What We Saw

What We Saw

by Aaron Hartzler

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Overview

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

Critically acclaimed memoirist Aaron Hartzler, author of Rapture Practice, takes an unflinching look at what happens to a small town when some of its residents commit a terrible crime. This honest, authentic debut novel—inspired by the events in the Steubenville rape case—will resonate with readers who've ever walked that razor-thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.

The party at John Doone's last Saturday night is a bit of a blur. Kate Weston can piece together most of the details: Stacey Stallard handing her shots, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early. . . . 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 questions: Who witnessed what happened to Stacey? And what responsibility do they have to speak up about what they saw?

National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti calls What We Saw "a smart, sensitive, and gripping story about the courage it takes to do what's right."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062338747
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/22/2015
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 185,528
Product dimensions: 8.20(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.40(d)
Lexile: 820L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Aaron Hartzler is the author of the critically acclaimed YA memoir Rapture Practice. This is his first work of fiction.

Customer Reviews

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What We Saw 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The plot of this story definitely kept me on my toes throughout the entire story. The beginning starts off with a bunch of teenagers attending a party and an “incident” is created, or so rumor has it. Popular girl, Stacey, has not shown up to school in days and the school begins to talk. Come to realize there is a video footage from the party where a popular jock and his friends are accused of rape. The main character, Kate Weston who was also at the party is one of few who is determined to uncover the horrible truth behind this assumption, while most people do not believe the accusation or believe that she was asking for it by what she wore that night. I feel this story not only tells a relatable story of rape that may connect to some but also changes the minds perspective of rape in general to not only females but males too. I also feel that the character struggle with truth in this story because you are present in the doing of a crime, you know facts and you know what really happened. The characters are faced with telling the truth that could change lives, or in this case, Stacey’s life and reputation. This connects with me on a personal level because I feel that sometimes we know what a right choice is and understand why we should take it, but do not want to hurt or uncover someone at fault even when it can be as serious as rape. The author did an amazing job in detailing and creating imagery. He also did a great job in emphasizing the subject of truth and how important is, so I definitely see this story as an eye opener as well as a life lesson. I would highly recommend this book to my fellow classmates and peers but also to adults.
Cherylkochbooks More than 1 year ago
This book is rated for 14+ readers. I would recommend older readers starting at 17+. Due to the graphic nature and sensitive topic of this book. After stating this, onto the story itself. While, this is a topic that people don't want to talk about, it does need to be said and all victims need to know that they have a voice. I think we as a society need to not throw stones at people who dare to speak up. Just like in the Bible, Chapter John 8:7 states "Let Him Who is Without Sin Cast the First Stone." What I really struggled with reading this book is not the fact that I despised all of the characters in this book but the fact that I really did not know anything about the victim. So, I could not form a close bond with the victim. So, for me I felt like I was just going through the motions of reading this book versus experiencing it.
Book_Bite_Reviews More than 1 year ago
I loved this story. Although there were times when I was literally yelling at the book, it wasn't because it was bad. It was because of how real and frustrating the situation was. In this story, the town and school blames the victim. It was so frustrating to hear people say things like, "well maybe she shouldn't have worn that to the party". Seriously!? Kate was an amazing MC who didn't back down, and made sure to get the truth heard. It was the super unpopular things to do, but she did it anyways. The ending was heart breaking, but it was real. Very, very good book.
quibecca More than 1 year ago
There are so many thoughts going through my head right now about this book. I don't quite know how I feel about it yet. I thought I would wait to review to see if I could put my thoughts together, but then I realized my thoughts are never together so it wouldn't matter :). This story is so messed up. I mean that in a "good" way...kind of. See, I don't know how to put it. The content was messed up...or the purpose of the behind the book is messed up. What happens in the book is messed up. Sick and twisted people. The fact that it was based on real events is really what is messed up about the book. It's heart breaking. Kate and her friends go to a party at Doone's house, but Kate got so trashed that her life long friend Ben drove her home and put her in bed. When she wakes up she cannot even remember how she got home. When her friend tells her that Ben took her home, she decides to go and thank him personally. Ben and Kate are childhood friends, who grew apart as they got older. While Kate is walking to Ben's house to thank him personally for taking care of her she realizes that she wants there to be more than just friends with Ben. They spend an unforgettable day together and a little spark begins to flare. Kate sees some pictures from the party with her and a "use to be" friend Stacey. Kate didn't even remember Stacey being at the party and in the picture they were both drunk as skunks. As Kate hears stories about the "epic" party she finds out that more happened at the party, than she thought. Pictures pop up on friends pages, and stories are being spread about Stacey. Kate is blown away by what she is hearing...when they return to school Stacey doesn't show up. Everyone is making rude and disrespectful comments about Stacey, and Kate is saddened by what she is hearing. While Ben and Kate are getting closer in the background Kate cannot let what happened at the party go, and has decided Stacey needs someone to stick up for her. When she reaches out to Stacey, Stacey doesn't want anything to do with her. Stacey thinks that Kate is part of what happened. When some of the boys from the party are arrested, the whole town starts talking about what happened and everyone is on the side of the boys. This is one of the reasons why I could never live in a small town. Every one knows every thing about every one, and when you go against the grain you are an outcast. Standing for whats right in this book means standing alone. No one wants to be alone. This story broke my heart. It kind of blew my mind, but only because I cannot believe how things played out. I don't know why people think it's okay to judge another person just because it doesn't go with what the "masses" think. Where standing up for yourself can make you an outcast. What kind of people do that? This tore at my heart as a mother. You will have to read to find out why. It's probably every mothers night mare. I could go on and on, but I cannot really without telling you the whole story :). Even though the topic and what happens in this book is hard to read, it was such a good book. I love reading about people who are willing to stand up for what is right even if it means being alone. This book touches on a rough subject, but it is so well done in my opinion. I loved Kate. She has to learn some hard life lessons way too young, but through it all she stays true to who she is.
ReedsReadsReviews More than 1 year ago
Wow….just wow. I finished What We Saw mere moments before sitting down to write this review and I don’t even know what to think right now. I’m overwhelmed, my brain is fried and my heart is both hurting and singing the praises of this wonderful novel. Full Review: http://reedsreadsreview.com/2015/09/21/what-we-saw/