What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler
Genre: Young Adult Fiction and Drama
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Overall Rating: 4 stars
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 by Aaron Hartzler makes readers take a hard look at the difference between right and wrong, truth and lies, and doing the right thing. Although tough to read at sometimes due to the nature of the story, I think all people should grab a copy of this book because it sends a strong message. Yes, it is geared towards young adult, but no matter what age I think many people can learn something from it. With that being said, this story does a fantastic job at portraying those in a small town who would rather cover up the bad things that are going on rather than dealing with them. It gives a realistic view of how rape can change not only the victims, but those associated with the crime, and others who know about it. The heroine of the story, a strong character who deserves recognition, as she is far wiser than her years and it comes off fantastically with this book. Although I wish that we would have had the chance to hear the victims side of the story, I think the author did a great job at bringing to life through the eyes of others.
To sum it up, this is a story about the rape of a teenage girl at a party. Those who have a conscience would be quick to help this individual in need, but in this story, it seems like no one does. The basketball players (there are a group of them) assault this victim Stacey, at a high school party and it seems like everyone (even the school administration) is quick to blame her because she dresses “slutty”. No one wants to believe that their buccs would do something like this, which is the gist of the story. But when a video surfaces and falls into the right hands… Someone is going to tell what they saw.
Once again, this is a great book and I honestly recommend it to everyone. Some of it will certainly turn your stomach and much of it will make you want to go through the pages and pull out people’s hair, but the moral of the story is important and I am very glad I read it. Highly recommended!