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We Are Not Like Them

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Told from alternating perspectives, an evocative and riveting novel about the lifelong bond between two women, one Black and one white, whose friendship is indelibly altered by a tragic event—a powerful and poignant exploration of race in America today and its devastating impact on ordinary lives. Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten. As adults, they rema Told from alternating perspectives, an evocative and riveting novel about the lifelong bond between two women, one Black and one white, whose friendship is indelibly altered by a tragic event—a powerful and poignant exploration of race in America today and its devastating impact on ordinary lives. Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten. As adults, they remain as close as sisters, though their lives have taken different directions. Jen married young, and after years of trying, is finally pregnant. Riley pursued her childhood dream of becoming a television journalist and is poised to become one of the first Black female anchors of the top news channel in their hometown of Philadelphia. But the deep bond they share is severely tested when Jen’s husband, a city police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager. Six months pregnant, Jen is in freefall as her future, her husband’s freedom, and her friendship with Riley are thrown into uncertainty. Covering this career-making story, Riley wrestles with the implications of this tragic incident for her Black community, her ambitions, and her relationship with her lifelong friend. Like Tayari Jones’s An American Marriage and Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things, We Are Not Like Them explores complex questions of race and how they pervade and shape our most intimate spaces in a deeply divided world. But at its heart, it’s a story of enduring friendship—a love that defies the odds even as it faces its most difficult challenges.


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Told from alternating perspectives, an evocative and riveting novel about the lifelong bond between two women, one Black and one white, whose friendship is indelibly altered by a tragic event—a powerful and poignant exploration of race in America today and its devastating impact on ordinary lives. Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten. As adults, they rema Told from alternating perspectives, an evocative and riveting novel about the lifelong bond between two women, one Black and one white, whose friendship is indelibly altered by a tragic event—a powerful and poignant exploration of race in America today and its devastating impact on ordinary lives. Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten. As adults, they remain as close as sisters, though their lives have taken different directions. Jen married young, and after years of trying, is finally pregnant. Riley pursued her childhood dream of becoming a television journalist and is poised to become one of the first Black female anchors of the top news channel in their hometown of Philadelphia. But the deep bond they share is severely tested when Jen’s husband, a city police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager. Six months pregnant, Jen is in freefall as her future, her husband’s freedom, and her friendship with Riley are thrown into uncertainty. Covering this career-making story, Riley wrestles with the implications of this tragic incident for her Black community, her ambitions, and her relationship with her lifelong friend. Like Tayari Jones’s An American Marriage and Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things, We Are Not Like Them explores complex questions of race and how they pervade and shape our most intimate spaces in a deeply divided world. But at its heart, it’s a story of enduring friendship—a love that defies the odds even as it faces its most difficult challenges.

30 review for We Are Not Like Them

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    We Are Not Like Them will be a fabulous choice for book clubs, which is likely exactly what it was written for. In fact, it almost constantly throws up talking points as if the authors were working through a list of topics. I just wanted it to be more complex and interesting than it was. The premise sounds great, but I don't think the book ever really lived up to it. The blurb posits that Jen and Riley, who are white and black respectively, are the bestest of friends, and have been for pretty muc We Are Not Like Them will be a fabulous choice for book clubs, which is likely exactly what it was written for. In fact, it almost constantly throws up talking points as if the authors were working through a list of topics. I just wanted it to be more complex and interesting than it was. The premise sounds great, but I don't think the book ever really lived up to it. The blurb posits that Jen and Riley, who are white and black respectively, are the bestest of friends, and have been for pretty much their whole lives. Like sisters, even. When Jen's husband, a police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed black boy, politics and calls for social justice worm their way into the women's friendship. I was curious about this. What happens when two people who are so close become divided by race? Except the authors never really take us there at all. From the very first time we meet Riley and Jen, we see the former inwardly cringing as Jen jokes about "CPT", biting her tongue as she recalls how Jen never gets her problem with strangers touching her hair. And Jen seems to use Riley to borrow money and get a free lunch. Is this the close friendship I came for? Seems one-sided at best. This fact, I feel, weakens the impact of the rest of the book. Oh, suddenly Riley and Jen aren't talking? Well, not such a great loss after all. I found Jen incredibly selfish and I have to say, at the novel's close, I'm not sure what lessons she had really learned. While it's nice that (view spoiler)[the story concluded white people and black people can actually be friends, I couldn't help thinking that Jen didn't really deserve Riley's friendship. (hide spoiler)] It also felt like a bit of a cop-out (no pun intended) that Jen's husband was the less culpable shooter, paving the way for (view spoiler)[a nice, neat ending full of sunsets and forgiveness (hide spoiler)] .

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael David

    5 stars for this powerful, riveting novel. Riley, a Black news reporter, and Jen, a white pregnant woman, have been best friends since kindergarten. They’ve managed to stay close throughout the years despite distance and different life paths. Just a short time after Riley moves back to her hometown, Jen’s husband, a police officer named Kevin, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager. Riley is set to report on the story, but her relationship with Jen will forever be changed. I don’ 5 stars for this powerful, riveting novel. Riley, a Black news reporter, and Jen, a white pregnant woman, have been best friends since kindergarten. They’ve managed to stay close throughout the years despite distance and different life paths. Just a short time after Riley moves back to her hometown, Jen’s husband, a police officer named Kevin, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager. Riley is set to report on the story, but her relationship with Jen will forever be changed. I don’t know if I can give this book the proper justice it deserves, but all I can say is WOW! It’s an intense, raw look at racism, prejudices, police brutality, white privilege, and biases. It’s also a moving and powerful book that examines friendships, family ties, love, and loss. Some moments are uncomfortable, but we should all be reading about these uncomfortable moments and having uncomfortable conversations. I found the story to be incredibly moving and powerful. It is clearly a relevant topic, and I appreciate how authors Christine Pride and Jo Piazza (real life interracial friends) let us into Riley and Jen’s headspace. I knew exactly what they were thinking at all given times...going through turmoil, heartache, rage, regret, etc. We Are Not Like Them is thought provoking and timely. I felt like I was on an emotional rollercoaster, but didn’t want to get off. I was sad when it ended. Not only is this going to be one of my favorite reads of 2021, it’s also one of my favorite books I’ve read. The Q&A with the authors in the physical hardcover edition is a real treasure as well. Now available. Review also posted at: https://bonkersforthebooks.wordpress.com

  3. 4 out of 5

    Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)

