Release Date: September 22, 2015
Format: ebook (Kindle)
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Review Date: June 20, 2016
Rating: 4 bookmarks
Synopsis: 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.
What We Saw is loaded with themes of consent, rape, group think mentality, cyber bullying and more. The story really emphasizes how everyone is responsible for their actions, directly or indirectly. This is one of those books that every high schooler should read. For that matter, every college student should read it as well. In light of recent events that have gotten media attention, and seems as though a lot of kids, teens, young adults, could learn a thing or two about the word consent.
The story takes place in the small town where the basketball team can do no wrong. A lot of times and small towns, or even large cities, the sports players are really worshipped , and are never at fault for anything. This is sad, because it gives these men and women in some cases, the idea that they can do whatever they want without any consequence. It's a real sense of entitlement that these kids feel when they are being worshipped like gods.
Aaron Hartzler Explains What We Saw &
The Importance of Discussing Tough Topics
One thing that really stood out to me, is that Katie, our protagonist, at times seemed much more mature than the average high schooler. She's giving speeches and lectures to her little brother, her friends, and other people as if she is an adult. I personally felt that if a teen had experienced things that she had they might not have been so forthcoming and verbal about the issues that they were experiencing. She or he might have even went along just to not lose their friends. On the flip side, that was really refreshing as well. To have a young person go against the grain to do the right thing was memorable. While Katie is being mature and how she's handling this whole situation, she's also came across very teenage angst as well. Not to measure some of the dumb things she did. For that matter, while Katy seemed older, she did still retain a lot of features that a teenager would have.
As the story goes on, in the background Ben and Katie are growing closer. Katie and Ben are falling in love. They're childhood friends who are seeing each other in a new light. I like them as a couple, I wanted to root for them. But of course, something is just too perfect about Ben, and that's all I'm going to say about it.
When it was all said and done, the story did somewhat remind me of a cross between Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll and the most recent season of the anthology style TV show, American Crime on ABC.
This was an excellent read for book club. It motivated a lot of thought-provoking conversation. As adults, the book really emphasizes the issues that teens and kids are going through today. While the story is somewhat predictable, it's an important story. It's a heartbreaking story. It's also a story that I recommend to everyone.