CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian's Reviews > When No One is Watching

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole
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This is maybe the first thriller I've ever read, and apparently I find thrillers very stressful?? Not sure I'll pick one up again anytime soon as I have enough anxiety in regular life to want to add to it from my reading life!

But overall I thought this was a super interesting book, especially the discussions of gentrification and racial histories of neighbourhoods. I loved Sydney as a character, understandably very prickly and scarred, a woman come home to her Brooklyn neighbourhood after a divorce from an emotionally abusive guy to take care of her sick mom. She finds her home infiltrated by rich white people who look down on the place's longterm mostly Black and other POC residents.

Theo, whose voice provides a second POV to Sydney, I could have done without. He was a bit dull (despite having this big secret most of the book which I didn't care about when it was revealed?). I just didn't want a white (even if he was raised poor) dude's perspective in this story and didn't see what it could add. I hope the author wasn't pushed towards including him to have someone for white readers to identify with. Ugh. Plus although it has a romantic subplot, this is definitely not a romance, so there's no real need for him.

I found the tonal shift towards violence at the end abrupt and out of character with the rest of the book. The wrap-up itself felt a bit rushed and too tidy. I also wanted Kim, Theo's horrifically horrible ex--the kind of white woman with a framed picture of Michelle Obama in her living room who pulls out the tears and threatens to call the cops when a Black woman tells her to not cut in line at the convenience store--to suffer more! But I appreciate that the villainy here, a la Get Out, is not card carrying KKK racists, but outwardly liberal rich white people. It's spooky cause it's so fucking real.

Overall I loved the concepts in this book and Sydney as a character, but some of the execution didn't quite work for me.
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Reading Progress

August 17, 2020 – Shelved
August 17, 2020 – Shelved as: to-read
August 17, 2020 – Shelved as: fiction
August 17, 2020 – Shelved as: mystery-thriller
August 17, 2020 – Shelved as: black
August 17, 2020 – Shelved as: reading-in-colour
August 17, 2020 – Shelved as: american
August 17, 2020 – Shelved as: new-york
October 5, 2020 – Started Reading
October 15, 2020 –
57.0% "aaahhhh!!"
October 15, 2020 –
78.0% "Oh my god this book is so stressful! I guess I don't really read thrillers, so I'm not used to them?? Do other people find them stressful?"
October 18, 2020 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Jessica Woodbury I find a lot of thrillers not stressful because they don't feel real. But the closer they are to reality, the more stressful they become. Which is why this one stressed me the heck out!

CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian Hmm that makes sense. This one was definitely close to reality!

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