    Real and raw, a ripped from the headlines story. "It kills me how some people want so badly to believe racism is buried beneath layers and layers of history, 'ancient history' they say. But it's not. It's like an umpire brushing the thinnest layer of dirt off home plate: it's right there. Only too often the trauma, the toll of it, remains unknown generation after generation." Jen is white, Riley is Black. The two women have been friends since they were children, now Jen is married to police office Real and raw, a ripped from the headlines story. "It kills me how some people want so badly to believe racism is buried beneath layers and layers of history, 'ancient history' they say. But it's not. It's like an umpire brushing the thinnest layer of dirt off home plate: it's right there. Only too often the trauma, the toll of it, remains unknown generation after generation." Jen is white, Riley is Black. The two women have been friends since they were children, now Jen is married to police officer Kevin and is pregnant after suffering from infertility and receiving IVF. Riley is a single television journalist making a name for herself in the large Philadelphia market. The two meet to catch up on their lives and are interrupted by a text--a fourteen-year-old unarmed Black teen has been shot by police, and Kevin is involved. From here, the story is told by both Jen's and Riley's perspectives. Riley is covering the story and Jen is navigating things from the other side. Jen is caught between two worlds and Riley is hesitant to confront Jen about various issues. The two become estranged at times throughout the process, and eventually are able to be honest with each other about race, friendship, and loyalty. There's a great deal to unpack in this story, and many of the issues brought up from Riley's point-of-view may cause discomfort with some readers who aren't ready to confront privilege and microaggression. I could see my own views and the views of people I know reflected in the narrative, and honestly appreciated Christine Pride's vulnerability with her writing. I read an interview that said that Piazza and Pride collaboratively wrote the book, rather than one writing the white characters and one writing the Black ones, and I think the book is better for that collaboration. This means the novel reflects the stumbling blocks we all face as human beings in addition to those that are specifically race related. The examination of police culture, especially within families, is an important thread in this book and becomes more poignant at the end. Those who believe that there are simple explanations and solutions to the complex racial issues in our society can clearly see from this narrative that there is more to everything below the surface and will require some painful re-examination of long held beliefs and practices. I highly recommend this powerful and meaningful novel. It is incredibly relevant to the world we live in today, and necessary if we want to change and grow into better people. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ceecee

    5 huge stars. This is a powerful and emotional co-written story of an interracial friendship whose strong bonds, forged since childhood, are severely tested by a devastating incident. Jen is finally pregnant thanks to repeated and expensive IVF treatment and Riley is now a successful TV journalist and hopefully poised to become one of the first black anchor presenters in Philadelphia. When we first meet them in a Philadelphia bar, their whip smart dialogue reveals a long and comfortable friendsh 5 huge stars. This is a powerful and emotional co-written story of an interracial friendship whose strong bonds, forged since childhood, are severely tested by a devastating incident. Jen is finally pregnant thanks to repeated and expensive IVF treatment and Riley is now a successful TV journalist and hopefully poised to become one of the first black anchor presenters in Philadelphia. When we first meet them in a Philadelphia bar, their whip smart dialogue reveals a long and comfortable friendship in which they feel like loving sisters. When Jen receives a text message from her cop husband she rushes off and you take a deep breath because you just know deep in your heart that it’s bad. A fourteen year old black teenager Justin Dwyer has been shot and severely injured. The shocking story is told in alternating perspectives as Riley covers the story for her TV channel and Jen stands by her man. For the first time in their long friendship race plays a huge role in their relationship. Can it survive or will fault lines open the size of San Andreas and never be healed? I don’t feel that whatever I say here can fully do this book justice as it’s a turbulent, gut wrenching and raw emotional rollercoaster as you realise through the two narratives that they see and experience the world very differently. The dual approach works brilliantly as it’s very balanced with the opposing perspectives and this is what gives the book such credibility. It’s very interesting to compare and contrast their views, both of them are in a state of turmoil although on occasions if I’m honest, Jen is hard to like. The interracial authoring gives the book a distinctly honest edge and an air of truthfulness. It’s extremely well written, perfectly paced and very hard to put down. Some of Riley’s sections are especially emotional as it reveals entrenched injustice in her family which goes back generations, it freezes your blood and fills your eyes with tears. Her grandmother Gigi is a wonderful character who imparts such wisdom and a sense of hope. Overall, the book clearly raises very important questions and I think examining them from the narrower perspective of two friends makes it much more effective, powerful, very thought provoking and hard hitting so much so that you feel as if you have been in an emotional wringer. It’s fantastic and I highly recommend it. With thanks to NetGalley and especially to HQ for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine

