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BLOGTOBER DAY FOUR: When No One is Watching Review

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole
Publication Date: September 1, 2020

TW: racism, violence, violence towards people of color, gun violence, gaslighting, depression

I am not a fan of thrillers, I forced myself to read a bunch last fall and uh well you can read about that whole experience here. But, this one has been all over bookstagram and I had to support Alyssa Cole, plus I was curious to read something besides romance from her. So I braved the thriller waters once again.

This novel follows Sydney who recently has moved back to the neighborhood in Brooklyn she grew up in. She is recently divorced, and her mom is not doing well. To top it off, her neighborhood is changing. Gentrification is taking over the neighborhood and it seems to be happening at an alarming speed. Theo has just moved into the neighborhood with his girlfriend and likes to people watch in his neighborhood. He has secrets and Sydney intrigues him.


  • My main issue with thrillers is that I struggle to connect to the characters, which leads me to not caring about the plot, but I really liked Sydney and Theo. Both of them have depth and enough sketchy/mysterious stuff in their past that kept me reading on
  • I LOVE that Cole took gentrification and made it into something dark and thrilling, bc the reality is it is happening to tons of communities in the United States
    • The true “scary” thing about this book is that much of what happens, is very well happening in communities.
    • This novel really toes the line between the horrors of this fictional group of people and the horrors of reality for many communities of color
  • I loved that neighborhood app and how it was hilarious and sinister at the same time
  • I loved Sydney and Theo’s interactions and their whole vibe (I don’t want to spoil stuff so this is super vague on purpose lol)
    • Lowkey for half the book I was like should I be shipping them? I’m suspicious *side eye emoji*
  • All the history! I am not familiar with Brooklyn at all, much less their history so this was fascinating
  • The minor microaggressions and the reality of how entitled white people can be when they move into a community (obviously I don’t like this, but I liked how it was displayed on page)
  • I like the slow build of the novel, some reviews have said it doesn’t follow the traditional thriller format (what they mean by this idk), but I think that may be why I liked it.
    • Jesse from Bowties & Books did a YouTube video on why many reviews of this book completely miss much of the anxiety inducing creepy stuff that happen to Sydney. It is worth a watch. Check it out here.
      • I liked their approach in the video and the discussion on commercial thrillers because I am relativity new to the genre and don’t exactly know what is considered commonplace in these novels.


  • Many reviews are not satisfied with the ending and I will say the ending (aka how we are left off) was fine for me, but I did not like the last 25% or how everything was wrapped up.
    • I felt that some things were not explained well, and others were rushed. This is a slowburn/build of a novel and then BAM BAM BAM we are hit with so many explanations and things that it gave me whiplash
    • The ending was just sort of disappointing and I feel like we could have extended the book to slow down a bit

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and read it in a day. It was addicting and thrilling, but still had enough character moments and development to satisfy me.

4/5 stars

xoxo, Tree

5 thoughts on “BLOGTOBER DAY FOUR: When No One is Watching Review”

  1. I’m always looking for more thrillers to add to my list even when I never read them lol but this one sounds good, I’m adding it to my TBR and cross my fingers I actually read it haha

    Liked by 1 person

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