Monday, May 02, 2016

Review: What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

From Goodreads: 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?

My Rating: 4.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Inspired by the Steubenville High School Rape Case, Aaron Hartzler’s What We Saw deftly handles topics like consent, slut shaming, teen drinking, and social media. I think this book would be perfect for a book club or novel study because it’s bound to generate discussion.

In What We Saw, the main character, Kate, is driven home by a friend after getting intoxicated at a party. Another girl at the same party, however, isn’t so lucky – and suddenly, there are allegations that she was raped by a few members of the school’s beloved basketball team, while unconscious. Despite the fact that it appears there were tons of witnesses and a video of the rape is briefly posted online, nobody comes forward to support the allegations. Kate wonders who to believe – a lone girl considered a slut or the rest of the student body?

I really liked Kate as a character because even though she was confused about where her loyalties should lie and was repeatedly told to not get involved by adults and peers alike, she still decided to seek the truth. Then, when she does find out what happened, she’s courageous enough to make some tough choices. It amazes and disgusts me that people can see terrible stuff like this happening and not do anything to stop the situation or speak up about it!

An absolute must read for teens, What We Saw was released in September 2015 by HarperTeen. 

Comments About the Cover: I like the cover, but not the font.


  1. The subject is a bit heavier than what I'm used to, to be honest. I don't know if I can handle it at the moment. But it does sound like a necessary read so I promise to do my best. I actually own a copy.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I've heard this one is a great novel and I really hope to read it soon. It sounds great, and really well done. It's a tough topic but it needs to be talked about more.


  3. I've been thinking about reading this one. I'm just oddly drawn at novels with stories like this. Great review!

    czai @ the Blacksheep Project

  4. I remember the Steubenville case so well, it was horrifying. Treating athletes (or anyone for that matter) like they're above reproach is disgusting, and I have a feeling this book is going to piss me off something fierce. In a good, I'm so involved kind of way though!

  5. I don't remember the case but wow, this sounds like a heavy read, but one that definitely needs to be read. Going to check this one out now!

  6. So it's inspired by a true story? Eek, that just makes the subject matter all the more disturbingly real o.O While this is not something I would pick up on my own, I'm glad to have read your positive thoughts on it and would be much more likely to seek it out now.

  7. I still need to read this, but I've been hesitant to pick it up because of the serious matter. I know it's not going to be an easy read, but it will be worthwhile. I have it on my tbr pile.


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