    This is a hard book to read, but it is an important one that realistically renders the current divisions in society. Jen is six months pregnant and is sitting at a bar waiting for her best friend Riley to show up so the pair can catch up on each other’s lives. As the two friends are chatting, Jen gets a string of urgent texts from her husband Kevin, a police officer, that instantly alarms her and causes her to gather her belongings and leave, only telling Riley that “something happened. To Kevin This is a hard book to read, but it is an important one that realistically renders the current divisions in society. Jen is six months pregnant and is sitting at a bar waiting for her best friend Riley to show up so the pair can catch up on each other’s lives. As the two friends are chatting, Jen gets a string of urgent texts from her husband Kevin, a police officer, that instantly alarms her and causes her to gather her belongings and leave, only telling Riley that “something happened. To Kevin.” Riley, a news reporter, learns very quickly that Kevin and his partner shot an unarmed Black teenager named Justin Dwyer. Riley is put on the case and struggles to compartmentalize between doing her job, feeling the anguish of another Black member of her community harmed by police, and balancing her now rocky friendship with Jen. Before all this happened Riley and Jen never spoke about race, but now the subject is unavoidable, and the stark differences of their life experiences put them at odds with each other. As a Black woman, Riley feels the hurt of another Black man suffering because of lethal police brutality. Meanwhile, Jen struggles to balance between supporting her husband and dealing with the horrible knowledge of his actions. Jen frequently fails to comprehend that the problem lies in racism and too often makes it about herself. This novel sadly plays out true-to-life. It echoes what happened in the aftermath of when Derek Chauvin and his accomplices murdered George Floyd and everyone before and after him. It is a heartbreaking story of one too many BIPOC who suffer at the hands of police brutality. We Are Not Like Them is a brilliantly written novel. This author duo did a superb job of getting to the heart of each character. Usually I’m iffy about co-authored books, but I cannot imagine this book written any other way. It highlights the obvious need for change, for police reform. Thank you to Atria Books/ Simon and Schuster Canada for providing me with an arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    What I gained from reading “We Are Not Like them” by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza, is further understanding of the frightening undertones of living as a black person. These authors write an emotional story of a black teen being unjustly shot by police officers. Of course, one would expect the usual agony of the mother and family of the victim. This story takes it further. As a white person, I don’t think of race 24/7. The reader gets the “feel” of being black, living black, and surviving as bla What I gained from reading “We Are Not Like them” by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza, is further understanding of the frightening undertones of living as a black person. These authors write an emotional story of a black teen being unjustly shot by police officers. Of course, one would expect the usual agony of the mother and family of the victim. This story takes it further. As a white person, I don’t think of race 24/7. The reader gets the “feel” of being black, living black, and surviving as black. The authors added another dimension of the emotional toll of police officers and their families. Yes they provide the “just doing our job” rationale. But these authors also made the reader see how it affects officers who are horrified by killing an innocent person. The public doesn’t see that. It’s the Blue Line and no officer crosses the Blue Line, they must back The Blue no matter what. This story showcases the power of the Blue Line. This story shows that there are officers and families out there who agonize over killing someone. How did the authors do this? Well, the story is told from two women’s POV. Riley is a news reporter for a local TV station in Philly. She went to Northwestern and worked her way up to be a lead reporter. Jen is her childhood bestie. Jen didn’t go to college, got married (to a police officer), and is 6 months pregnant as the story opens. How the girls became friends is that Jen went to a daycare run by Riley’s grandmother. Jen became a part of Riley’s family because Jen’s mother wasn’t interested in being a mother. What’s a bit unusual is that Riley is black and Jen is white. Both families are on the same economical class (poor). Jen gained a loving home by being part of Riley’s family. Jen did NOT gain a race perspective though. Jen never comprehended or saw the social differences of white versus black. Jen didn’t pick up the trials of being black in society. So, as the story opens, Jen’s husband is part of a shooting of an unarmed innocent black teen. Right after the shot, when Jen’s husband sees the boy on the ground, he knows it’s not the suspect because the kid doesn’t come close to fitting the description. It was his partner who identified the kid as the suspect and yelled “gun” when the boy put his hand in his pocket to turn off his smart phone that he was listening to. Rye is placed as the lead reporter for her local TV station. Rye understands the horrors and unfairness of being black. At first I felt there was an agenda here, as Jen’s in-law family is not represented well. Her husband comes from a family of cops, and “Backing The Blue” is expected, even when the shot is bad. Backing the Blue means supporting the police even when they are wrong. Jen and her husband receive heavy pressure from the family to back his partner, even when that partner was wrong. What I realized is that the authors were showing the powerful peer pressure officers receive. It takes tough and substantial personality to fight the expectations. I liked Riley’s chapters the best because her character shows the tightrope people of color walk in assimilating into the world. Her chapters also included how white people inadvertently, or otherwise, demean people of color. The legacy of our country (systematic racism) has not been kind to people of color, Riley’s chapters show that without lecture. Riley herself navigates the politics of being black while working in the world. Jen’s chapters were less informative to me (mostly because I’m a white person). The interesting part of her POV was being a policeman’s wife and part of a police family. Her in-law family did not come out well, to me. Jen’s struggle as a wife, as a new mother, of a police officer were interesting in that I didn’t think that police struggled with unfair shootings. The two women are complex and not one dimensional. The strength of the story is the internal struggle each has during this conflict. In in nonfiction world, I am hoping that the “Blue Line” has systematically changed after the George Floyd case. That case held national attention, and blatantly showed police force brutality in video. It was out in video the needless and unjust killing of a black man. Thankfully the “Blue Line” was crossed and the police force did not back the obvious crime of one police officer. Hopefully with the George Floyd case and books such as this one, the people of America will re-evaluate racism and the police force. And hopefully this novel will also enlighten some people to the layers of racism that exists, which can be stopped.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    This is such a powerful read. It’s a punch to realism. It’s a kick in the gut to wake up calls to We Are Not Like Them. I was dubious about reading co hosts authors. Not all knit together well. But I also know there are those that do! So in I went. I couldn’t help to fully understand the friendship between a white woman and a black woman. Ones that grew up together not thinking about skin colour. Because, my best friend I grew up with was black. I related to quite a few things in this story. You thin This is such a powerful read. It’s a punch to realism. It’s a kick in the gut to wake up calls to We Are Not Like Them. I was dubious about reading co hosts authors. Not all knit together well. But I also know there are those that do! So in I went. I couldn’t help to fully understand the friendship between a white woman and a black woman. Ones that grew up together not thinking about skin colour. Because, my best friend I grew up with was black. I related to quite a few things in this story. You think when growing up the relationship is unbreakable. Riley is black and Jen is white. Jens husband is a Police officer who (and I’m not giving anything away here) shot a black guy. He’s unarmed. Each sees it differently, each digest what happened differently. Because We Are Not Like Them. Both white people and black people have totally opposing life experiences and history. Jen wants to support her husband and she wants to support and understand Riley’s thoughts, emotions and aspect of it all. The We Are Not Like Them applies to both sides. Then not to just contend with that….they are now on different sides, there’s no overcoming this emotive issue. This is a strong subject matter that is definitely emotive. It’s not a matter of just choice. I was totally hooked into the pages of this. These authors did some superb brilliant ways to bring out issues that can happen and make you think, make you think so hard! I just struggle to find the words to express all my emotions. I saw my friend bullied, hurt, banned from places all because of the colour of her skin. I stood up! I got the same treatment because I was her white friend. This hit home to me BIG TIME. I so recommend this book to EVERYONE on my friends list. Read it. What would you do.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jonetta

    Riley Wilson and Jen Murphy have been best friends since they were in kindergarten. Riley’s now back in Philadelphia after a stint in Birmingham and is a TV news reporter with a shot at the anchor seat. Jen is married and six months pregnant, working part time until her baby is born. Their relationship is tested, however, the night Jen’s husband Kevin, a city police officer, accidentally shoots an unarmed and innocent young black teenager. See, Riley is black and is covering the shooting; Jen is Riley Wilson and Jen Murphy have been best friends since they were in kindergarten. Riley’s now back in Philadelphia after a stint in Birmingham and is a TV news reporter with a shot at the anchor seat. Jen is married and six months pregnant, working part time until her baby is born. Their relationship is tested, however, the night Jen’s husband Kevin, a city police officer, accidentally shoots an unarmed and innocent young black teenager. See, Riley is black and is covering the shooting; Jen is white and is terrified for her husband’s fate. Five minutes into this story and I knew I was in for an uncomfortable and sad journey. The premise is brilliant because it sets up the most gut-wrenchingly honest exploration of every aspect of both sides of the issues. Riley and Jen learned there were boundaries they’d subconsciously created in their relationship that surfaced, threatening to permanently separate them. Riley was often surprised at how clueless Jen was about the racism she faced regularly and she was disappointed in Riley’s lack of understanding of her own circumstances. They were surrounded by family and others who were entrenched in their points of view, wanting them to choose a black or white side (analogy intended) when there were so many shades of gray and nuances. This is a timely, relevant and powerfully presented story without easy solutions. What I loved was how Riley and Jen weren’t willing to completely abandon their friendship, even when it felt like it was what they were doing. I also liked that there were people close to them that reminded each that they had a valuable history. I listened to the story, which I believe elevated it to a stronger place, at least for me. The narrators for Riley and Jen were absolutely perfect in every way, including their expressions in emotional moments (anger, sadness, frustration, etc.). I hated the situations but loved that I was forced to face issues I needed to confront through these characters. What an outstanding performance and kudos to the writers for getting everything right, even though they didn’t have all the answers. Its honesty is stunning. Posted on Blue Mood Café (Thanks to Simon & Schuster Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Margaret M

