Review: We Lie Here by Rachel Howzell Hall


Print Length: 416 pages
Publisher:  Thomas & Mercer (July 12, 2022)

From TV writer Yara Gibson’s hometown of Palmdale, California, isn’t her first choice for a vacation. But she’s back to host her parents’ twentieth-anniversary party and find the perfect family mementos for the celebration. Everything is going to plan until Yara receives a disturbing text: I have information that will change your life.

The message is from Felicia Campbell, who claims to be a childhood friend of Yara’s mother. But they’ve been estranged for years—drama best ignored and forgotten. But Yara can’t forget Felicia, who keeps texting, insisting that Yara talk to her “before it’s too late.”

But the next day is already too late for Felicia, whose body is found floating in Lake Palmdale. Before she died, Felicia left Yara a key to a remote lakeside cabin. In the basement are files related to a mysterious tragedy, unsolved since 1998. What secrets was Felicia hiding? How much of what Yara knows about her family has been true?

The deeper Yara digs for answers, the more she fears that Felicia was right. Uncovering the truth about what happened at the cabin all those years ago will change Yara’s life—or end it.


My Rating: 1 star out of 5

I really wanted to like this one more than I did. However, the writing was just so all over the place and the characters unlikeable to the extent that I found myself picking this up only to read before bed because I knew it would put me to sleep. Which was a real shame because the premise of this one was SO GOOD. 

To begin with, the main character is.... something. She repeatedly reaches into her purse to touch her inhaler (she has bad asthma) in order to reassure herself that it's there, only to go to check into her hotel and start to have an attack. But suddenly, the inhaler is not only NOT in her bag, but she finds it in between the seats along with her boyfriend's credit card that she SWORE she gave back to him. She also details how she "lost" very important cards for work but found them on top of her fridge later. 

Now I get being absent-minded, but Yara goes above and beyond, as evidenced later on when she sees a collections notice in her name (that was delivered to her parent's house), but somehow COMPLETELY FORGOT that she told her mother to go ahead and take out a $10,000 loan in HER NAME and SIGN HER NAME to the paperwork so her YOUNGER SISTER could go to college. Even though Yara was already helping to pay for Dom's tuition. 

When the mother shows the daughter text messages that seem to confirm this conversation took place, Yara can't stop thinking about it but says, "mom sure showed those receipts with the saved texts."

And that was another issue I had with this one, although I willingly admit this is more of a personal pet peeve, so other readers may not take issue with it. Common slang, including words like woke, bougie & ain't, are commonly used, and the characters in question are 19 and 21, respectively. While this may be how some people talk, it repeatedly took me out of the story. 

Sadly, the rest of this one wasn't any better. I see what the author was trying to do, but there was so much detail (often repetitive) that I no longer cared about the characters or what happened to them when we got to the ending. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.
                                           We Lie Here is available on
                                       (for free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited)

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