When You Look Like Us

Finished When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris. I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“When you look like us—brown skin, brown eyes, black braids or fades—people think you’re trouble. No one looks twice at a missing black girl from the projects because she must’ve brought whatever happened to her upon herself. I, Jay Murphy, can admit that, for a minute, I thought my sister, Nicole, got too caught up with her boyfriend—a drug dealer—and his friends.

But she’s been gone too long now.

If I hadn’t hung up on her that night, she’d be spending time with our grandma. If I was a better brother, she’d be finishing senior year instead of being another name on a missing persons list. It’s time to step up and do what the Newport News police department won’t.

Nic, I’m bringing you home.”

This is a really good and really intense book. I don’t think it’s a new revelation that some cases get more attention than others, and it’s not usually hard to guess which ones will.

And when Jay’s sister Nic goes missing, he knows that she won’t be one of those faces plastered all over the news, which means that he’s probably her best shot of being found.

It reminded me a little bit of that movie The Vanishing. It’s not a perfect parallel (Nic is Jay’s sister, not his girlfriend) but the single-minded obsession is similar and I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that his detective work puts him in serious danger, too.

It’s hard to believe that this is Pamela Harris’ first book. I love the way that she drew this story. The characters, the pacing and the word choice are all completely perfect. Every twist and turn is surprising but also makes complete sense. Nothing feels forced or rushed and I seriously cannot wait to read her next book. I hope there’s an announcement soon.

Highly recommended.

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