    A powerful, emotional, and thought-provoking book that packs a real punch. The book is narrated by two women, Jen and Riley, who have known each other since childhood but despite their professional and personal lives taking them in different directions, they remain close with an obvious deep respect and a strong bond. However, the relationship between them which has stood the test of time and distance is to be tested and threatened by the death of a young black teenager Justin Dwyer, who was murd A powerful, emotional, and thought-provoking book that packs a real punch. The book is narrated by two women, Jen and Riley, who have known each other since childhood but despite their professional and personal lives taking them in different directions, they remain close with an obvious deep respect and a strong bond. However, the relationship between them which has stood the test of time and distance is to be tested and threatened by the death of a young black teenager Justin Dwyer, who was murdered by Jen’s husband Kevin and his partner. Riley a successful television news journalist, is on her own mission to become the next television anchor women, who will no doubt report the story and the names of her best friend’s husband Kevin, if shared. The story takes us on an emotional journey like no other as we follow the events, the lives changed and lost, the prejudices and injustice felt by many as the court of public opinion kicks in, the wheels of the justice system start to turn and we see, a family traumatised by the untimely and dreadful killing of their son and brother and a man wrestling with he has done. All of this played out with the underlying tensions between two friends, one back one white, which brings home the realities, the different opinions, and perspectives of all those people affected, by one single brutal act. I am not a fan of an author or film producer who uses their profession to jump on the band wagon of public opinion because they think it will help the sale of their book or film, the story needs to have significance, meaning and purpose. For me this story had real depth, a strong message and offered something different, it not only gave us an agonising insight into how a family struggled to come to terms with the untimely death of a child, but it opened us up to the knock-on effect of these incidents, deaths, and injustices on the everyone else who is touched by the victims, the accusers or murderers, and society as a whole. This is why I loved this book. It was a very moving story of consequence and how lives change whether the act is intentional and premeditated, impulsive and reckless whether you are related to the victim or the killer, because in the end when a life is cut short, it means forever, and a family is left in mourning. Without being preachy, the book reminds us that society needs to believe that all lives matter and justice means impartiality and equality for all regardless of colour, religion, sex, age, physicality (and the list is long). It was a stoke of genius to introduce the birth of a new baby to Jen and Kevin, another innocent who has not any time to live in this world yet but will be forever tainted by the sins of the father. Because in the end all actions have consequences. Highly recommended, wonderfully written with strong messaging and great characters.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Derek

    I loved the potential this book carried - two authors, one white and one black, explore the complexities of friendship and race after a devastating event. What I was hoping to get: unique, authentic perspectives from each author on the topics of racism and social injustice. What I got: an unauthentic, under-developed story of friendship that was frustratingly one-sided. I wanted this to go deeper into the topics but instead this reads as a bulleted list of How Not to be Racist in 2021. It was a lo I loved the potential this book carried - two authors, one white and one black, explore the complexities of friendship and race after a devastating event. What I was hoping to get: unique, authentic perspectives from each author on the topics of racism and social injustice. What I got: an unauthentic, under-developed story of friendship that was frustratingly one-sided. I wanted this to go deeper into the topics but instead this reads as a bulleted list of How Not to be Racist in 2021. It was a lot of Riley telling Jen but not a lot of showing . So many convenient choices were made when I feel like the authors should've been challenging these characters more. I didn't walk away with anything here which is disappointing as there was unbelievable potential to deliver something profound. A missed opportunity to leverage two unique perspectives on critical topics. Many wonderful reviewers are giving this 5-stars and I highly encourage anyone to read those reviews. This was underwhelming for me but it may be the right story for you. Cheers!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn in FL

    This is what I call an agenda book. I have written other reviews regarding this style of writing that I truly do not care for because instead of delving into the heart of what had such fantastic potential was nothing more than talking points to engender book clubs discussions. That's terrific if your book club has been sequestered for their entire lives and don't know the controversy of police shootings involving black men, suspected of a crime. My second issue is that it is supposed to about tw This is what I call an agenda book. I have written other reviews regarding this style of writing that I truly do not care for because instead of delving into the heart of what had such fantastic potential was nothing more than talking points to engender book clubs discussions. That's terrific if your book club has been sequestered for their entire lives and don't know the controversy of police shootings involving black men, suspected of a crime. My second issue is that it is supposed to about two women, who have been life long friends and know each others dark side as well as their good points. Yet, we are later told that the black woman has always been hiding her true emotions about her race for most of their lives. I find this surprising for a number of reasons. First, this is a time in history where few people don't share their every thought in social media, public places (the origin of Let's Go Brandon, is a great example) and in every day conversations in public. Second, most of my life have had more friends of color than my own race. These friends often shared their feelings about being non-white with me, some of these conversations are still very vivid in my mind some 40 years later. Additionally, I have been involved in urban ministries and social groups where I was the only white person present. In these experiences, I heard very unpleasant comments about "whitey". I didn't take it personal because I knew that some comments were from experience (that I had no control or involvement in) and some were seemed to be spoken to see if I would react in hostility (I didn't). Sometimes, those being attacked need to realize that certain generalizations about ANY group aren't always justified (consider the MGTOW and INCEL movements). That said, I don't know how I would feel as a person of color, I will never know. That's why I read this book, but I came away not feeling I learned anything new or insightful. Additionally, the white character was poorly developed. She seemed rather flat and even in their conversations of race discrimination and bias (which came at the end of the story). She didn't shine. Furthermore, she was seldom included in the story (20-25% of the story) and it is obvious that Jo Piazzo, who wrote this portion isn't even given billing on Goodreads author section (as if she didn't exist). I felt that her portion was limited perhaps to appear "balanced", almost an afterthought or a necessary addition to cover for the "agenda". What really puzzled me is that the two officers involved in the shooting had very little attention. The one officer is only mentioned by name. The officer married to the white character has little to say. This could have been very powerful but again he was played as very weak (bullied by family members) and cardboard. A missed opportunity to create a dynamic story in my opinion. One positive was the story moved quickly and had it not been for the pacing, I don't think I would have finished it. This compensated for the numerous writing errors as well as really poor editing (was there an editor?) which given that Christine Pride is billed as being an editor was disappointing. A second or third pair of eyes is of great value, I suggest this for any future stories. My suggestion is that if you haven't read any historical fiction about racial discrimination in the U.S. you may want to dip your toes in this one. However, I have probably read 50+ books on this topic and I was truly disappointed. If you wish, click on the "African-American", "Authors of Color", "Interracial-relationship", "Controversial", "Interracial-per" tabs to see books that I've rated about white and black interactions. I would recommend authors such as Tayari Jones, Brit Bennett, Natashia Deon, Delores E. Johnson, Ernest Gaines, James Baldwin as authors that deliver truer insights into the black experience. Synopsis, so instead of telling a story, this was a thinly veiled talking points book. Oh, and there is a book club discussion points at the back. So, tell your friends, who are totally disconnected from current American reality because they only watch HGTV and Survivor to check it out. 2.5 rounded up

  12. 5 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten. As adults, they remain as close as sisters, though their lives have taken different directions. Jen married young and after years of trying, is finally pregnant. Riley pursued her childhood dream of becoming a television journalist and is posed to be one of the first black female anchors of the top news channel in their hometown, Philadelphia. But the deep bond they share is severely tested when Jen's husband, a city police officer, is inv Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten. As adults, they remain as close as sisters, though their lives have taken different directions. Jen married young and after years of trying, is finally pregnant. Riley pursued her childhood dream of becoming a television journalist and is posed to be one of the first black female anchors of the top news channel in their hometown, Philadelphia. But the deep bond they share is severely tested when Jen's husband, a city police officer, is involved in the shooting of a black unarmed teenager. Not only is this a story of Jen who is white and Riley who is black, the book is also written by two authors, one black the other white. Jen's husband, Kevin shoots and kills an unarmed fourteen year old black youth and Jen and Riley are forced to confront racism. When the friends since kindergarten are forced to pick sides, the women have to choose between history, family and friendship. This is a sensitively written and thought provoking read. I found the prologue heart-breaking. Loved this book. I would like to thank #NetGalley, #HQ and the authors #ChristinePride #JoPiazza for my ARC of #WeAreNotLikeThem in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    MicheleReader

