Somehow I’ve become a liar. A coward. Here’s how it happened. When Genevieve Grace wakes up from a coma, she can’t remember the car crash that injured her and killed her boyfriend Dallas, a YouTube star who had just released his first album. Genevieve knows she was there, and that there was another driver, a man named Brad Freeman, who everyone assumes is guilty. But as she slowly pieces together the night of the accident, Genevieve is hit with a sickening sense of dread—that maybe she had something to do with what happened. As the internet rages against Brad Freeman, condemning him in a brutal trial by social media, Genevieve escapes to her father’s house, where she can hide from reporters and spend the summer volunteering in beautiful Zion National Park. But she quickly realizes that she can’t run away from the accident, or the terrible aftermath of it all. Incredibly thought-provoking and beautifully told, Paula Stokes’s story will compel readers to examine the consequences of making mistakes in a world where the internet is always watching…and judging.
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published: July 11th 2017 by HarperTeen
Four and a half stars: A brilliant and thought provoking story that takes on two powerful and important topics. A must read, conversation starter.
When Genevieve Grace wakes in the hospital, she has no memory of the accident that injured her and killed her boyfriend Dallas, an up and coming music star and YouTube sensation. Fans have taken to the internet memorializing Dallas and vilifying Brad Freeman, the man who supposedly drove drunk and hit Genevieve and Dallas. Social media explodes with vicious accusations, rumors and slanderous remarks. Wanting to escape, Genevieve heads to Utah to stay with her father. While in Utah, she mends her relationship with her dad and gets to know her stepmother. She even takes on a volunteer job at Zion. Then something disastrous happens, Genevieve recovers her memories, and she remembers what really happened that night. Will Genevieve have the courage to do what is right?
What I Liked:
- Ms. Stokes has written a powerful and thought provoking book that dares to take on two tough topics. I loved that this book made me think and ponder things. This is an excellent book that will start a conversation. A must read book.
- The majority of the story centers around the damage that can happen to someone when social media begins to slander and shame. We have seen it occur over and over in our society, to the point where internet bullying goes so far as to ruin someone’s life, or worse yet, cause a suicide. This book exposes the horror and ugliness that can happen when people take to the internet with horrid accusations. This is a story that should make everyone sit up and realize how their words on a social media forum can have devastating consequences. This is a book that young people should read so they can understand the ramifications of internet shaming.
- I also loved that Ms. Stokes takes on another important issue, which I won’t disclose as it will provide spoilers to the story. Needless to say, it isn’t a topic that I had thought much on until I read this story. It is another issue that we all need to consider.
- I admired Genevieve and her courage. She is forced to make a big decision that takes a great deal of strength and bravery, especially knowing that she too could become the target of a vicious internet attack. I was proud of her for making the right choice, and for taking on the consequences. She is an admirable character, and I so admired her for her fortitude and her honesty.
- I appreciated the strong focus on family. At the beginning of the story, Genevieve had a somewhat prickly relationship with her mother, and she and her father weren’t speaking after her parents divorce. Thankfully, both parents are there for Genevieve when she needs them, and I liked seeing them support and love their daughter. I also liked that one of the characters was adopted and reared by two men. Loved the importance of family and friends in the story.
- The story ends in a good spot. I was happy to see where Genevieve ended up, and how she decided to move forward. I especially enjoyed reading the author’s notes at the end where Ms. Stokes discusses both the issues that she covered in the story. Don’t miss reading her afterword.
And The Not So Much:
- There is a romance in the story that I felt was unnecessary. Yes, it was sweet and nice, but it felt out of place. I think it was thrown in to appeal to YA readers. In all honesty, I don’t think a romantic relationship was the best choice for Genevieve at the time. I wish that perhaps it had stayed a friendship, and then developed down the road a few months. I also felt like the romance was hurried.
- I was disappointed in the reaction of Brad Freeman’s thirteen year old daughter. You would think after witnessing what her father went through that she would be a little more understanding, but then again, she is a young teenager. Still, I would hope that her parents would counsel her about her horrid words.
This is How it Happened is a moving and powerful story that shows the danger of internet shaming and how damaging it can be. This is a book that will make you think, and hopefully consider your words carefully before you take to the internet. This is a must read story for teenagers. I highly recommend reading this book and discussing it with the young adults in your life.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.