Thursday, August 9, 2018

Review: If We Had Known by Elise Juska

If We Had Known
by Elise Juska

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 320
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  One August afternoon, as single mother Maggie Daley prepares to send her only child off to college, their world is shattered by news of a mass shooting at the local mall in rural Maine. As reports and updates about the tragedy begin to roll in, Maggie, an English professor, is further stunned to learn that the gunman had been a student of hers. Nathan Dugan was an awkward, complicated young man whose quiet presence in her classroom had faded from her memory-but not, it seems, the memories of his classmates.

When a viral blog post hints at the existence of a dark, violence-tinged essay Nathan had written during Maggie's freshman comp seminar, Maggie soon finds herself at the center of a heated national controversy. Could the overlooked essay have offered critical red flags that might have warned of, or even prevented, the murders to come? As the media storm grows around her, Maggie makes a series of desperate choices that threaten to destroy not just the personal and professional lives she's worked so hard to build, but-more important-the happiness and safety of her sensitive daughter, Anna.

Kritters Thoughts:  A book that is about a few tough issues, but because the author confronts them so honestly with fantastic characters the book doesn't feel too heavy.  A shooting happens at a mall in this small college town and this book doesn't focus on the actual event, but the moments after and the years before.  I think the author really put an emphasis on how people need a place to point their fingers for the blame and the finger can go in many different directions.

The main focus of the book is on a professor that the shooter had for freshman English and a paper he wrote.  With the incident in everyone's mind this paper looks a little more like a warning of something possible happening in the future.  And because of that she is blamed for not sending out warning signals and this sends her world into a tailspin.  On top of that she has a daughter who lives with anxiety and all of these will affect her also and it is interesting to read from her perspective also.

I liked that this book felt so relevant with the inclusion of facebook posts and articles and more.  Don't worry the book mostly looks like a typical novel, but it has some interesting inserts that make the story even better.  

I am always excited after I read a book by an author that I like to find that they have more books to read.  I will be checking out Victoria Helen Stone's backlist and may have to read them soon!

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Grand Central Publishing.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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