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Stories We Never Told by Sonja Yoerg

Stories We Never ToldStories We Never Told by Sonja Yoerg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was intense and captivating. Every time I picked it up, I was sucked back into the world and the complex psychology of these characters. If I had any nails left, in the midst of this pandemic, I would have bitten them all off while reading this one. It’s both absolutely relatable, and also occasionally horrifying.

A lot of time when I’m reading a thriller, I just think, “Really? Come on, now!” But that never happened with this story, because despite some of the unsettling events and moments, I could always completely relate to the main character. I could see that a lot of the paths she took could have easily been paths I would have taken, and that made reading this even more disturbing.

Genre-wise, this novel was a bit of a change from some of Yoerg’s previous works, but stylistically, it’s absolutely classic Sonja Yoerg, in terms of the vibrant setting, the well-developed characters, the complex relationships, the deep themes of both healthy independence and strengthening ailing relationships, and the overall emotional vibrancy.

I swear if you put a Sonja Yoerg novel in front of me with someone else’s name on it, I would immediately become suspicious of foul play, because she’s such a strong writer and storyteller. However, when I’m caught up reading, I don’t even notice that. It’s just such a smooth and immersive reading experience. I get lost in her worlds and characters, but when I pause to really think about the writing and the story, that’s when I realize she should be teaching master classes in how to setup and execute a scene.

Everything she writes is so honest and authentic that I find myself completely invested in the lives of the characters, so much so that I often wish I could pick up the phone and give them all an earful, mid-book.

This novel is darker, twistier, and a bit more chilling than some of the previous Yoerg novels. It had me second guessing myself almost all the way through. It’s written in a nonlinear format that is absolute perfection. It doesn’t have that choppy feeling that some nonlinear stories do. Yoerg does a great job of smoothly transitioning forward and backward in time. I got enough information and story from each chapter and section that I felt fully immersed in the story, and I didn’t suffer any of the whiplash that I sometimes get from nonlinear stories, when they suddenly jolt me forward or backward in time before I had gotten settled in the current moment. The transitions in this story are all logical and flawless, and the skips backward were so helpful in understanding why the story was moving forward on its current trajectory.

I liked this book so much, that even though I was given a free ARC to read and review before publication date (coming May 1!), I still went back and picked it up as a Kindle First Read and then also preordered the audiobook. So basically, I have put my money where my mouth is on this one, and if you like stories that are a bit psychologically dark, emotional, and full of complicated characters, relationships, and situations, then you’re going to love this one. I suggest that you get your hands on a copy as soon as it releases on May 1, just PSA: please don’t leave your house to do that, unless absolutely necessary, in light of the current COVID 19 situation.

And also, wash your hands! It won’t remove the ick that you’re going to feel while reading some of the twisted moments in this story, but it is far better to have an icky mind than icky hands. Or at least I thought that was true, until I just wrote it out and had to read it back to myself. What I meant to say was sometimes you have to suffer through a bit of emotional ick, in order to get to all the other serious feels, which this story is full of. Both the ick and the feels.

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