By Christine Pride and Jo Piazza
The novel We Are Not Like Them starts with a compelling premise. A Black journalist named Riley returns home to Philadelphia and reconnects with her childhood best friend Jen, who is white—and married to a police officer. When the cop kills a Black teenager, it’s a career-making story for Riley, a personal crisis for the pregnant Jen, and the ultimate test of their relationship.The narrative swaps perspective from character to character. Authors Christine Pride (who is Black) and Jo Piazza (who is white) did not alternate writing duties, but instead collaborated on every word. And their personal and professional backgrounds furnish great details and pitch-perfect moments. Riley’s life and backstory give the novel much of its momentum. Meanwhile, Jen’s character seems more passive, stepping back as things happen to others in her universe. While the book starts and ends swiftly, characters are flogged with rhetorical questions in the bloated middle as it builds toward a major blowout between Riley and Jen. Ultimately, however, what they navigate together makes them examples of just how complicated life and friendship can be. –Aileen Gallagher
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2021 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!