Who We Were Review

Title: Who We Were
Author: B.M. Carroll
Published:
April 2020
Publisher: Viper (Serpent’s Tail)
Readership: Adult
Genre: Crime & Mystery
Rating: ★★★★
RRP: $29.99

I received a copy of Who We Were from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

A gripping novel about the power of childhood cruelty, and how it makes us the adults we become.

IT’S BEEN TWENTY YEARS
BUT ALL IS NOT FORGIVEN

Katy is not the shy schoolgirl she once was, and she’s looking forward to showing her classmates who she’s become.

Annabel was the queen bee. But her fall from grace changed her life forever.

Zach was cruel, but he thinks he’s changed.

Robbie was a target. And he never stood a chance.

The reunion will bring together friends and enemies, many for the first time in decades. But someone is still holding a grudge…

Reading crime/thrillers always means stepping outside my comfort zone – but that’s a good thing, and one I try to practice regularly when it comes to reading (and reviewing) books. When I was approached about reviewing Who We Were I knew it was time to dive back in and try another new-to-me author as well.

Who We Were follows a group of high school friends, twenty years later, as they prepare for an upcoming school reunion. Each member of the group has varying degrees of interest or apprehension about the reunion, because now, with hindsight, they can recognise that their behaviour in their late teens is not always a good reflection on them. As the reunion approaches, certain members of the group begin to receive threatening notes that reveal a lot of past secrets that they don’t want exposed.

Who We Were reads like a domestic thriller, as we focus on a core group of adults living their lives as parents or employees and the daily struggles and lies that come with the territory. We get multiple perspectives (POVs) from the core group of students – some of who were part of the ‘inner’ group from high school, and some who were on the fringes. Every character starts at a different place in their life, with a different degree of happiness in how their life has turned out, which impacts how eager they are for the reunion – those who’ve turned their life around or are content want to see everyone, and those who are beginning to realise some discontent in their lives or who recognise that their behaviour in the past was less than exemplary are less so.

As the date approaches, different characters begin to receive threatening notes that reveal deep-seated fears or past truths that disturb those who receive them, which in turn prompts them to start turning on the other members of their high school group, the only other people who could have known about them. What develops is a collective sense of paranoia that someone is watching them and out for revenge.

While it took me a little while to become invested in the characters – some of whom I really struggled to connect with, because, by design, they’re not always likeable – I did become invested in the story. I really wanted to know who was behind the notes, and it surprised me. There were enough misdirections thrown in to keep me guessing and overall it was a really great read.

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