February 11, 2019

#BookReview: How She Died, How I Lived by Mary Crockett

Title: How She Died, How I Lived
Author: Mary Crockett
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary 

Pages: Hardcover, 416
Published: November 13, 2018
Publisher: Little Brown for Young Readers
Rating: 3 ★★★

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Synopsis:  I was one of five. The five girls Kyle texted that day. The girls it could have been. Only Jamie--beautiful, saintly Jamie--was kind enough to respond. And it got her killed.

On the eve of Kyle's sentencing a year after Jamie's death, all the other "chosen ones" are coping in various ways. But our tenacious narrator is full of anger, stuck somewhere between the horrifying past and the unknown future as she tries to piece together why she gets to live, while Jamie is dead.

Now she finds herself drawn to Charlie, Jamie's boyfriend--knowing all the while that their relationship will always be haunted by what-ifs and why-nots. Is hope possible in the face of such violence? Is forgiveness? How do you go on living when you know it could have been you instead?

About the Author: Mary Crockett grew up the youngest in a family of misfits in southwestern Virginia. An award-winning poet, she has her MFA from the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow. Her debut YA novel, Dream Boy, coauthored with Madelyn Rosenberg, published in 2014. Mary lives in an old farmhouse along the old Great Road in Virginia and teaches creative writing at Roanoke College.

My Review: This book dealt with the main character dealing with survivors guilt.  I thought that was going to be fairly interesting but sadly it wasn't. Parts of this story were just very irritating where she mentions her siblings as numbers.  It reminded me of Bird Box with boy and girl. The other parts were that this one just lacked the depth that it needed to really attain the emotions this one should have gotten out of me.  The love interest did not make it any better and after a while, a lot of it just felt very tedious.

Go Into This One Knowing: Tedious, Bad Romance, No Depth

I started writing How She Died, How I Lived several years ago, after a young woman from my community went missing. When she was found dead, I felt utterly gutted. I don't know why it hit me so hard. I realize it's a situation that unfortunately plays out again and again in our headlines--a young woman raped and murdered. But even though I had no earthly connection to the people involved, I felt all the outrage for those countless murders in this one young woman's death. 

Violence is devastating, first and foremost to the people it directly impacts, but also to the people who exist in its periphery. How She Died, How I Lived tries to show the way a violent act ripples out into a community and releases a sort of fog that shapes how young women see their world and their place in it.

I had so many questions as I wrote--about the consequences of violence; about the role of friendship in healing; and perhaps most of all, about how young women today can face the world knowing with certainty that someone out there, given the chance, would kill them.

The act of writing, even writing from this place of rage, gave me purpose. Just as the characters in this book find solace in each other, I found solace in them. I love the girls in this book. And some of the boys, too. I love that when all is said and done, this is a novel about friendship more than it is about murder. I love that they find some peace through human connection, and I love that they piece together lives worth living in face of senseless violence.

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 Disclaimer: "All opinions are 100% honest and my own."  Thanks to Goodreads and Amazon for the book cover, about the book, and author information. Buying via these links allows my site to get a % of the sale at no cost to you. 

FTC Guidelines: In accordance with FTC guidelines regarding endorsements and testimonials for bloggers, I would like my readers to know that many of the books I review are provided to me for free by the publisher or author of the book in exchange for an honest review. If am compensated for any reviews on this site I will state that post has been sponsored. 


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