Not every story is black and white.
Riley and Jen have been best friends since they were children, and they thought their bond was unbreakable. It never mattered to them that Riley is black and Jen is white. And then Jen’s husband, a Philadelphia police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager and everything changes in an instant.
This one act could destroy more than just Riley and Jen’s friendship. As their community takes sides, so must Jen and Riley, and for the first time in their lives the lifelong friends find themselves on opposing sides.
But can anyone win a fight like this?
We Are Not Like Them is about friendship and love. It’s about prejudice and betrayal. It’s about standing up for what you believe in, no matter the cost.
This is destined to be a conversation piece in the book world and would make a great book club choice. It is written with nuance and has many blink and you miss it little inclusions that as a white woman I had to pay careful attention to. I’m sure if I was black these would have stood out a mile. For example Riley changing her name from Leroya to a more “white” name to get where she wanted.
What I did like was the authors’ choice to make Riley successful and Jen riddled with debt and beholden to her after accepting money for another round of IVF. Black characters are rarely portrayed as successful and it was nice to move away from the lazy stereotypes. With all the social commentary over police shootings and brutality towards the black community this is a story that needs telling and who better to tell it than two authors that can give a unique perspective by joining together. I felt after their reader note that was exactly what I was going to get.
However, while this book is mostly about a friendship between Riley and Jen unfortunately that was what I found slightly lacking. Maybe it was because I didn’t particularly like either of them and it was a friendship that felt very one sided and at times even toxic. In fact the voice that was, for me anyway, the most resoundingly powerful was Justin Dwyer’s. The fourteen year old black boy who was the victim of the police shooting.
Without any spoilers, this was a compelling read but I just wanted it to be more raw and real rather than the polished and too neat story it sadly became.
About the authors
Christine Pride worked in publishing for fifteen years. Over the course of her career, Christine worked with a variety of established and debut writers and published many New York Times bestsellers and critically acclaimed books including, From Scratch, Heaven is Here, and A Reason to Believe. Christine now writes full-time.
Jo Piazza is an award-winning journalist and editor who has written for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Glamour, Marie Claire and Elle. The bestselling author of The Knock Off, How to Be Married, Fitness Junkie, and Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win, she currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two children.
We Are Not Like Them is their debut novel as a writing duo.
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