What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler
What We Saw was the Better Read Than Dead Book Club pick for March and an important one at that. For those of you who don't know, What We Saw was inspired by the very real events of the Steubenville Rape Case. So there is definitely a trigger warning for rape attached to this one.
Nothing is exactly as it appears.
The closer you look, the more you see.
That quote definitely holds true throughout the novel. Along with our main character, Kate, you never really know anything despite having suspicions. Man, did I have my suspicions. I applaud Kate for wanting answers instead of going along with the flow. While reading you'll see a lot of tweets and news reports that I found to be quite supplemental to the story. One hashtag drove me nuts, #r&p, was placed in so many parts and I needed to know what it meant. I'll let you figure that one out for yourself though. The amount of sheer disbelief and victim blaming was insane and that's what makes it so hard for so many victims to come forward. Ugh, it's beyond frustrating.
Let's talk a bit about the romantic aspect within What We Saw. While it is not the main focus, I'm glad it's there. It's pretty realistic in my opinion and a tad heart breaking. Which I suppose it what makes it so real. It's the perfect friends to lovers tale, but it also shows that we all have our secrets no matter how close we've been for however long. I absolutely love how this was portrayed and how things left off between our couple.
One of the things that I really appreciated was that while we're talking about not having consent, we also go into what it means to say yes and how big of a thing it is. Saying yes (or no) is very important. Consent is key. I will never understand how some people can ignore that. Hartzler also brought about some things within the movie Grease that I never really thought about and now I can't forget them. Boys don't change for girls.
All in all, Aaron captured a horrible truth in a captivating way. I couldn't put it down and it opened my eyes to some of the harsh realities that victims face. My heart aches for every single one. I don't say this about a lot of books, but I will be sure that my future children read this one because it is just so damn important. Not saying no does not equal a yes. I could go on forever about this one, but for fear of spoilers I will end here. You need to read it and once you do, we should discuss it.