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Thursday, December 17, 2015

What We Saw By Aaron Hartzler|Review


What We Saw
Published by Harper Teen on September 22nd, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Rating:

Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone’s house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early—the feeling that maybe he’s becoming more than just the guy she’s known since they were kids. But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate’s classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can’t be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same question: Where was Ben when a terrible crime was committed? This story—inspired by real events—from debut novelist Aaron Hartzler takes an unflinching look at silence as a form of complicity. It’s a book about the high stakes of speaking up, and the razor thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.

My Thoughts

Trigger Warning! There is a lot that I have to say about this book. For one, it is definitely not for everyone. There are some graphic scenes that are uncomfortable and troubling to read. Near the beginning when the accusation was seen as a joke, I grew very hostile towards how some of the teachers and the principle were treating the situation. Immediately, everyone sided with the four accused, claiming Stacey deserved what was coming to her. Honestly, I though the teachers would’ve handled the situation better than they had by remaining indifferent instead of showing, essentially, whose side they were on. How the teenagers treated Stacey after the event in question completely shocked me. As did how they treated Kate when she refused to be silent. Later on, as more evidence surfaced, people began to see how serious the situation was. You could tell that the convicting information was eating her alive. I was very angry when she waited to tell an adult. I felt like shouting and throwing the book. But I held on and waited for the rollercoaster to come to a halt. There was a point when I just had to put the book down after a teacher, also the guidance counselor had been punished by doing what was expected from them.
There is a lot that I want to say, but I just don’t have the right words. I know one thing for sure. Speak up. I know the feeling of remaining silent. It slowly eats you alive until it is all you think about. Nothing good will come unless you force it to. Hartzler has fantastic writing skills and ability to connect with the reader. When Kate felt helpless and alone, I felt the same way. I was glad about the ending, but it isn’t like that for everyone. I admire Kate’s actions simply because she refused to be held down. I highly recommend this book if you feel you can handle it.

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