Emily and Kristen have been best friends for over 10 years, they've had their fair share of secrets but when a fatal event repeats itself Emily steps back to assess her commitment to keeping even more. Kristen starts keeping too close an eye on Emily and the pressure starts to bubble over causing old wounds to open wide.
Thank you to Kallie at Penguin for arranging my spot on this blog tour, she was incredible in helping me when I ran into a few problems! Obviously, also a big thank you to Andrea for writing a spectacular book! The fellow reviewers on this tour are listed below!
Immediately, it is clear that Bartz knows how to convincingly write intense friendships. Emily and Kristen felt incredibly real, their dynamic flowed naturally without the narrative of their "soul-mate" friendship being forced. Emily in particular generated feelings of compassion within me, we've all been in a similar situation (not this particular situation... I hope) where our decision making skills seem to falter and her reactions to everything didn't feel unrealistic. Standing between a rock and a hard place is never a nice place to be but Emily's portrayal, in comparison to the usual thriller heroines, never stepped too far into the realm of unbelievable.
What really gained my attention was the synopsis of the book already telling you what you needed to know about Kristen. We know going into this novel that a murder took place, albeit through self-defence, and another one causes the friendship to fracture so I wasn't expecting to be blown away by the developing narrative because I knew what I was getting myself in for, but I was wrong. As the plot progressed it became glaringly obvious Bartz has set us up for secrets, thrills and the unthinkable when it comes to unraveling the aftermath of Emily and Kristen's visit to Chile. This is another book where I think you need to look past the synopsis to really get going with the story itself, it wasn't until about 100-150 pages in that I really got invested but once that penny dropped that there was more going on I was hooked in for reading late into the night.
A novel that spans geographic locations relies on strong descriptive language and the atmosphere built through that. I'm not extremely well travelled, I have been to America once and South America, never, so relying on Bartz's skill in this area was key for me. And whilst I cannot obviously compare the settings myself, it still felt natural in comparison to what I hear and know about these places. Some authors utilise one skill in setting a scene and transfer it across locations but for each setting there was a different tone in Bartz's writing that transported me across the world.
I will not ruin this novel for anyone, I want everyone to pick this up and experience it themselves, but all I can say is that everything came together beautifully for the conclusion. Twists and turns galore and that's exactly what I wanted to see. Nothing was straightforward or expected when it came to We Were Never Here and I wouldn't want it any other way. I'm so glad I reached out to Kallie to push for my place on the blog tour because this will easily become one of my favourite reads of the year, no doubt.