. Also if you’ve read it, can we talk about that epilogue? 😅 I don't agree with it at all, but I will say— this book would be great as a movie/series adaption.
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I had seen a lot of buzz around this book after it was selected to be the August Reeses Book Club book and was very excited to be given a eARC copy thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Michael Joseph UK. Though I have a few issues with this book I couldn't put it down especially in the last quarter when SPOILER ALERT Emily and Aaron go to Phoenix END OF SPOILER. 

Emily and Kristen met in college and have been firm friends since then often leaving each other cryptic clues like a secret language. Things change on holiday but a year later with Kristen living in Australia they choose to holiday again. Can history really be repeating itself? Emily returns to the states and starts to question everything. Then things begin to escalate when Kristen appears on Emily's doorstep. 

We Were Never Here was well written and kept me turning the page. I especially like the device of the therapist used to make Emily and the reader think. The ending of the book left me feeling blah but I think I was coming down from the twists and turns in the previous section. Hence the 3 star rating.
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Thanks to NetGalley, Penguin Michael Joseph UK and Andrea Bartz for the ARC of We Were Never Here.

I have seen and heard a lot of advance praise for this thriller; including an appearance on the Reese Witherspoon Book Club Picks, so I was really excited to see what this had in store - it didn't disappoint, With some marmite reviews, I think this is the kind of book that if you take too seriously you can pick holes in, but despite being a little far fetched at times, I really enjoyed this book - a sinister, suspense building, tension filled page turner of a thriller.

Kristen and Emily have been super best friends ever since college, and despite Kristen moving to the other side of the world in Australia, the pair still meet up regularly to travel together to far flung exotic destinations. One night Kristen hooks up with a man she meets in a bar and when Emily goes to find her, she sees blood everywhere. The man attacked Kristen - she tried to fight him off and scream but she couldn't; so killed him in self defence. With no evidence of her physical attack, the pair decide to hide the body. This would be bad enough in itself, but this isn't the first time this has happened and that night brings up memories Emily had hoped she had hidden forever.

When Emily returns hope hoping to distance herself from the memories of that night and start a new relationship with recent partner Aaron, it finally feels like she can move on but then Kristen lands on her doorstep and suddenly is everywhere. This toxic and obsessive friendship then brings doubts about what really happened that night and begs the question who can Emily really trust. Can she trust her best friend - and can she trust herself?!

This book had we reading long into the night wondering what was going to happen next. A dark, compulsive and paranoid psychological thriller, this was a big hit with me! Loved it.
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We Were Never here is TENSE with a capital T

Wow! Kristen is a very creepy and interesting character and it was very entertaining to see everything unravel.  I had a lot of fun reading this and would recommend it!
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