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It's an interesting concept, modern technology, its influence on our life, young socially awkward tech genius with interesting theory about love. Book started well and gripped me, but soon it started going downhill. It's a bit naive, i would say. Rosemary meets 'true love', despite being paid fiance of Leo, the tech genius. I put true love in comas because the description of it reminded me of Harlequin romanse. There's only physical attraction, quickly and strongly felt, but just that : physical attraction. I couldn't see love there. Styling the storyline as a memoir also failed at the end. Maybe if it was cleared from the beginning that this is someone writing down her story - it just doesn't sit right to be informed about it at the end. It's like the author couldn't think of a better ending.
Imagine being paid to date Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg only to find out they’re stalking your every move through their technology and slowly eroding your personality until you’re almost the perfect one for them. This is a twisted take on stalking, harassment, mental abuse, gaslighting and controlling behaviour that will leave you wanting to reach into the book and smash the guy in the face yourself. A really solid read
Reading Rebecca Kelley's book "No One Knows Us Here," was a slow burn experience for me. I empathized right away with protagonist Rosemary, who had dreams of being a lawyer, but was in the throes of a very challenging financial struggle - working retail, studying for LSATs, and literally living in a closet in an apartment shared by four roommates. Things got even more complicated when her younger half-sister, Wendy, showed up and wanted to move in with her. Rosemary and Wendy's parents were dead, so Wendy was living with her grandmother, but was miserable there. She even attempted suicide, forcing Rosemary to desperate measures to try to earn enough money to get a separate apartment and be able to support herself and her little sister. Her first choice was so repulsive that I thought I would have to stop reading the book, but Rosemary couldn't go through with it, so I kept reading. The real drama started when Rosemary was courted by Leo Glass, a famous (but unknown to Rosemary) technological entrepreneur, who wanted to hire Rosemary to be his "girlfriend." He would provide a wonderful apartment for Wendy and Rosemary, and he would not live there. In addition, he would pay her $6000 per month. They wouldn't see each other that much, just for public appearances and whenever he returned home from his world travels for business. Ironically, Rosemary met her next-door neighbor in the new apartment building and developed feelings for him, but had to reject him to continue to collect on Leo's offer. Leo turned out to be a world class creep. He was controlling, cruel, and demanding. He spied on her constantly through the software programs he developed for street cameras and unique next generation smart phones. Although not often, their arrangement did include sexual privileges, and that is where his worst instincts played out. Unfortunately for Leo, his violating behaviors reminded Rosemary of her long-repressed hatred for her stepfather, who had raped her for years. In the past, she had fantasized about having killed him, and the urges returned with a vengeance when Rosemary found out he had raped Wendy, too. Will Leo go too far? What will Rosemary do to stop him? I raced through the final chapters to find out.
With a foolish protagonist, a basic plot and a very protracted ending, this turned into just an average read. I was frustrated with Rosemary's attitude throughout and thought the writer could have done far more with making the plot suspenseful.
Quite often, I felt uncomfortable when reading this narrative. I could not believe how easily Rosemary is coerced into being Leo's fake girlfriend and how quickly she is submissive to his demands. Despite reminding herself that she is doing it to create a better life for her and her sister, I thought her choices were poor and obviously demonstrative of Leo's controlling tendencies. I wanted Rosemary to pause and question what she was doing, but her mantra that she signed up for this way of living was merely a weak way of justifying everything in her head. It didn't work for me.
What's more, I failed to believe that Rosemary had her sister's best interests at heart. She frequently abandons Wendy, even once they are living together, and I could not understand how Rosemary does not take a more proactive involvement in her younger sister's life. Although there are warning signs that something is not quite right, Rosemary buries her head in the sand, happily blaming her contract with Leo for her failings.
The technology referred to in this story was interesting. It is basically a wide-spread surveillance system that claims to be used for social media and dating. It made my skin crawl, especially as people around Rosemary seem to willingly accept this invasion of privacy. I thought Kelley could have done more with this element of the story, developing it further around Leo's sinister personality. Instead, it is more like an after thought and an added method of control over Rosemary.
