Saturday, October 13, 2018

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: When We Were Worthy, by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen {ends 10/20}

Guest review by: Erin Krajenke

"I don't know you anymore," he'd said, standing in the den of their trailer, their two bodies nearly filling the whole room..."I haven't really known you since we came here." "You haven't known me?" she spat. "How about you're gone all the time now? How about I can't remember the last time we said more than two sentences to each other? How about I don't know you anymore?" He looked at her with flat, dead eyes. "So I guess that's why you went after some kid? Some good-looking kid who showed you some attention? Because you were desperate for it? ...My father warned me you were too young for me. He told he that the age difference was too great, that you'd have other interests, need different things." He gave a cynical laugh. "I just didn't think your interests and needs would be teenage boys." He thought about it for a moment. "Course, I guess he's no younger to you than you are to me. Right?" "It's not like that, Clay!" she protested. "You've got it all wrong! Please! I need you of all people to believe me. I know the way it looks - I do - but if you'll give me time, I'll prove that I didn't do what they're saying."

…"I'm sorry for what they did to you," Leah said. Ava blinked. "What who did to me?" she asked, even though she suspected she knew the answer..."Everyone thinks those boys are so good. But they're bad…and we know, don't we? ...We're the only ones who do."...She had to know what Leah knew. And it wasn't likely Leah wasn’t going to tell her on her own. She retrieved her phone from her purse and sat down on the couch to enter the number. There was a missed call, and she hoped for a fleeting moment that perhaps Clay had called. But it was the guy from the other night, a text saying he's enjoyed meeting her, and while things hadn't worked out that night, perhaps they could see each other? Some part of her nearly texted back, the same part that had caused her to respond to Ian's tactics. The same part that had let him get close enough to her to ruin her life. Because when a guy showed her attention, she felt seen, known, loved, appreciated. She let them give her what she didn't have herself, as if the only way that validation could be obtained was if someone else - someone male - provided it.

There were a lot of characters right off the bat in this novel, in addition to alternating chapters told from four characters point of view. I found myself having to take notes as to who was who in order to follow along, which pulled me out of the story and left me wondering what was going on and questioning the premise. I usually enjoy shorter chapters, but since the chapters were not long enough, I was unable to get a feel for the character before the next chapter started. I also had a hard time with keeping the timeline straight in the beginning since it would jump from before and after the accident, but not list it as such in the chapter heading, so I was lost on the progression of the characters and was left wondering the point of the story.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: When We Were Worthy, by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
“Evoking Emmy limited-series winner Big Little Lies, Whalen’s novel is about a Georgia town ripped apart when an outcast boy kills three cheerleaders in a car accident, bringing secrets and simmering tensions to the surface.” —The Hollywood Reporter

When the sound of sirens cuts through a cool fall night, the small town of Worthy, Georgia, hurtles from triumph to tragedy. Just hours before, they'd watched the Wildcats score a winning touchdown. Now, they're faced with the deaths of three cheerleaders - their promising lives cut short in a fatal crash. And the boy in the other car - the only one to survive - is believed to be at fault. As rumors begin to fly and accusations spin, allegiances form and long-kept secrets emerge.

At the center of the whirlwind are four women, each grappling with loss, regret, shame, and lies: Marglyn, a grieving mother; Darcy, whose son had been behind the wheel; Ava, a substitute teacher with a scandalous secret; and Leah, a cheerleader who should have been in the car with her friends, but wasn't. If the truth comes out, will it bring redemption - or will it be their downfall?

It took until the very end to realize that the main theme involved Leah and Ava’s storylines. The subject of their narratives is very prevalent in today’s news and sheds light on how people can get wrapped up in a scandal (as a victim or a predator) and struggle with doing the right thing or being brave enough to say something. While the story itself took too long to get there and I felt as though the ending was wrapped up a bit too quickly (which was the part I thought deserved the most attention), I feel as though the subject matter is important, now more so than ever, and I believe books like this can bring this issue more visibility it justifiably needs.

3 stars out of 5 (3.5 in reality due to the important subject matter).

{click here to purchase}

Erin Krajenke is a chatty Virgo who is still waiting for fall to show-up and is hoping we don't skip right to winter.


Two of my lucky readers will win a copy of When We Were Worthy!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Saturday, October 20th, at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be contacted via email the next day and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner(s) will be chosen.

U.S. and Canadian residents only, please.

Good luck!

When We Were Worthy - 2 winners


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