What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

From Common Sense Media:
Parents need to know that author Aaron Hartzler’s What We Saw is a serious issue book inspired by real events (the Steubenville High School rape case) that follows the story not from the perspective of the victim but from another young woman who left a party before the sexual assaults began. Protagonist Kate Weston asks the tough questions and is willing to stand up for the victim when no one else will — even if the ugly truths compromise people she loves and indeed her entire hometown. The book will make readers think and hopefully discuss issues it raises about rape culture, such as the idea that “boys will be boys,” that “some girls” are “asking for it,” that covering up a crime is as bad as committing one, and that there are consequences for standing by and doing nothing to help or stop sexual violence. In addition to descriptions of the violence, there’s a scene of romantic sex, some strong language (including “f–k,” “s–t,” “whore,” and “slut”), and a subplot about a character’s mother who has OCD tendencies with shopping, couponing, and working out. Despite the difficult subject matter, What We Saw is a powerful conversation starter that would make a good parent-teen read.


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