    Set in Philadelphia, the lifelong friendship of Jen and Riley is tested like never before. Jen, a white woman, is married to Kevin, a local policeman. She had struggled to get pregnant and is now happily expecting. Money has been an issue for the couple so Riley, who is Black and a TV news reporter on the rise, helped pay for her IVF treatments. When Kevin and his partner shoot Justin, a Black teenager, in a case of mistaken identity, it deeply affects Riley, who is assigned to cover the story f Set in Philadelphia, the lifelong friendship of Jen and Riley is tested like never before. Jen, a white woman, is married to Kevin, a local policeman. She had struggled to get pregnant and is now happily expecting. Money has been an issue for the couple so Riley, who is Black and a TV news reporter on the rise, helped pay for her IVF treatments. When Kevin and his partner shoot Justin, a Black teenager, in a case of mistaken identity, it deeply affects Riley, who is assigned to cover the story for her station. This could pave the way for an anchor position for Riley yet it puts a strain on her friendship with Jen, who trying to deal with her own feelings about Kevin’s actions as well as the health of her unborn child. Both women have to deal with this life-changing event all while hoping their friendship won’t be forever fractured. Riley’s beloved grandmother tells her, “I want the world to be better, baby girl. We gotta do better.” And that is the main point of this emotional book which deals with systemic racism. When Riley confronts Jen, she shouts, “It’s a priviledge never to think about race. I don’t have that priviledge.” We Are Not Like Them is written by interracial friends Christine Pride and Jo Piazza. They serve as the voices of Riley and Jen to tell this powerful story from very different perspectives. This is a timely book that is direct and thought-provoking. Riley’s mother has one of the best words of advice, “You can’t expect everyone to get everything. Sometimes you’ve gotta meet people where they are and bring them along.” This book is perfect for book clubs and should stimulate lots of meaningful discussions. Perhaps it will help bring us all along. We must do better. Rated 4.5 stars. Review posted on MicheleReader.com.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    We Are Not Like Them is an incisive and intensely compelling story of racial injustice, betrayal, loyalty, motherhood, lifelong friendship, police violence and the importance of forgiveness set against the backdrop of the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Riley Wilson and Jenny Murphy have been the best of friends since they were knee-high to a grasshopper and have both managed to become successful in their respective fields. Riley, who is black, is a local television news reporter who is in l We Are Not Like Them is an incisive and intensely compelling story of racial injustice, betrayal, loyalty, motherhood, lifelong friendship, police violence and the importance of forgiveness set against the backdrop of the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Riley Wilson and Jenny Murphy have been the best of friends since they were knee-high to a grasshopper and have both managed to become successful in their respective fields. Riley, who is black, is a local television news reporter who is in line for promotion to lead anchor, and Jen, who is white, is wife to equally white police officer, Kevin, who became a cop employed by the Philadelphia Police Department after throwing in the towel at a sales job some time ago. Jenny eventually manages to get pregnant after a series of failed IVF treatments and a loan from Riley who paid for the last round of it meaning she helped her friend to conceive. She is now going through her third trimester when tragedy strikes. 14-year-old black teenager Justin Dwyer is brutally shot by Kevin and his partner in the line of duty. It is difficult to understand why when they had been chasing a suspect with a completely different physical description to Dwyer. This tests their relationship to its ultimate limit, and this is only compounded when Riley is assigned to cover the story as Jenny's due to date looms ever larger. Each is swept up in the intensity and divisiveness of the incident and its obvious connection to race relations and racial discrimination. Riley cannot understand how Jenny is more concerned about Kevin’s future and career and that he could be indicted on charges of murder should the boy pass away than the fact that an innocent man is currently in a coma on life support; this causes friction between the two women of the type that they have never experienced before. This is a ripped from the headlines, deeply affecting tale that very much reflects the multiple tragedies we have seen play out in the media over the past few years, including George Floyd, where systemic racism pervading institutions such as the police force rise to the fore. It features important social commentary on both direct and indirect racism and everything from microaggressions to lynching and the (clandestine) use of racial profiling. The plot does fall a little too serendipitously into place, but writing team Pride and Piazza certainly understand how to engage you in the story, pen a thoroughly enthralling yarn and pack it full of sublimely creeping suspense as the tension is ratcheted up adeptly. It's a character-driven novel in which we eagerly eye the fate of a previously solid friendship that had crossed both racial and class divides. Highly recommended.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jazz Webb

    I have tried to write a review for this book about 10 times now and I just do not know how to place into words how amazing this book is. In current times with the murder of George Floyd whilst people stood around with black voices being louder than ever calling out for change, we are not like them absolutely nails it! Riley and Jen are best friends and have been since pre k. Jen grew up with a mum who was absent picked men over her and disappeared for days sometimes weeks at a time. Where as Ril I have tried to write a review for this book about 10 times now and I just do not know how to place into words how amazing this book is. In current times with the murder of George Floyd whilst people stood around with black voices being louder than ever calling out for change, we are not like them absolutely nails it! Riley and Jen are best friends and have been since pre k. Jen grew up with a mum who was absent picked men over her and disappeared for days sometimes weeks at a time. Where as Riley almost had an idyllic childhood two parents a fantastic grandmother and her brother. Riley's family quickly became Jen's family and it's been that way ever since. That is until the fateful night on which Jen's police officer husband shots and kills an unarmed black teen. Riley is told she is the lead reporter on the case. Suddenly the fact Jen is white and Riley is black starts to play a huge role in their relationship dynamics, as the topic of race is an area they cannot ignore. This book had me angry, sad joyful, sad again but mostly it had me wanting to recommend of to every single person whose ever lived who doesn't understand the concept of white privilege. What this book doesn't do is tell you that one of their view points is correct. Jen is clearly not consciously bias and neither is Riley. Yet both women have been raised to see the world completely different. Sometimes not in either favour. What the book really demonstrates is the importance and urgency for change. Espically regarding police procedures in America (although this isn't just an American problem, we just hear more about racism in America), however what this story demonstrates so well is unconscious bias and racism. Is sitting and ignoring someone's racist comment partaking in racism or rising above? So many great questions are answered like this throughout the story. What the authors also do so well is recognise the role that the BAME community have to play to help reduce ignorance. Its something I myself really struggled to come to grips with last year, being bombarded with questions about my experience as a black woman, but how will others learn without further education? So to anyone and everyone I highly recommend we are not like them. It's one of the best books I've read this year and it's really hard to write a review about the actual storyline because it feels more than a plot. It's the here and now it may be fiction but none research gone into writing this book is outstanding. 5+ stars Thank you to the amazing authors, the publishers and netgley for the digital advanced copy of we are not like them in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Donna Weber

