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All booksThrillerWe Were Never Here
We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz

We Were Never Here

by Andrea Bartz

Quick take

Hike at your own risk signs never mention the potential for murder. These two frenemies could've used the warning.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Action


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FemaleFriendship

    Female friendships

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Unreliable

    Unreliable narrator

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Quest


Why I love it

Anna Pitoniak
Author, Necessary People

We Were Never Here is a gripping, thought-provoking thriller about two ride-or-die best friends who meet up once a year for an epic travel adventure. It's a special kind of friendship: Even though Emily lives in Wisconsin, and Kristen lives in Australia, they are committed to each other. Committed enough that, when tragedy strikes, they're willing to help the other person cover up a dead body—not once, but twice. They share these secrets because they know they can trust each other. If they both keep their mouths shut, they’ll both be safe.

But what if one of them starts behaving oddly? What if, suddenly, they start doubting the other person? What happens if they lose that trust?

I devoured this novel in a handful of sittings. I was desperate to know what was going to happen to Emily and Kristen, and whether they would crack under pressure, especially as the police started digging deeper. But I was also transported by the evocative settings: the high desert of Chile, the humid cliffs of Cambodia. In these far-flung places, nobody knows them. Emily and Kristen can be whoever they want to be; they can do whatever they want to do. Andrea Bartz beautifully captures the freedom, and also the danger, that comes from this kind of anonymity.

This is the perfect summer read: a smart, twisty thriller about dreamy vacations that turn into nightmares.

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Emily is having the time of her life—she's in the mountains of Chile with her best friend, Kristen, on their annual reunion trip, and the women are feeling closer than ever. But on the last night of their trip, Emily enters their hotel suite to find blood and broken glass on the floor. Kristen says the cute backpacker she'd been flirting with attacked her, and she had no choice but to kill him in self-defense. Even more shocking: The scene is horrifyingly similar to last year's trip, when another backpacker wound up dead. Emily can't believe it's happened again—can lightning really strike twice?

Back home in Wisconsin, Emily struggles to bury her trauma, diving head-first into a new relationship and throwing herself into work. But when Kristen shows up for a surprise visit, Emily is forced to confront their violent past. The more Kristen tries to keep Emily close, the more Emily questions her friend's motives. As Emily feels the walls closing in on their coverups, she must reckon with the truth about her closest friend. Can she outrun the secrets she shares with Kristen, or will they destroy her relationship, her freedom—even her life?

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Get an early look from the first pages of We Were Never Here.

Member thoughts

All (6361)
All (6361)
Love (2192)
Like (3556)
Dislike (613)
6407 ratings
  • 34% Love
  • 56% Like
  • 10% Dislike
  • Paducah, KY

    This book is excellent and really shows the effects of gaslighting! I felt just as anxious as the main character while reading the book & didn’t anticipate the twists at the end. Couldn’t put it down!

  • Bellefonte, PA

    A psychological thriller that’s both pulse-pounding & thought-provoking; a chilling look at toxic friendship and power with sharp insight on how the world tries to keep women’s lives small & fearful.

  • Westfield, IN

    This had the basics for a good thriller, including psychological mind games that can go either way with a reader depending on their experience with gaslighting. The ending was a bit off for me though.

  • Fallon , NV

    I absolutely enjoyed reading this book! It had the right surprising turns and mystery of the relationships between the characters! It had me on my toes and on the edge of my couch throughout the book!

  • Schaumburg, IL

    This is a thriller that you can't put down and that will have you second guessing, even once you finish reading it. My husband and I both read it and disagreed about the ending. A perfect binge read

  • Boerne, TX

    This was not only a breakneck thriller with a unique premise, but it explored in depth female friendship dynamics, sexual politics and how we are all shaped by the events of childhood. Delicious.

  • Slidell, LA

    Holy cow! What a wild ride. Loved the story line of two traveling besties, but the psychological twists and anticipation around every corner had me on the edge of my seat holding my breath!

  • Oshkosh, WI

    This was a good one! It made me think I was losing my mind right along with the one character. I really had no idea of what was real or right until the end! Will be reading her other novels!

  • Albuquerque, NM

    An intriguing and paranoid twist on what it means to be "best friends." Where's the line between fact and fiction? Loyalty and gaslighting? And how much does your past affect your present?

  • Atlanta, GA

    Gaslighting. Lots of it. Both Emily and me the reader. The book was well written and easy to read. I read it fast. It didn’t go where I was convinced it would go. Also love travel plots.

  • Toledo, OH

    Bartz perfectly captures the ever-present fear of moving through life as a young woman. Besides the final twist, which I found out of place and for shock more than anything, I loved it!

  • University Place, WA

    I loved this more than I thought I would. It’s been a long time since I despised a character so much I’m yelling at the book. It was hard to predict what would happen. So good!

  • Marion, IA

    Thought provoking and very unpredictable. I genuinely had no idea where it was going. It tied up loose ends and had enjoyable humor, references, intrigue, and realness. Great book!

  • Saint Louis, MO

    At first, this book was like a lifetime movie, but it took twists and turns that were unexpected. I enjoyed the thriller aspects and the moments when I questioned how it would end.

  • Lakewood, OH

    This was a wild ride from the beginning. The lives of two world traveling best friends are not exactly what they seem. An interesting spin on toxic relationships and gaslighting.

  • Allentown, PA

    Excellent storyline! I was so hooked to see how this friendship would play out!! A murder right at the beginning and a struggle to keep secrets made for a really great read!!

  • Yorkville , IL

    This was a fast, scary book! Perfect for October! Loved all the twists and turns it took, and I loved how the author has the right amount of suspense with the characters

  • Carrollton, TX

    Wow I loved this one. I didn’t want to put it down but I had to know how everything would shake out. Great writing and pacing - highly recommend if you like thrillers!

  • Cuyahoga Falls, OH

    Great book! Loved the mystery and the intrigue! At first I wasn’t sure what to expect between the two women and this book kept me guessing as I flew through the pages!

  • Plainview, NE

    The twists and turns kept me going on this story. Up until the very end I didn’t know who to believe was the original killer or even at the end who really did it.

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