Monday, August 3, 2015

ARC Review: What We Saw

What We Saw: Aaron Hartzler 
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2015

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?

I love that this book is told from kind of a 3rd person perspective. Kate is not the victim and she's not the culprit, she wasn't even there at the time the supposed crime was committedIt ultimately comes to a point where Kate is faced with a choice: does Kate try to find out what really happened that night and do something about it? Or does she let fate take its course, explore this newfound romance with Ben, and worry about soccer? When she finally is able to come to grip with the fact that Stacey used to be her friend and that could have just as easily been her, she knows that she needs to figure out what really happened that night. 

What made me so, so angry is that all of the students in the school and the people in the town would mention that Stacey comes from a questionable family and the boys who are charged come from really good families. Sorry, why does that matter? I'm so glad Hartzler brings this point up because it happens so many times in cases like this. Instead of looking at the evidence they look at who the kids are:  "straight A's, athletes, etc". I feel like before I took a lot of the psychology classes, it would have been hard for me to make that decision. It is actually a fact that it is easier for people to believe superficial things about people like in the case of this book! Like oh these people have been good people in the past, so they are probably good people now. I think this book should be mandatory for high school aged children because they definitely don't teach about these kind of things enough! This can happen to anyone and anyone can do things like this! 

"Nothing is exactly as it appears 
The closer you look, the more you see" 

The characters were just so perfect. They really reminded me of my friends in high school, and that scared me even more. It was like, "What would I have done in that situation?" Honestly, I don't know because I was never put in that situation - thank god! I have known those people since I was kids, as well. I would never want to believe they are capable of such awful things, just like I'm sure Kate didn't want to believe it either! This book will make you think of the parties you went to and what you would have done if you were put in this situation at one of them. Just remember, this story was based on real events! 

Kate is so brave and will defend her point to the point where she realizes she very well might lose everything she knows. I mean, high school can be cruel, right? It has been very hard to find a good female character for me lately. Kate is everything a great YA character should be. She isn't perfect - she wants what every high schooler wants! She wants to fit in, she wants her boyfriend to love her, she wants to be a good athlete, and she wants to have fun with her friends. She never asked for any of this. But when she was presented with this situation, I felt it showed how a level headed high schooler would react to it. I also am very satisfied with the ending, too many novels lately have been leaving me wanting more and not in a good way. I really was heart broken with Ben and Kate, though. I loved him. 

"- For that matter, no one in the audience expects him to either. 
It's a funny part that we all laugh at. How ridiculous! Boys don't change for girls!"

Hartzler takes such a serious subject and makes it into a story that anyone, especially teens can apply to their own lives. He takes the consent talk to new levels in the book - what really is consent when you aren't coherent? Is it ok for guys to keep going if they don't think they can stop? What if the girl is wearing provocative clothing? All of these questions are answered in the most haunting book I've ever read about rape. 

- Jocelyn 


  1. Sadly, that is what really happens in reality. Despite concrete evidence, the slut shaming will still stick around as if the victim asked for it. Tsk. Reading books like this scare me so kudos to you for reading on. Wonderful review! :)

    Blessie @ Mischievous Reads

    1. Ugh it's seriously so sad. I understand not wanting to read it, though! It was a hard read to great through - definitely left you with a lump in your throat!