STARRED REVIEW
October 2015

Taking the blame off of the victim

By CBS News
Review by
Despite waking up with the mother of all hangovers, Kate Weston has it pretty good. Ben, the childhood friend who made sure she got home safe from last night’s party, may be ready to take their relationship into new territory. But when a photo from the party turns up online showing one of Ben’s basketball teammates carrying an unconscious and barely clothed girl over one shoulder, all hell breaks loose.
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Despite waking up with the mother of all hangovers, Kate Weston has it pretty good. Ben, the childhood friend who made sure she got home safe from last night’s party, may be ready to take their relationship into new territory. But when a photo from the party turns up online showing one of Ben’s basketball teammates carrying an unconscious and barely clothed girl over one shoulder, all hell breaks loose. The town’s loyalty to their sports teams supersedes their concern for a girl who they quickly write off as “asking for it.” But Kate wants answers. What We Saw shows how close-knit communities are willing to close ranks when their interests are threatened.

Author Aaron Hartzler (Rapture Practice) based this story on the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case, where video footage showed kids watching an assault and egging on the participants. While What We Saw reads like a hybrid of mystery and romantic drama, it also includes a conversation (literally, in the classroom) about rape culture and should spark further discussion among readers. Perhaps most importantly, Hartzler keeps the story from feeling exploitative.

When a crime is committed, trial by social media is not the answer; What We Saw looks unflinchingly at the way the justice system fails victims and perpetrators today.

 

This article was originally published in the October 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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What We Saw

What We Saw

By CBS News
Simon & Schuster
ISBN 9780743241908

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