“Griffin Tomlin is dead. And Clara’s sister killed him . . .
Four months after the murder, the entire town of Shiloh is still in shock. For Clara Porterfield, the normal world has crumbled around her in a million chaotic pieces. Now Clara lives in a new reality, where her sister awaits trial for murder, her mother obsessively digs in a dead, frozen garden, and her father lives and breathes denial. At school, Clara is haunted by her classmates’ morbid curiosity―and all of the unspoken questions they won’t ask.
But none of them knows what she knows . . .
Now Clara’s sister wants something from her―the one thing in all of this that Clara isn’t ready to face: the truth about what really happened that night. Because this story didn’t die with Griffin Tomlin. There’s another story that needs to be told. And sometimes, the lies we’re told are nowhere near as deadly as the lies we tell ourselves . . .” – Amazon
Trigger Warning: Rape, Sexual Sadism, Animal Mutilation, Physical Abuse, Psychological Abuse
Jess and I pick books at least a month in advance for our podcast, Books Don’t Review Themselves, so when I stated What Happened that Night by Deanna Cameron, I didn’t remember anything about the synopsis. When I began reading it, I was afraid I was going to be reading a soft YA book with lots of teen drama. That could not be farther from the truth.
This book is hardcore. Which I thought was excellent. Cameron did not sugar coat anything. Although the story revolves around teenagers, the subject is a very mature one, and something that I think everyone, including teens, need to be aware of.
What Happened that Night looks at how rape effects the person it happens too and those around them. The guilt, the desire to draw into oneself, and the questions. Not only of the survivor, but those around them. Why didn’t the person tell them, do they really believe the person, why didn’t they see the changes? Although many people in the book were supportive of Clara, that is not always the case. And Cameron does a good job writing that side of the situation too.
There are a lot of twists in What Happened that Night, and the story keeps developing into a more complex situation. Although it’s apparent early on about the rape, the sexual sadism and psychological abuse slowly unfold and it was horrifying. And for me to say that, with all my reading and watching of horror and psychological thrillers, should not be taken lightly.
This world is not even close to being a supportive place for those who have been raped or were in abusive relationships, but I think if more young people were made aware of what these relationships look like and that they are not okay, perhaps some would be saved from having to go through it. Everyone needs to have the knowledge and skills to protect themselves, just in case. And if it still happens, then the support system to help them realize it is never their fault. If this has happened to you, I hope you find the support that you need. And if it hasn’t, then I hope you are able to support others who have gone through it.
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