Nobody But Us is Kinda Sus: A Review of Nobody But Us by Laure Van Rensburg
Hello, Book Nerds! Welcome back to Reading Has Ruined My Life or welcome if you are new. As always, my name is Hannah and I am your captain on this journey into my bookcases.
Y’all, I miss Murder Mystery March so much that I decided to extend it by a week! And what better way to do that then by finishing the same way we started. With a review brought to you by Novel Suspects Insider’s Club.
Big thank you to Novel Suspects Insider’s Club and Grand Central Publishing for sending me an advanced reader’s copy of today’s book. They aren’t paying me for my review, they just sent me the book for free.
Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the reveal! This week, I’ll be reviewing Nobody But Us by Laure Van Rensburg! Nobody But Us releases next Tuesday, April 12. Now let’s get on with the review.
As always a spoiler alert is in order. I also must include a trigger and content warning. Nobody But Us deals with statutory rape and grooming. This whole book is about making an abuser face consequences. Please continue at your own discretion. Now it’s time for the synopsis.
Ellie and Steven are heading up the coast for a romantic weekend getaway. The two haven’t seen each other much of late, so Ellie organizes their perfect vacation. Steven thinks that the weekend will be filled with wine and sex, but he has an extremely different definition of perfect than Ellie does.
Listen, I’m gonna spoil something right off the bat. Steven is the statutory rapist I mentioned earlier, and Ellie knows what he’s done. So this “romantic” vacation quickly turns into a horror film. For Steven, not for Ellie. Let’s just say Ellie has some big plans. Only one person is going to leave this weekend getaway alive, but, will it be who you think it is?
Now, I know I’ve already spoiled the majority of the book, but it’s lowkey needed to continue on with this review. The official synopsis reads a little differently than how I’ve described it. Basically, this is a locked room mystery kinda turned on its head. All you really need to know is that one of our two main characters is going to die by the end.
I desperately wanted to like this book. Ellie is getting revenge on Steven for what he’s done to countless teenaged girls, and I wanted to see him get the hell he deserves, but I could not do it. Long review short, this book bored me. I would sit down to read a couple chapters before bed and there were many, many times where I could not keep my eyes open for a single chapter. And these chapters are short! You can make quick work of a good number of them in one sitting. My eyes refused to stay open though. I think the reason is because I disliked both main characters.
Steven and Ellie are really the only characters in this thriller. They talk about other people, but these are the only two characters readers spend any time with. This book is also told in a duel first-person POV between the two, but neither are really likable.
I’ve already stated why Steven is insufferable and a blight on humanity. On top of being a rapist and groomer, he is also the type of person who needs to be the smartest in the room. You know, that person who think they’re always right and can do no wrong. He’s also filthy rich and expects daddy’s money to clean up all his messes. Steven is written to be insufferable and hated, and I can say with full certainty that Laure Van Rensburg does just that by the end of chapter one.
But Ellie on the other hand…well, readers don’t get to meet the real Ellie until roughly halfway through the novel. This is done on purpose. Ellie has crafted a fake persona to lure Steven in and trap him. She plays the innocent young woman with a sort of teenaged wallflower energy because that’s what Steven likes. Once that persona is gone though, she’s a tough-as-nails woman. Ellie goes from welcoming and warm to cold and deadly in the blink of an eye. While that type of persona is needed for what she’s doing on this trip, she becomes an overdone stock character. I’ve seen countless characters just like Ellie. She’s nothing new, and while I respect her and her motivations, I don’t like her. I like what she’s doing, but I’m still not rooting for her. And by the end of the novel, I still don’t know the real Ellie.
Not gonna lie, I didn’t care what happened to either of them. There could have been the twist to end all twists in this novel, but I wouldn’t have cared because I cannot stand these characters. Readers are stuck with these two for just over 300 pages, and it’s a long 300+ pages. I just wanted things to end. Steven is a monster, and I wanted him get everything he deserved as soon as possible so I could finish this book, and I truly could care less about Ellie.
I’m sorry. I have basically spoiled everything about this book in a few short paragraphs. The trigger warning kinda gave everything away, but I think that was needed to properly talk about this one. I will give Nobody But Us this; Steven get everything he deserves. Laure Van Rensburg makes sure of that. This is a good book to read if you want to see a predator get everything he deserves. And I do mean gets the shit beaten out of him. 10-out-of-10 for that aspect of the book.
Listen, I loved seeing Steven in immense pain, but it can’t save the book. This is a novel that heavily relies on its main character, but I did not like her. Personally, I think Ellie could have done with a complete overhaul because I do not think she has good characterization. Girl has a one-track mind and it hinders her.
As you can tell, I was not a fan of this book. It literally put me to sleep. To be fair, I am a horrible insomniac so I should probably thank this book for doing so. I do mean that in the nicest way possible. I survive solely on coffee and am in desperate need for hours of uninterrupted sleep. If all it takes for me to become sleepy is read a few chapters of this thriller then I should build a shrine to it. Overall, this was not the book for me. In the immortal words of Randy Jackson, it’s a no from me.
Once again, a huge thank you goes out to Novel Suspects Insider’s Club and Grand Central Publishing for sending me a copy of today’s book. And thank you for joining me today. Next week I have a post that I’ve been waiting a long, long time for. And I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.
Until next time, stay safe, wash your hands, and read some good books for me.