Thursday, May 2, 2013

Witness by Maria Rachel Hooley

Witness by Maria Rachel Hooley
Release Date: August 10, 2012
Publisher: CreateSpace

Sixteen-year-old Cee Cee Montgomery has had a crush on David Johnson, and she's been waiting for him to notice her, and he does-at a party that Cee Cee wasn't supposed to be at. She even promised her best friend, Stacy Eddings, that she wouldn't be there. But she is. She's there when David is stabbed and no one calls for help. She's one of the silent witnesses who bears the guilt of his death, and it's tearing her apart.  Stacy is a silent witness of a different sort. He's been in love with Cee Cee since he met her, but she never saw past David, and while he doesn't know she went to that party, he does realize that something is wrong, that sometimes, no matter how painful, the truth has to come out.  -

I was immediately intrigued by the premise for this story because who wouldn't be devastated to be at an event that's supposed to be fun and have things go so horribly wrong.  At first, as I read this, I thought it was a little unbelievable that everyone left the party when they found out something bad had happened, but then I tried to think what my mentality would be if this happened to me as a teenager and the thought going through my head was that I would be afraid of being blamed...and afraid of being sucked into the aftermath.  After that, I was able to accept that it was probably a lot more realistic than we might like to believe.  And the main character, Cee-Cee, didn't really want to leave but was basically forced to.

I felt for her during the rest of the story as she battles internally with the fact that no one wants to talk about what happened, that she's holding a secret, the fact that she saw it all and could do something about it, and that she's been made to believe she shouldn't speak up.  There were times in the story, early on that I felt like I didn't know her, although in retrospect, I feel it was because I didn't agree with those early choices.  It took me a little bit of time before I felt like I was starting to get her and understand her better.  How she pulled away from those around her was so sad and real, and it made me feel for her.
One of my favorite aspects of the story was Stacey.  I loved this character, loved his gentle, sweet and loving personality...but don't let that fool you.  There wasn't anything weak about him... he was a strong male lead.  I loved his steadfast love for Cee-Cee, and the romance was definitely a high point in the story for me.  Although it wasn't front and center, that didn't detract from the story for me at all.

The author's writing was poignant, suspenseful, and beautiful.  It reads very quickly and I flew through it.  A great find!



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