Black History Month Book Review: When No One Is Watching, Alyssa Cole

Hello beautiful people and happy mid-week-Wednesday! Welcome to the blog.

Here we are mid-week, and I’m feeling like all my weeks are running together. Have you ever been in a rut where one day bleeds into the next? That’s been my feeling as of late, and it’s a sad feeling, which may have something to do with being home.

Don’t get it twisted, I enjoy working from home, but I do miss the camaraderie of my staff as well. I’m also not having a good sleep which I posted a podcast about, and I know that has something to do with it.

I have another book review to share by Alyssa Cole.

“New” Review

Title | When No One Is Watching
| Alyssa Cole
Pages | 352
Genre | Thriller, Mystery, Fiction
GR Rating | 3.55
Purchase | Amazon


Sydney Green is Brooklyn born and raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, and the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past and present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour and finds an unlikely and unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbor Theo.

Review (5 stars)

When No One Is Watching (by Alyssa Cole) is one of the first books I’ve read in a long time that I just couldn’t put down. I usually take weeks to get through a book but, I plowed through this one in 3 days, which is a record for me.

The book starts with neighbors disappearing from their beloved Brooklyn neighborhood. Sydney (the main character), who moves back to her childhood home (with her mom), is recovering from a bad divorce.

At first, it doesn’t seem like a big deal that her neighbors are disappearing, even though this upsets Sydney, but when her next-door neighbor and best friend disappear within one week from another, she begins to question what’s happening.

When a white couple moves in, they start telling all their friends about how the house was dirty and in such disarray when they purchased it. Sydney knows something is wrong with that remark because her neighbor (Wanda) was from the school of Bleach and Pine-sol and kept the house spik and span.

As the neighborhood gears up for the yearly block party, things seem to take a turn, as more and more neighbors are disappearing seemingly without a trace. The block starts to change in part when the bodega owner disappears and, in his place, a new bodega pops up overnight.

Newer neighbors start making false claims about older neighbors in the block and their remedy is to call the police for every little incident. Sydney knows there’s something wrong because the folks she grew up with wouldn’t just sell their homes and not keep in contact with her.

Everything in her world is crashing down around her (as she may lose her own house). and she doesn’t know how to get around this BIG secret she’s been keeping from everyone.

Sydney would find a friend in an unlikely source from across the street (Theo) who helps her unravel what’s happening to the neighborhood, and why a big research center decides to build their home base smack dab in the middle of it.

I don’t want to disclose too much more without giving it away but this is a story about gentrification and what it does to families (young and old) that are living in these neighborhoods. Gentrification doesn’t just affect the neighborhood; it’s a trickle-down effect that touches everyone that lives there.

I enjoyed this book and cared about the characters. This story was drama, meets thriller, meet sci-fi conspiracy all in one.  I would love for their stories to continue, as this was eye-opening to me. I’ll say it again, I literally could not put this book down.

My Good Reads Challenge Progress

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