We Are Not Like Them - Book Review

Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten. 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.

'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.


The friendship between two childhood friends Jen (Caucasian) and Riley (Black) gets tested and comes to a staggered pause when a Black teen is shot by two cops, one of whom is Jen's husband. The book is told in alternate POVs between both women, so readers don't miss a thing as we follow both women through their internal struggles and epiphanies.

This was a hard but beautiful book to read. Excellent, full of growth, and all too real as it parallels the painful era we're in - one of ongoing police brutality of young Black men. I felt the piercing pain of the shooting and the anguish felt by the Black community, because it is the reality we see today.

It was great to read from both perspectives, albeit tough. Both were good-hearted women who are so perfectly imperfect, both individually and as friends to each other.

My takeaways from this book:

  • Quality friendship, though imperfect, can stand the test of time with honesty and constant communication

  • It's okay, even necessary, to talk--or ask questions--about race, especially between diverse friends or couples

  • Unconscious bias can be subtle and even hard to detect, but we all have it in some way. Do the work and take the time to explore, acknowledge, and change your perceptions

  • Racism is a tough enemy to defeat, in a battle that's been ongoing for centuries. Maybe not in our lifetime, but perhaps one day it can be defeated if we start doing the work now, in whatever way we can. Research, read, listen, check yourself, learn, and most important, act 

I recommend this book to EVERYONE, regardless of race or gender.

ᴍʏ ʀᴀᴛɪɴɢ: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
ɢᴇɴʀᴇ & ᴛʜᴇᴍᴇꜱ: Literary fiction, romance, race, police brutality, friendship
ᴍᴀᴛᴜʀɪᴛʏ ʀᴀᴛɪɴɢ: 16+

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