Audiobook Review: You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Mogsy’s Rating (Overall): 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Macmillan Audio (March 3, 2020)
Length: 11 hrs and 2 mins
Narrators: Barrie Kreinik, Dylan Moore
I loved You Are Not Alone, though it is also quite a bit different from the typical thrillers I enjoy. Unfortunately, it would be tough to explain without giving away too much of the story, but I’ll try my best while keeping this review completely spoiler-free. After all, I would hate to reveal too many details, especially since there’s a definite reason why the blurb is so vague…
Our story begins with an introduction to Shay Miller, a young woman in her early-30s living and working in New York City. Like most urban millennials, she relies heavily on the transit system to get around, but one morning she witnesses the grisly suicide at the subway station. The event traumatizes her, making her fear travel on the subway, and not least because she tried to save the jumper but failed. From the police, Shay finds out that the woman who killed herself was named Amanda, and thus an obsession was born. Looking up everything she can about the other woman’s life, Shay cannot get over the similarities between them. She finds out the address of Amanda’s old apartment to leave flowers, then shows up at the memorial service. By all outward appearances, Amanda was happy, had a good job, and was surrounded by friends. What could have possibly driven her to suicide?
Unbeknownst to Shay, however, her activities have not gone unnoticed. A group of women made up of Amanda’s friends, led by an influential pair of sisters named Cassandra and Jane Moore, are for some reason extremely worked up about Shay’s sudden interest in Amanda’s case. Utilizing their vast network of powerful contacts in the city, Cassandra and Jane gradually insert more of themselves into Shay’s life, trying to tease out what she knows.
Because of the way it is structured, You Are Not Alone can be quite a bit of a mess at times, but I can’t deny it was entertaining and engaging. Told via alternating viewpoints between Shay and the Moore sisters, with flashback chapters and the POVs of the other women thrown in here and there for good measure, the novel makes the reader work hard for their understanding of the situation. At first, it’s not even clear how this could be a true mystery, as our main character, Shay, stays completely oblivious as to what’s going on for most of the book. It got to be a little confusing, not to mention frustrating at times, because we were made privy to all the string-pulling and manipulations behind the scenes but were kept in the dark as to the overall purpose of it all.
Rest assured though, it does come together eventually. And when it does, that’s when you can finally appreciate the groundwork that was laid by the authors. If you’ve been gathering clues up to that point, your diligence will also be rewarded as the Moore sisters’ intentions for Shay become clear. Looking back when I finished the book, I could understand how story’s initial disjointedness could be justified and realized too how many red herrings had been planted.
But perhaps the best thing about the book was Shay herself. Characters in psychological thrillers are often written in a style that is exaggerated or over-the-top, but this is not the case here. There’s no question that Shay is a flawed protagonist, but she is also earnest and oh so real. She knows what she wants but isn’t quite sure how to go about getting it, and it’s important for her to feel she belongs somewhere. I felt an immediate connection to her because of her inherent goodness, and found it ironic and a little funny how the Moore sisters often read too much into Shay’s genuine willingness to please. But while Shay may be pliable, she is not stupid. In fact, she has some obsessive tendencies and is a walking library of fascinating statistics, which she records in a notebook that goes everywhere with her. And when the moment of truth arrives, she also knows how to fight back and protect herself.
Overall, You Are Not Alone was quite a ride, and while not exactly the type of thriller I expected, I nonetheless got what I was looking for: an intriguing concept, a delicious mystery and edge-of-your-seat suspense. It was my first book by the writing duo Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, but I’ll probably be going back and checking out The Wife Between Us and An Anonymous Girl after this.
Audiobook Comments: I love a good thriller in audio, because it’s a surefire way to energize my reading and break me out of a slump. You Are Not Alone did its job, and it was masterfully narrated by Barrie Kreinik and Dylan Moore, who kept the multiple POVs clear and easy to follow even though there were so many characters.