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.
In times where social media basically rules the media, things don't stay secret anymore with people posting photos, tweets or status's anyone can see these things even if everyone else wasn't meant to see them. One night at a party Kate became way too intoxicated and doesn't remember what happened expect that she woke up in her own bed. That night however, while Kate got home safe and sound her classmate Stacey didn't and she was raped.
This is unfortunately something that has been happening a lot in recent years more and more cases of rape are being reported, while unfortunately there are even more cases that are never reported. During my O-Week in 2013 when I moved into college at uni we had a seminar were spoken to about how to get out of situations like these and what to do if something like this was to ever happen. Earlier this year a friend of mine her drink was spiked while she was at the pub and thankfully everyone who was with her managed to get her back to college safely.
The closer you look, the more you see.
The following Monday at school Kate sees the fallout of what happened at the party after she left, the students turned on Stacey who was unconscious when everything happened. Kate's friends show her everything that people where writing on twitter following the hashtags that were being used and on instagram. When the next day the students who were a part of what happened to Stacey where arrested for sexual assault and child pornography for filming the assault, Stacey is shamed and blamed for bringing it on the herself. This isn't right.
“Well, I just think it’s awful what that Stallard girl is doing to them. Dragging their good names through the mud."
Kate doesn't know what to believe or what happened because she wasn't there when it happened but it doesn't stop herself from trying to find out what happened that night. Ben has been Kate's friend since they were five and when she kicked him in the head during their first soccer match. While the main theme about this story is what happened to Stacey there still is some romance between Kate and Ben. After 12 years of friendship things change and that is what happened with these two however, Kate can't help but think Ben knows something that happened that night.
"Kate, I know it's hard to talk about something like this. We don't have to continue if you don't want to."
"Yes... I have to."
"Why do you have to?"
"Because I don't want it to happen again."
What We Saw is based on a real event that happened in a high school in the US and something that should never happen. In writing about this topic Hartzler is allowing the world to see that there will always be someone who cares enough to help you if this ever happens to you and that someone will always believe you no matter what the rest of the student body or town thinks. While you know what happened throughout the entire novel, you keep reading because you want to know what the outcome is. Everyone should pick up this book so that they know this story and that you should always listen to everyone before jumping to a judgement.
Thank you to Harper Collins AU for sending me this ARC!