I kept reading this book in the anticipation of some clever twists and turns. Yet, despite my wild theories throughout, these never materialised and this made me feel that the plot was significantly lacking in tension. Whilst considered as a thriller, I thought the plot was quite standard, even if the behaviours did make my toes curl. Furthermore, I thought the ending made the story to be too far-fetched for my liking and I thought the writer could have wrapped things up far more quickly. I was not interested in the court case and by this point, just wanted to see Rosemary's future decided.
This was an alright read but it did not set me alight. I was looking for a suspenseful narrative that would have me questioning the plot direction. Instead, I was questioning the sanity of the protagonist, wondering why Rosemary would allow herself to get into such ludicrous situations.
Fast paced, a bit gruesome in places but overall a very good read. Tackles lots of the issues of right now head on and some fictional characters that accurately portray the flawed characteristics of some recognisable real life individuals. With misogyny such a hot topic this novel is very much of the moment.
I would love to see this made into a movie or even a limited series. I had several good-sounding books to choose from when I started reading this book, so maybe that’s why it took me awhile to get into it. The tech side of it, and the fantastic offer from the tech-king, made it seem sci-Fi frivolous to me. Then I realized we could be a short time away from an invention like LookingGlass. Certainly, if I had heard a description of Facebook when I was a teen in the 70’s, I would have possibly had a “yeah-right!” Reaction. It really isn’t that far fetched. And with the way we’ve become as a society between social media and the pandemic, it’s not unfathomable that an eccentric, nerdy, reclusive tech giant could become Leo Glass, personified.
I had to keep reminding myself how young the main character was in the story to stop myself from becoming judgmental of her and her decision-making. I do remember being at that phase in life, the feeling that I’d reached a dead-end in life, nothing coming out the way I had —sort of— imagined. It’s an age of a certain kind of desperation that leads to impulsivity, and without spelling all that out for me, I did recall feeling and perceiving exactly as Rosemary did. The author depicted her, and her thought patterns, perfectly for a person of that age group. It was almost uncanny, the way the writing seemed to flow. My kindle is full of notes trying to guess what comes next. My streaming apps are full of movies and documentaries showing technology getting out of hand amidst young adults who have not had time or opportunity to lay to rest their childhood traumas, and other rather young adults who made a fortune off their genius with AI and related technology. Nothing I’ve been able to stream so far has been as compelling to me as this book. I recommend it to a wide audience, provided you can withhold judgment towards the very real characters in this novel.
Rounded up from a 3.5. A will she escape thriller that needed a couple of twists to take it up a notch.
Rosemary is barely scraping by, living in a closet and working retail, when her teenaged, orphaned half sister shows up in her life. Wendy needs to escape and live with Rosemary, so quickly Rosemary has to figure out a new plan. Given a list of high level Johns from her roommate, Rosemary attempts to work as a high level sex worker, but instead signs up to be the for-pay girlfriend of billionaire and tech innovator Leo Glass. Leo’s overbearing control reaches newer and newer depths of crazy, until it’s clear he’ll never let Rosemary go - with or without their contract.
Compelling and a bit terrifying, but there was no big twist to change things up, just newer and scarier depths of Leo’s control. I read this at the same time we watched Glass Onion and very similar billionaire psycho vibes! TW childhood SA, family SA, murder, assault
Rosemary and Wendy are half sisters connected by genetics, memories, and shared dramatic experiences that neither has discussed with the other. When Wendy shows up on Rosemary’s door, she is in need and Rosemary is too. And hence begins to novel ——Kelley helps us see the plight in struggling to survive and the depths of trying to make a life.
Unfortunately her sympathetic lead is also irresponsible and a bit self pitying She has choices —-and in whether she stays with Leo —- but in how she cares for Wendy. She spends a lot of timing telling us how hard everything is. And it is but, you can choose to complain or do something and unfortunately Rosemary’s doing something generally is not well thought out.
I read the novel quickly and was interested to see how it needed but I never reached the point where I cared very much what happened to Rosemary and I honestly wanted to shake her a bit an say. You escaped —twice—-what will you do now with another chance.