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

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

    Action-packed

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FemaleFriendship

    Female friendships

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Unreliable

    Unreliable narrator

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Quest

    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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Synopsis

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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Preview

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

Member thoughts

All (2483)
All (2483)
Love (944)
Like (1314)
Dislike (225)
2493 ratings
  • 38% Love
  • 53% Like
  • 9% 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.

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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?

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • Saint Johns, MI

    Very different from thrillers I’ve read lately/most often. Loved the travel aspect and the psychological twists and turns. Very Amanda Knox/Natalee Holloway vibes

  • Branch, MI

    Best book I've read in a while! The story was unique, well-written and had plenty of twists without being ridiculous. Will definitely read more from this author.

  • Saginaw , MI

    I loved this! After a trip gone wrong, the relationship between two best friends becomes so tense as the reader tries to figure out what is really happening.

  • Ellicott City, MD

    This was a really good thriller. I was hooked very early on and had to know what happened. Some parts were slightly ambiguous but I really liked it overall.

  • Arlington, VA

    A 4 star read for me! The beginning and end were complete page turners, with it slowing down a tad in the middle. I liked the dark and twistyness!

  • Petoskey, MI

    4 stars. Excellent psychological thriller . A few ends that weren’t tied up as much as they should have been, but overall a good page turner.

  • Rochester, NH

    I love this author's work! This one did not end up where I was expecting it to and I loved the open-for-interpretation ending. Great read!

  • Blaine, MN

    The amount of suspense in this book reminded me of the amount of suspense in outer banks. Edge of your seat. Would make a great movie.

  • Ephrata, PA

    This book had me from the very beginning! One manipulative character and one finding her voice. Wow!! I couldn’t put it down!!!

  • Butte, MT

    So engaging! I was on the edge of my seat throughout this novel- just waiting to see how it could possibly end! Gah!! Loved it

  • Rock Rapids, IA

    A lot happened in the first few chapters, so I wasn’t sure where the story was going. It kept my attention the whole time.

  • Davenport, FL

    Couldn't put down this fast paced thriller. Loved the world travel descriptions, and the beautiful cover doesn't hurt either!

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