Book Review: When No One Is Watching

By Alyssa Cole

Publication Date: September 1, 2020

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

When No One is Watching was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Alyssa Cole really surprised me with this book. I read her Reluctant Royals series and really enjoyed it, but I didn’t know what to expect with her writing a thriller. Alyssa Cole included all of her best writing qualities in this book and an important issue. When No One is Watching is releasing at the perfect time with the importance of race issues in 2020.

When No One is Watching is about gentrification. A medical research center is being built in Syndey’s neighborhood in Brooklyn. Sydney’s neighbors start moving to the suburbs. Sydney is planning a walking tour of her neighborhood to showcase the black residents and the wrongs have faced in the past. One of the new neighbors, Theo becomes Sydney’s research assistant. More and more weird stuff keeps happening and more neighbors are moving out without saying goodbye. Sydney starts getting suspicious and starts wondering can she learn what’s happening right now based on what happened in the past. What is actually going on? Is Sydney rightfully concerned or making up something out of nothing? Who can Sydney trust? Can she figure out what is going on?

When No One is Watching is the perfect combination of serious issues and suspense. This was my first book about gentrification and I am so glad I read it. I felt like I learned a lot more than I have from reading newspaper articles which was my only previous experience with gentrification. I definitely have a lot more to learn. I had strong feelings towards all of the characters and was very invested in the story since the beginning. Sydney was the perfect protagonist. I felt like how she reacted to everything was very realistic and her personality really made her feel like a real person.

I highly recommend When No One is Watching to thriller fans that are interested in reading about serious issues like gentrification.

Thank you Harper Collins/William Morrow Paperbacks and Edelweiss for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Alyssa Cole is an award-winning author of historical, contemporary, and sci-fi romance. Her Civil War-set espionage romance An Extraordinary Union was the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award’s Best Book of 2017 and the American Library Association’s RUSA Best Romance for 2018, and A Princess in Theory was one of the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2018. She’s contributed to publications including Bustle, Shondaland, The Toast, Vulture, RT Book Reviews, and Heroes and Heartbreakers, and her books have received critical acclaim from The New York Times, Library Journal, BuzzFeed, Kirkus, Booklist, Jezebel, Vulture, Book Riot, Entertainment Weekly, and various other outlets. When she’s not working, she can usually be found watching anime or wrangling her pets.