Special thanks to Harper Collins for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Sydney Green’s neighborhood is getting gentrified When she hear a tour guide give a biased history of her neighborhood to potential home buyers. She decides to give her own tour with the entire and true history of her neighborhood, Gifford Place. She is also fighting to keep her mom’s house from being sold.
Theo just bought a home in Gifford Place with his girlfriend with whom he has a failing relationship. His girlfriend is all for the changes happening in the neighborhood, but Theo want to be a part of the community. He volunteers to help Sydney with her research.
Sydney is suspicious of the sudden changes happening in her neighborhood. Neighbors and shops are disappearing overnight. Together, Sydney and Theo uncover what’s really happening in Gifford Place and who is behind it.
My Review: This novel may be a thriller but its borderline non-fiction. Gentrification, micro-aggressions, systematic racism, and police corruption, are issues Black people and other POC have to deal with everyday and Alyssa Cole managed to talk about it all. I was immersed in this story and had to walk away sometimes when there was some situations that came up that were familiar to me. For instance, when Sydney confronts a white woman for cutting in front of her at the convenience store, the white woman accuses Sydney of attacking her. It’s not an easy read, but it portrays the true experience
Furthermore, I liked the strong sense of community in this story and the emphasis on learning from history. There were historical events mentioned in this story, such as the Panic of 1837, that spurred me to do my research. This book also glorifies the strengths of the Black community and its culture. It ended up being a therapeutic read for me in the end.
I rate these book 5 stars. I don’t think there’s anything Alyssa Cole can’t write. When No One is Watching will shock you and have you questioning people and the world around you. I recommend this book to book clubs because it make a great discussion, fans of Alyssa Cole, readers who love thriller novels, and readers who love books that talk about social issues.