“The New Neighbors”
Written by Simon Lelic
Review written by Diana Iozzia
I received a free advanced reader’s edition for reviewing purposes. Thank you to Berkley Publicity.
“The New Neighbors” was a novel that was completely different from what I expected it to be. It’s branded as an exhilarating thriller that hinges upon a body found on a back porch, of our two unreliable narrators Jack and Sydney. As we begin their perspectives, we notice a little arguing back and forth, as if they know what the other is saying in this perspective. This does not particularly break the fourth wall, but it leads to a bit of intriguing narration.
“The New Neighbors” is not a thriller to me, in the typical sense of the genre. This is first and foremost a love story, or well, falling out of love story. Jack and Sydney are complicated people in complicated situations. They are busy with their own lives, while they are falling apart. As they move into a weird new house, we learn more about Sydney’s abusive childhood and Jack’s difficult job dilemma. I really enjoyed this story for the parts that weren’t involved in the murder on the back porch. We only really find out the ‘thriller’ aspect during the last 75 percent of the book. Naturally, we read through their unreliable narration, but it’s different to me than regular unreliable narration. Often, we read denial, lies, and it’s clearly overt who is unreliable. Until we reach the climax and resolution, I personally did not distrust either Jack or Sydney.
I think this was a very complex thriller with much more aspects and fragility than I expected. I think this is a hard book to brand, because yes, there is abuse, rape mentions, drug addiction, and murder, but the most interesting aspect is the relationship failure. I beg you to read this; this is absolutely a new favorite.