The weight of expectations, the fear of them, are heavy upon the shoulders of Amanda and Rosalie. Amanda’s relationship with Carter, the golden boy of the town, is supposed to save her secretly debt ridden family. Rosalie has to keep her girl, Paulina, a secret and continue “dating” Carter or risk being sent back to conversion therapy by her evangelical parents.
Then, PRIVATE contacts them.
The stakes are insanely high for Amanda and Rosalie, but the ramifications of the actions in All Eyes on Us reach farther than they’d ever expect. What they’ll have to do is figure out not only who PRIVATE is, but who they are now and who they’re going to be in their respective futures, if they can reclaim them from the spectre of this blackmailer.
Published: 4 June 2019
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre(s): Young Adult/LGBT+/Thriller
Pretty Little Liars meets People Like Us in this taut, tense thriller about two teens who find their paths intertwined when an anonymous texter threatens to spill their secrets and uproot their lives.
PRIVATE NUMBER: Wouldn’t you look better without a cheater on your arm?
AMANDA: Who is this?
The daughter of small town social climbers, Amanda Kelly is deeply invested in her boyfriend, real estate heir Carter Shaw. He’s kind, ambitious, the town golden boy—but he’s far from perfect. Because behind Amanda’s back, Carter is also dating Rosalie.
PRIVATE NUMBER: I’m watching you, Sweetheart.
ROSALIE: Who IS this?
Rosalie Bell is fighting to remain true to herself and her girlfriend—while concealing her identity from her Christian fundamentalist parents. After years spent in and out of conversion “therapy,” her own safety is her top priority. But maintaining a fake, straight relationship is killing her from the inside.
When an anonymous texter ropes Amanda and Rosalie into a bid to take Carter down, the girls become collateral damage—and unlikely allies in a fight to unmask their stalker before Private uproots their lives.
PRIVATE NUMBER: You shouldn’t have ignored me. Now look what you made me do…
Rep: F/F relationship (1 MC, 1 Mexican-American SC), M/M relationship (SCs)
intense flashback scenes depicting abusive conversion “therapy” tactics; homophobia; parental alcoholism; bullying/threats of violence, gaslighting
All Eyes On Us was a book that was hard to put down. It was unnerving because of the eerie feeling of someone watching you over your shoulder, of someone texting you out of the blue and saying the sort of thing that PRIVATE did. How Amanda and Rosalie managed…
- The characterization of the main characters was enjoyable, even when things were not going particularly well or they were not being “good”.
- Amanda’s “better than you” attitude was interesting because it’s less crass than I’ve read in other novels. Instead of overloading the reader with language that’s snotty, Amanda’s observations of, for example, Ben (a member of her social circle via her boyfriend) felt more polished, like she is more thus her insight is supposed to be. From her noticing the fit of his too-short pants to a too-big coat, she’s points these things out without sounding lowbrow.
- She was multifaceted, even as she was being pressed into what her mother wanted her to be. The glimpses of what she desired, such as pursuing her love of the French language and what that might lead to, the music that she enjoyed even if it wasn’t something Carter liked, and so on.
- Rosalie, basically, because I felt a connection with her. The secrets she has to keep in order to remain close to her girlfriend (Paulina) and her little sister are a lot, but considering her parents are members of a vehemently homophobic church, it’s necessary. When she came out to them at thirteen, they forced her, among other things, into conversion therapy. To avoid that again, she pretends to date Carter which is something that leads to the primary dilemma of the book.
- The “relationship” that Amanda and Rosalie develop was interesting and I liked that. How they end up working together, where they end up, etc.
- Paulina’s family, which unfortunately we don’t get to see quite enough, were lovely.
- It was sometimes a bit difficult to keep track of the side characters, particularly when reading Amanda’s point of view because most if not all of the adults were called by their first names. I suppose it was a mark of how they viewed their children as adults in their own right who are taking on responsibilities in social settings that may or may not be beyond their years. Amanda, for example, ruminates early on about how she is being groomed to be at her boyfriend Carter’s side, the two of them taking the place of their parents at the head of the town’s society. That didn’t make it any less confusing. >.<
- One thing I really didn’t like was this line from the end of the book:
Highlight the quote to reveal spoiler.
He got really close to destroying both our lives. But if Carter hadn’t ruined almost everything, Amanda wouldn’t be going to Paris. And I wouldn’t be the happiest I’ve ever been – out, living in Pittsburgh, not looking back.
This quote feels very dismissive of Amanda and Rosalie and their own strengths. As if they had to be put through the trauma they experienced from PRIVATE to be able to get to where they are at the end of the book. That irked me a lot.
All Eyes on Us is an engaging thriller with some content that I would say should be read with caution and particular attention paid to the content warnings.
Kit Frick is a novelist, poet, and MacDowell Colony fellow. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, she studied creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College and received her MFA from Syracuse University. When she isn’t putting complicated characters in impossible situations, Kit edits poetry and literary fiction for a small press, edits for private clients, and mentors emerging writers through Pitch Wars. She is the author of the young adult novels See All the Stars, All Eyes on Us (2019), and Windermere (2020), all from Simon & Schuster / Margaret K. McElderry Books, and the poetry collection A Small Rising Up in the Lungs (New American Press). Her fiction is represented by Erin Harris at Folio Literary Management / Folio Jr.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.
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