What We Saw
By: Aaron Hartzler
Available September 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?
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.
This Blonde’s Review:
Kate doesn’t remember a lot from the party at Doone’s place. She knows that she had too much to drink, that there may have been a moment with her childhood best friend Ben, and that she went home early. As rumors start going around Kate starts to have a few more flashes of the night, including drinking with Stacey, a girl she used to be friends with when they were younger.
Since Stacey has a reputation around school people assume the worst about her when pictures start to circulate. When 4 popular boys are arrested at school for something that happened at the party no one can believe that they would have done anything wrong. The community sees Stacey’s accusations as a betrayal of the community, the school, and the sports team.
Watching the ways the girls deal with the information was so interesting to me. Some of the girls become fiercely loyal to the boys and refuse to hear any murmurs against them. Others believe that ‘boys will be boys’ is an unacceptable excuse to brush off things that shouldn’t be okay. As each new piece of information comes to light and more questions come up I liked seeing the way Kate works through everything. She questions things in way I feel that many people should. She asks what makes it okay for Stacey to be treated that way but not her. That night they were the same, except for the reputation that one had versus the other.
As terrible as this topic was, I liked the way things came together slowly. How sometimes the answer can be right in front of you and there could be so many signs you can’t see. The decisions that Kate had to make regarding what she believes and what she does about the things she discovers was important. It was important to see and important for her to do.
I couldn’t help but hate the way some things turned out, but I know there wasn’t a way to make things into a great happy ending when something so terrible is a key event in the book. I really do think that it turned out the only way it should have and was a book worth reading.