What We Saw

Aaron Hartzler. HarperTeen, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-233874-7
Hartzler (Rapture Practice) moves from memoir to fiction with a novel that strongly echoes the Steubenville High School rape case in 2012. Teens at an Iowa high school are left reeling after a photo surfaces online showing a classmate drunk and topless during a party; soon, four students are arrested for sexually assaulting her. If characterizations sometimes take a backseat to the headline-grabbing plot, Hartzler captures the small-town vibe of a place so insulated that residents know the jersey numbers of the varsity basketball team but not the names of their legislators. Narrator Kate Weston questions the knee-jerk reactions of many of her peers, who slut-shame the girl and side with the accused athletes, while negotiating a new romance with Ben, a longtime childhood friend and member of the school's basketball team. Hartzler offers a thought-provoking look at victim blaming, the pressures of a win-at-all-costs athletic program, and the tendencies of schools and teams to circle the wagons and protect their own while hammering at the obligation of bystanders to speak the truth. Ages 14–up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/2015
Release date: 09/01/2015
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-233876-1
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