So, I read Alyssa Cole’s When No One is Watching over Labor day weekend. I was blown away. I doubly recommend this book as it’s so captivating and simultaneously thought-provoking. Every time I put it down, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and had to go back and finish it.
How to summarize it…
So, Sydney is a 30-year-old black woman struggling with depression and reeling from a failed marriage with a jerk ex-husband. She’s back home in Brooklyn, living in the house her mother owns. Sydney’s neighborhood is rapidly changing, as a result of gentrification, and people are vanishing left and right without a trace. It’s really concerning.
Theo’s a white man, of about the same age. He and his ex-girlfriend, Kim, co-own a house in Sydney’s neighborhood. Kim is rich. Theo’s struggling to get by. Where Kim’s racist and snooty, Theo tries to fit in with his new neighbors.
At a neighborhood meeting, Sydney reluctantly enlists Theo to assist her with a project she’s been working on (well, half-working on because…depression). She wants to put on a historical tour of her neighborhood, after a tour she and Theo both participated in a while back completely ignored the contributions of black people to the neighborhood. So, the two start researching and poking their noses around the neighborhood and are plunged into a world of secrets and corruption and paranoia and terror. (And when I say terror, I mean I screamed).
I rarely read thrillers or romance because I scare easily and am not a romantic, but this romance thriller had me caught.
Here are my thoughts. (Warning: There will be spoilers…)
18 thoughts I had while reading When No One is Watching
- OMG. Sydney. I feel seen. 30-year-old black woman. Depressed. Ground shifting beneath her feet. People around you disappearing. Been there. (Except for the being 30 part).
- Someone needs to punch Kim in the face.
- Drea. That’s facts. Drea’s Sydney’s best friend and the only person she leans on. So, yeah. It’s tough to hear, but when you’re struggling with your mental health you gotta spread out your support system. For yourself and your friend.
- I’m lowkey team Theo. He’s cute.
- Can I press “See more,” please??? I want to keep reading all the shade. I’m nosy.
- Someone needs to punch Tony in the face.
- Team Theo. Like I said.
- Also, Sydney, get your money. (Later thought: You can bust out a gun and start shooting, but not get your $10 back?)
- Wth Marcus??? What a toxic dude. Someone should punch him in the face.
- OMG. Kavaughn! Wait…that was him earlier??
- These are “Most Dangerous Game” + My Worst Fear vibes. Police (or anyone for that matter) hunting other people in the dark. No thanks.
- Don’t feed into it! Omg, people. Don’t give the police what they want. Go inside. (Even though I don’t know what the proper response is anymore when dealing with corrupt police. You could wind up dead regardless.)
- Daang, Sydney. “…I can reach out to him. Steady him….I don’t.” I mean, she’s right, but dang.
- Boy, don’t flake now. I do like how Theo’s constantly checking & assessing his privilege, even though prior to the start of the novel, he might of said he didn’t have any. Sometimes, I still worry though. He could walk away if he wanted to.
- For someone prone to panic attacks, Sydney is READY. Go ‘head, girl.
- Ahhh! Ms. Payne. (I actually did scream out loud).
- I want to watch this. Is this going to be a movie?
- I’m 100% checking out the recommended reading at the end. For all the times I thought “Whaaaat? I need to look that up.”