    5 Absolutely Riveting. Timely. Heart Wrenching. Powerful. Stars

  17. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    I picked this one up on the recommendation of someone from Instagram- we are not friends on here so I don’t feel any hesitation being honest about how I feel about this book. I could have easily gone down to 1 star. It was ok but certainly not “the book of the year” as espoused by the person who recommended it. I blame myself. This book has been compared to An American Marriage which I hated, and to the books of Jodi Picoult whom I hate on principle (lest we forget she was one of the Big Bad Lad I picked this one up on the recommendation of someone from Instagram- we are not friends on here so I don’t feel any hesitation being honest about how I feel about this book. I could have easily gone down to 1 star. It was ok but certainly not “the book of the year” as espoused by the person who recommended it. I blame myself. This book has been compared to An American Marriage which I hated, and to the books of Jodi Picoult whom I hate on principle (lest we forget she was one of the Big Bad Lady Authors ganging up on a college student on Twitter because this young reader had the temerity to voice her opinion that she didn’t care for Sara Dessen’s writing- the other bullies going after this poor girl were none other than Jennifer Weiner, Roxanne Gay, Sara Dessen and a whole bunch of YA authors who I don’t know because I don’t read that shit). So shame on me. This book tries and fails to take on a very weighty issue. One dimensional characters, undeveloped plot points and generally just tripe. Moral of the story…I will not be taking anymore book recommendations from this person.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Sitting with this one before I rate - review to come. 10/13/21 update: OKAY I’ll rate it. I’ve been hemming and hawing on finally reviewing this one, because I just think I’m a dissenter against all of the love for this book. I just could not get past the friendship between Riley and Jen and just - could not find empathy for Jen. We truly did not see her be a good friend to Riley once, and I feel like we saw no growth on Jen’s part, practically at all. Perhaps this was part of the intent, but it Sitting with this one before I rate - review to come. 10/13/21 update: OKAY I’ll rate it. I’ve been hemming and hawing on finally reviewing this one, because I just think I’m a dissenter against all of the love for this book. I just could not get past the friendship between Riley and Jen and just - could not find empathy for Jen. We truly did not see her be a good friend to Riley once, and I feel like we saw no growth on Jen’s part, practically at all. Perhaps this was part of the intent, but it just didn’t land for me and I could not understand nor believe this friendship at all. It’s not to say I hated it - but I did set it down and not come back to it for a few weeks, and ultimately think it was just far too hyped for what it was. Thanks to the publisher and netgalley for a chance to read a review copy.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    We Are Not Like Them is a novel with a unique presentation. The novel is told in alternating chapters, in the voices of two characters. Riley and Jen have been best friends since childhood, meeting when they were color-blind and innocent. Riley is African American, from a family of strong women who gave her a good foundation. Jen is white, the child of a unwed teenaged mother who was flighty and neglectful. When Jen walked into Riley’s mother’s day care, she discovered friendship, a family that We Are Not Like Them is a novel with a unique presentation. The novel is told in alternating chapters, in the voices of two characters. Riley and Jen have been best friends since childhood, meeting when they were color-blind and innocent. Riley is African American, from a family of strong women who gave her a good foundation. Jen is white, the child of a unwed teenaged mother who was flighty and neglectful. When Jen walked into Riley’s mother’s day care, she discovered friendship, a family that embraced her, another home. They girls grew up and did all the typical teenage things, sharing all their teenage angst. Riley was awarded a scholarship to university. Jen’s tax-evading mother wouldn’t fill out the FASA. Jen worked up to an office job, while Riley went into broadcast journalism. It was the beginning of a distance between them, although the cracks had already been there. For Jen was color-blind and never considered what Riley faced in a racist world, and Riley kept the hard part of her life from Jen. The girls were unable to talk about race. Part of our friendship, of any relationship really, is the tacit agreement to allow a generous latitude for flaws and grievances.[…]It’s a paradox, loving someone precisely because you know them so well, inside and out, and at the same time nursing a small fantasy that they can be different in the specific ways you want then to be. from We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza The authors are friends, black and white, and conceived of the novel as a way to talk about “the ways race can divide us despite our very best intentions.” Riley gives voice to how people of color experience white people’s ignorance rooted in white privilege. Jen thinks about the advantages Riley had that were denied to her, like a full scholarship, and is aware that Riley has closed off parts of her life. Riley not only has shut out Jen, but she walked away from her white boyfriend instead of talking to him about her concerns. “You can’t trust white people,” Riley’s grandmother taught. Riley can’t tell Jen or her boyfriend about her brother’s arrest, or about the racism she has endured. I felt the honesty of these characters as they struggle to maintain their friendship under the most horrendous situation imaginable. Jen is finally pregnant after Riley loaned her the money for one more try at a successful pregnancy. Jen’s cop husband shoots and kills an innocent, unarmed, black teenager who dies. Jen knows her husband is a good man, but can Riley forgive him for murdering an innocent boy of color? Jen’s husband is filled with guilt but believes he followed protocol, trusting his new partner. Riley is reporting on the incident, interviewing the victim’s mother, trying unsuccessfully to keep her personal and professional life separate. The authors state they “probed their blind spots and beliefs” in this novel. And in doing so, they have created a moving novel about friendship and race. I dare anyone to read it and not have their view changed. Readers will enjoy this novel for its emotional story line and the female friendship. For book clubs, the novel will generate great discussions about race and about the nature of friendship. I personally enjoyed the Philadelphia setting. Thank you to Book Club Favorites at Simon & Schuster for a free copy for review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    ʚϊɞ Shelley's ʚϊɞ Book Nook

    Oh boy, what can I say about this book that hasn't already written about? Let's start off with I adored this book. It is so timely and important. We get two perspectives, first there is Riley, a black journalist living her dream doing a job she loves for a local, Philadelphia news station. Then there is Jen, pregnant with a long awaited baby and married to Kevin, a police officer. One night Kevin and his partner shoot an unarmed fourteen year old kid, who also happens to be black. Riley just so Oh boy, what can I say about this book that hasn't already written about? Let's start off with I adored this book. It is so timely and important. We get two perspectives, first there is Riley, a black journalist living her dream doing a job she loves for a local, Philadelphia news station. Then there is Jen, pregnant with a long awaited baby and married to Kevin, a police officer. One night Kevin and his partner shoot an unarmed fourteen year old kid, who also happens to be black. Riley just so happens to be picked by her station to cover the story and keeps her friendship with Jen a secret. This was so well written and powerful. Both authors did an amazing job putting both points of view out there without an in your face "All white people are racists!" There is more than one kind of racism and I liked how the book explored that, I learned a lot too. BUT this is a work of fiction and no matter how true to life it is I read for entertainment value and this plot and writing sucked me right in from the first page to the last. All. The. Stars. With many thanks to NetGalley, Christine Pride, Jo Piazza, Simon & Schuster Canada and Atria Books for the giving of the ARC.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    Wow this book was fantastic and easily the best book of the year for me so far. It’s a very current topic but the writing and empathy on both sides is really inspiring and I can’t rate this book enough. Just brilliant.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nadia

    We Are Not Like Them is a thought-provoking, timely novel that I'm sure will be talked about a lot. Riley, who is black, and Jen, who is white, have been best friends for most of their lives. Riley is a successful TV reporter and Jen is finally pregnant after several unsuccessful IVF treatments. While on a night out together, Jen receives a message. Her husband, a police officer, has been involved in the shooting of an innocent black teenager. While I enjoyed reading the book and wanted to know w We Are Not Like Them is a thought-provoking, timely novel that I'm sure will be talked about a lot. Riley, who is black, and Jen, who is white, have been best friends for most of their lives. Riley is a successful TV reporter and Jen is finally pregnant after several unsuccessful IVF treatments. While on a night out together, Jen receives a message. Her husband, a police officer, has been involved in the shooting of an innocent black teenager. While I enjoyed reading the book and wanted to know whether the interracial friendship survives the tragedy, I struggled a bit to buy into the deep bond between Jen and Riley. The friendship seemed a bit one sided with Jen benefiting from it while Riley was holding back and not trusting her friend with much. It was hard for me to believe such friendship would last this long. Despite that I'd still recommend to read the book. Many thanks to the publisher for my review copy in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Laurie • The Baking Bookworm

