When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole
The gentrification of a Brooklyn neighborhood takes on a sinister new meaning…
Sydney Green is Brooklyn born and raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, and the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past and present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour and finds an unlikely and unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbor Theo.
But Sydney and Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia and fear. Their neighbors may not have moved to the suburbs after all, and the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised.
When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney and Theo trust each other—or themselves—long enough to find out before they too disappear?
History is fucking wild.
Thank you to Libro fm for sending me an ALC is exchange for an honest review.
Have you ever read a book and felt that its genre classification does it a disservice? In my opinion, that is what is happening with When No One is Watching. This book is being pitched as a thriller, and it certainly has thriller elements (especially near the end), but it is so much more than that. I have seen mixed reviews, and I think a large part of that is that readers are going into it expecting a traditional thriller and this book is more contemporary/literary and a commentary on gentrification.
I thought that When No One is Watching had some interesting reveals and the ending had me on the edge of my seat, but where it really shined was in the knowledge that the events that take place in this book are not so farfetched and are rooted in history. There were moments that made me so deeply uncomfortable and angry because they felt so authentic. I think that Alyssa Cole perfectly achieved what she set out to do, and I love that she chose to step outside of her normal genre to tell us this story.
I agree with other reviewers when they say there are something pacing issues, but don’t let the slower beginning stop you from finishing this one. Trust me, it is worth it!
If you are someone who reads a lot of thrillers and you are looking for something a little different, I highly recommend When No One is Watching. I also think readers who are not typically thriller readers will appreciate this one.
I also highly recommend the audiobook!
- Characters: 8
- Atmosphere/Setting: 9
- Writing Style: 9
- Plot: 8
- Intrigue: 9
- Logic/Relationships: 9
- Enjoyment: 8
Overall CAWPILE score: 60/7=8.5
Do you have any thriller recommendations that are also a social commentary?