08 January 2016

Review: What We Saw

What We Saw By Aaron Hartzler
Publication date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Harper Teen

In WHAT WE SAW Aaron Hartzler tells a captivating story inspired by true events about rape culture, and sends a powerful message to readers about being a bystander. The main character, Kate, is faced with decisions about speaking up about what is right, and trying to define the blurry line between guilt and innocence. She was at the party at John Doone’s house, and can *mostly* remember what happened that night: getting drunk with Stacey Stallard, and being driven home early by Ben Cody, somebody who might be becoming more than just an old friend. However, when pictures of Stacey passed out over John’s shoulder are all over social media the next day, Kate starts to wonder what happened after she made it home.

WHAT WE SAW, told from the perspective of Kate, takes on themes of sexism, the power of social media, and feminism. Kate is an incredibly realistic character, and makes readers want to reach into the book to hold her hand.  She is the bright light in this story, and I could feel her emotions and relate to them, even if the specific details of the story were not ones I could relate to. Although the book is focused on people who may not be doing the right thing, Kate offers some hope that there are many people who will let their voices, and the voices of victims be heard. Readers should know that although this story does follow some separate storylines, it’s mainly about rape and how victims of this crime are treated. However, the actual details about the rape are not too graphic. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. It was hard to put down, and helps unpack and clarify many of the issues regarding the way society views these types of cases.

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