    4.5 STARS - We Are Not Like Them is an evocative and insightful story that centres around two women who have been best friends since childhood - Jen who is white and married to a police officer and Riley, a Black news reporter. When Jen's husband shoots an unarmed Black teenager, long-held issues - both personal and societal - come to light and their lifelong friendship is put to the test. In the preface, the authors explain that though one of them is white and the other Black, they collaborated 4.5 STARS - We Are Not Like Them is an evocative and insightful story that centres around two women who have been best friends since childhood - Jen who is white and married to a police officer and Riley, a Black news reporter. When Jen's husband shoots an unarmed Black teenager, long-held issues - both personal and societal - come to light and their lifelong friendship is put to the test. In the preface, the authors explain that though one of them is white and the other Black, they collaborated on writing both main characters. This resulted in an emotional and cohesive story that illustrates the effects discrimination, police brutality, white privilege and the reverberating impact of systemic bigotry have on these characters who have vastly different life experiences and perspectives. The story fell a bit flat for me in the middle with a bit too much 'telling instead of showing', but I think this writing duo hit the emotional aspect perfectly. There is a lot to unpack here, and I predict that this will be an uncomfortable read for some people who will be forced to look at their own conscious and unconscious biases. We Are Not Like Them is a powerful and relevant story about interracial friendship and bigotry that doesn't provide easy answers. Because there aren't any. Instead, it shows how differently people of different races experience the world around them, the urgent need for change and acknowledgement of the racial divide that continues to plague the US and Canada. With these issues and the emotions this book will raise, this is the perfect pick for fans of Jodi Picoult's book Small Great Things. Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Atria Books for providing me with a complimentary digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    We Are Not Like Them is a power and important read that I would classify as general fiction. The book takes place in Philadelphia and is told from the alternating POVs of two best friends (one black and one white). The story is about race, friendship, forgiveness and tragedy. The narrators are childhood best friends Riley and Jen (1st person POVs). Riley is a television journalist hoping to become one of the first female black news anchors at her tv station in Philadelphia. Jen is married to Kevin We Are Not Like Them is a power and important read that I would classify as general fiction. The book takes place in Philadelphia and is told from the alternating POVs of two best friends (one black and one white). The story is about race, friendship, forgiveness and tragedy. The narrators are childhood best friends Riley and Jen (1st person POVs). Riley is a television journalist hoping to become one of the first female black news anchors at her tv station in Philadelphia. Jen is married to Kevin. She is pregnant after having immense difficulty conceiving. Something tragic happens that tests their friendship. The first chapters of We Are Not Like Them was brilliant and chilling. I was in shock. This book is not my typical read. But it deals with such meaningful and serious topics. This book is not a light quick read. But it is relevant and it will definitely make you think. It is the GMA book club choice for October. Thanks to netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for allowing me to read this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Matthews

    In May 2020, the murder of George Floyd (an unarmed black man) by a US law enforcement officer shook us all. Non-fiction reading lists about race sprung up everywhere and we were all buying copies of those books for ourselves, friends and family. While non-fiction can equip us with the facts to reassess our thoughts, I believe fiction has a way of changing our hearts. For this reason, We Are Not Like Them holds an equally important place alongside the non-fiction titles on racism we added to our In May 2020, the murder of George Floyd (an unarmed black man) by a US law enforcement officer shook us all. Non-fiction reading lists about race sprung up everywhere and we were all buying copies of those books for ourselves, friends and family. While non-fiction can equip us with the facts to reassess our thoughts, I believe fiction has a way of changing our hearts. For this reason, We Are Not Like Them holds an equally important place alongside the non-fiction titles on racism we added to our to-be-read lists last year. In this novel, we follow best friends Riley and Jen - one black, one white - whose lives are changed when Jen's white police officer husband Kevin shoots and kills an unarmed black child. Riley, a black journalist whose career is on the rise, is asked to cover the story. Over the subsequent weeks and months, Riley struggles to reconcile the anger and pain she feels at seeing another unarmed black boy killed by police with the love she has for her friend who she wants to support. This impossible situation is the premise through which authors Christine Pride and Jo Piazza explore important ideas around race, bias and the conversations we avoid but so desperately need to have. The co-authorship of this novel gives it a real sense of authenticity and insight. The story is told from Riley and Jen's point of view in alternating chapters with Riley's chapters written by Christine and Jen's chapters written by Jo. I could tell Riley was written by a black woman because the issues and concerns she grapples with felt so real to me. Reading from Jo's perspective was interesting too as it gave me insight into why white people may feel defensive when discussions about race come up. Jen is a good person, she feels she hasn't done anything wrong and can't understand why it is so difficult for Riley to be around her when the black community is going through so much pain, pain caused in part by Jen's own husband. Reading Jen's chapters, though, I could see why being labelled a racist or having her husband labelled as a racist felt like an undeserved attack. Jen is confused, she can't understand why Riley has abandoned her at a time when she could really do with a friend. But Riley has never really given Jen the chance to understand the issues that black people face on a day to day basis, she avoids sharing these parts of her life with Jen and in doing so leaves Jen completely unequipped for the impact Kevin's actions have on the black community. This is absolutely, a must-read book club book and will no doubt spark interesting and confronting discussions. Through the dual perspective of Riley and Jen, readers get to see the two sides of the racism discussion each treated with sensitivity and care and with no one side being painted solely as the aggressor or solely as the victim. It doesn't provide any easy answers (because there aren't any) but it could be the first step towards finding a solution. Press this book into the hands of friends and family, I don't think there is anyone who wouldn't benefit in some way from reading this important, compulsively readable story.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    This is exactly what you expect it to be. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. We live in very polarizing times, so it’s interesting to hear a story of two women whose friendship is put to the test by every racial talking point that you’ll see on Twitter. The story was good and the character development was good, but only with the two women, which is obviously the focus. I got some of the background characters mixed up. I listened to this one on Audible and the narration was fantastic.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susie | Novel Visits

