ARC Review: How She Died, How I Lived by Mary Crockett

Title: How She Died, How I Lived
Author: Mary Crockett
Publisher: Little, Brown
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Paperback, 400 Pages
Publication Date: November 13th, 2018

Summary: 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?

I received an advanced copy of this book at BookExpo this year, and I wasn't sure what it was at first, but once I actually looked at the synopsis and realized that the story was about, I knew that I would have to get on line. I'm not into super gory or super horror-level books, but this book seemed like the perfect about of disturbing thrills to shake me up without, you know, terrorizing me for life. And I ended up really enjoying this book and devouring the entire 400-paged story in only 24 hours, because I kept flipping the pages because I had to know what would happen next.

For starters, this book deals heavily with rape, gore, sexual assault, and murder. If these are topics that you don't want to read, then I don't suggest picking this one up. But if you're okay with that and want to give it a try, then read on and continue reading the rest of this review!

Something that surprised me a little bit actually crossed my mind when I was writing this review. I realized that I forgot the narrator's name. I searched through the book, online, and even in the book's synopsis before I realized that we never actually got the name of the narrator. Which should, in retrospect, bother me, but I realized that Mary Crockett managed to pull of the entire story without giving what can be considered as such basic information, and that was a bold writing choice that I actually really appreciated. (Also, if the narrator does have a name and I just happened to miss it, please comment down below and let me know! But I have a feeling that they really don't.)

This was such a chilling story that gripped me from the very beginning. Like I mentioned earlier in this review, I flipped through this so quickly because I just could. not. put. it. down. The horrors that these girls had to face were so scary and I couldn't ever even imagine that happening to me. Not only can I barely fathom what happened to Jamie, but I couldn't imagine what it must feel like for those other four girls to know that Jamie is dead partially because they weren't the ones that responded fast enough to Kyle. It was so messed up and scary and really made me sit and think about things for awhile. This book definitely covers the horrors of imaging what could happen if a situation ended up being about you instead of the other victim.

As for what I didn't like about this book, I just wasn't a huge fan of the insta-love between Charlie and the narrator. It seemed like there wasn't really much development there, and they just popped into existence and started crushing on each other after not speaking for years, and everything was just fine and dandy. So that part threw me off a little bit. That and the fact that Charlie's best friend, Mark, clearly has some sort of vendetta against the narrator, even though he never explains why and we never really find out.

Overall, I really enjoyed How She Died, How I Lived. While there were some scenes that were a little graphic and scared me a little bit, I walked away from this book in the end having chills down my arms and definitely being shaken down to my core. If you're looking for a book to capture you, crawl under your skin, and make you feel something, then this is definitely one worth checking out. 

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