    A big thank you to @atriabooks for the gifted review copy.⁣ ⁣ 𝗪𝐄 𝐀𝐑𝐄 𝐍𝐎𝐓 𝐋𝐈𝐊𝐄 𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐌 had to be a difficult one to write and it’s definitely a weighty book to read. In it, co-authors Christine Pride and Jo Piazza tackle tender, fragile topics surrounding race and unconscious biases that need to be talked about much more, but that many want to shy away from. ⁣ ⁣ This is the story of best friends Jen and Riley who have known each other since preschool. Jen is white, Riley is Black. Jen spent much of her A big thank you to @atriabooks for the gifted review copy.⁣ ⁣ 𝗪𝐄 𝐀𝐑𝐄 𝐍𝐎𝐓 𝐋𝐈𝐊𝐄 𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐌 had to be a difficult one to write and it’s definitely a weighty book to read. In it, co-authors Christine Pride and Jo Piazza tackle tender, fragile topics surrounding race and unconscious biases that need to be talked about much more, but that many want to shy away from. ⁣ ⁣ This is the story of best friends Jen and Riley who have known each other since preschool. Jen is white, Riley is Black. Jen spent much of her youth with Riley’s family because her own home life was unstable. Though adulthood took them in different directions, they always counted on their friendship as a touchstone to who they were. Everything about their lives looks different when Jen’s husband, a police officer, is involved in the shooting of a teenage Black boy. Jen’s world is turned upside-down, but so too is Riley’s. She’s dealing with her own feelings about yet another police shooting of a Black youth, while also reporting on the story for the television station where she works. ⁣ ⁣ From this set up, Pride and Piazza are able to generate many important conversations around race, particularly shining a light on white people who “don’t see color.” I appreciated the realities the story brought to light and that it was done in a story that was also compelling to read. I think the authors had to walk a delicate balance between hard lessons and delivering a story that many would want to read. I was engrossed from beginning to end, so obviously they did an excellent job. I initially felt the book should have gone deeper into the epidemic of police shootings and police reform, but honestly there is only so much one story can cover and in the end I think the authors truly got it just right. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

  28. 5 out of 5

    Books.With.Peach

    5/5 stars! We Are Not Like Them is the most impactful and emotional book I’ve read this year. It’s a hard book to read and it’s realistic to what’s happening in our society. The book is told in alternating POVs and we follow our two main leads, Riley and Jen, who have been best friends since kindergarten. In the present time, Jen is finally pregnant after several years of trying and Riley is on track to becoming the first Black news anchor in their hometown. Their friendship is tested after Jen’s 5/5 stars! We Are Not Like Them is the most impactful and emotional book I’ve read this year. It’s a hard book to read and it’s realistic to what’s happening in our society. The book is told in alternating POVs and we follow our two main leads, Riley and Jen, who have been best friends since kindergarten. In the present time, Jen is finally pregnant after several years of trying and Riley is on track to becoming the first Black news anchor in their hometown. Their friendship is tested after Jen’s husband, a police officer, and his partner shoot an unarmed Black teenager, Justin Dwyer. As children, Riley and Jen were colourblind and never spoke about race to one another, but now it’s an unavoidable topic. Riley struggles between doing her job and feeling bitter and angry that another Black teen has fallen due to police brutality, and trying to figure out her unstable friendship with Jen. To be honest, I found it difficult to like Jen, she didn't understand that the situation was caused by racism until after an important conversation with Riley, and thought mainly about herself. Riley’s character was wonderfully written, and some of her chapters were the most emotional. The scenes with her grandmother, Gigi (also an amazing wise character), were the most gut wrenching I ever read. The novel deals with important topics such as, race, racism, unconscious bias and police brutality. It also brings to light that police reform is greatly needed. All of these topics are well represented and the dual authors really worked well together to give the book important perspectives to read about. Overall, “We Are Not Like Them,” is a book everyone should read and the authors who wrote it are wonderful, it’s written so well. Please check it out when it releases! It’s very relevant in our current times. (Releases: 10/5/2021) Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for giving me an e-arc of the book in exchange for an honest review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    CaraDico

    *Thank you to NetGalley, Christine Pride, Jo Piazza and Atria books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review* Previously published at https://www.mysteryandsuspense.com/we... “Don’t walk in front of me… I may not follow Don’t walk behind me… I may not lead Walk beside me… just be my friend” ― Albert Camus We Are Not Like Them is a novel about two best friends: Riley, a black woman and Jen, a white woman. Riley and Jen have been best friends since they were 5, when Jen was brought to Riley’s mother’ *Thank you to NetGalley, Christine Pride, Jo Piazza and Atria books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review* Previously published at https://www.mysteryandsuspense.com/we... “Don’t walk in front of me… I may not follow Don’t walk behind me… I may not lead Walk beside me… just be my friend” ― Albert Camus We Are Not Like Them is a novel about two best friends: Riley, a black woman and Jen, a white woman. Riley and Jen have been best friends since they were 5, when Jen was brought to Riley’s mother’s daycare. They are both living in Philadelphia now, close to their families. Riley’s career has taken a turn and now she is becoming a successful black female reporter while Jen, thanks to Riley’s loan, is finally pregnant through IVF with her police officer husband, Kevin. They are together at a bar one night when a news story breaks that an unarmed black teenager has been shot. They don’t know at that moment, but Jen’s husband is the one who shot him and their long friendship is put to the ultimate test. A collaboration between a white author and black author writes this fast-paced and timely novel. We are Not Like Them is told from both points of view and that dual voice is necessary in this novel to understand how differently both see the same tragedy. For the first time in their 25-year friendship, race is now an issue. While it is Riley’s obligation as a reporter to cover this ground-breaking news story, Jen faces the prospect of her husband being imprisoned and also losing her best friend, who unsurprisingly is on the side of the teenager’s mother. Riley must side with the black community and cannot heed Jen’s calls for support in defense of her husband. She is especially bothered because Jen has appeared on TV stating she has a “black best friend”. While Riley tries to see both sides, Jen’s inability to see where Riley is coming from bothers her. When she tries to explain how her life is different as a black woman, Jen cannot understand and it tears apart their friendship. Jen refuses to see “colors” but also does not understand why Riley will not come out in defense of Kevin. Pride and Piazza’s novel is a story about friendship set with the backdrop of racism in the US and the trend of police shootings of unarmed black people. I found their relationship compelling but also heartbreaking. We are Not Like Them is an amazing and raw book with an exceptional authenticity to the dual voices that speak throughout. Being touted as one of the must-read books of the year, I found it riveting and informative.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Susan Tunis

    We Are Not Like Them is what I think of as the *perfect* book club book. It's a book so timely and nuanced that you can't even clarify your own thoughts on what happens without discussing it with others. At the heart of the story are two lifelong girlfriends. Best friends. One black, one white. As adults, their lives are very different, but the friendship has always endured. Until an act of racial violence tears their city apart and circumstances put them on either side of the divide. Can I stop h We Are Not Like Them is what I think of as the *perfect* book club book. It's a book so timely and nuanced that you can't even clarify your own thoughts on what happens without discussing it with others. At the heart of the story are two lifelong girlfriends. Best friends. One black, one white. As adults, their lives are very different, but the friendship has always endured. Until an act of racial violence tears their city apart and circumstances put them on either side of the divide. Can I stop here and mention the mechanics that went into constructing this book? It's really meticulously engineered for maximum ambiguity. Who's a good guy? Who's bad? Right? Wrong? It's all shades of gray. This is no black and white morality play, and by and large the characters are sympathetic. (And possibly that's the most--or least--realistic aspect of it all.) When I mentioned the construction of the novel, I wasn't referring to the fact that it's written by two girlfriends. One black, one white. But I'm thinking some pretty intense conversations happened in the course of writing it. I found myself wondering how, exactly, this collaboration worked and who wrote what. Jo Piazza has experience using fiction very effectively to explore contemporary issues. (Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win, among others.) For Christine Pride, this is a strong and noteworthy debut. As a bookseller, I was always making book club recommendations. Guess what? We Are Not Like Them just shot to the top of my recommendation list! Have you read it yet? Do you want to talk about it with me?

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