Retrato do autor

Aaron Hartzler

Autor(a) de What We Saw

5 Works 471 Membros 31 Críticas

Obras por Aaron Hartzler


Conhecimento Comum

Locais de residência
Southern California, USA
Michael Bourret

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A writer and actor, Aaron’s autobiographical performances have been seen in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York where he received a GLAAD Media Award nomination for Outstanding Off-Off Broadway Performance. He’s performed in plays and musicals on regional stages across the country, and was featured in several TV pilots no one saw. You might have seen him in the very first episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia in the role of “Handsome Guy”–although you may have missed him, too, because at the time, his hair was strangely blond and decidedly not very handsome. Aaron lives in southern California with his boyfriend Nate (who is decidedly very handsome) and their two dogs Charlie and Brahms. (From the author's website:



“Don’t judge a book by its cover. Mom is always saying that, but most of the time, I think that’s exactly what people are asking us to do: Please. Judge me by my cover. Judge me by exactly what I’ve worked so hard to show you.”

Kate Weston has always had her friend Ben looking after her since they were children. Ben is Mr. Perfect— athletic, tall, and handsome. One night, Kate goes to a party and drinks too much. Thankfully, Ben was watching her back and returned her home safe and sound. The same can’t be said of fellow student Stacy. Stacy and her mom file a police report and press charges against three students for sexual assault and rape. All three students accused are on the school basketball team, and one is the star player.

The students at school turn on Stacy and call her a liar and attention seeker or blame it on the way she dresses. Everyone was against her because they didn’t want their basketball team to suffer the loss of their star player. While most students and adults in the community have made up their minds about Stacy, Kate has not. Kate tries to befriend Stacy to find the truth.

Kate and Ben's friendship shifts into a romantic relationship. She talks to Ben about what happened to Stacy and Ben says he doesn’t know anything because he had left to take her home that night. Kate pushes because Ben is on the basketball team with the accused boys. She doesn’t want to believe her classmates could be capable of such a horrendous crime, but she can’t find a reason why Stacy would lie.

“Turns out any ordinary place can be made extraordinary by the presence of the right person.”

Kate knows she a Stacy had been taking shots together before she went home. She wonders why someone saved her at the party but not Stacy. Hadn’t anyone seen something? Now there is gossip about a video taken at the party. Kate is determined to get her hands on the video and discover the truth once and for all. But the truth isn’t kind to Kate, and she is left dumbfounded and betrayed.

What We Saw broke my heart and left a searing revelation behind. Situations like this happen every day in which the victim is further victimized and shunned by the community for what has happened to them. They didn’t want it to happen to them any more than you want to believe that others are capable of such behaviors. This book is just so real. Thank you.

The writer did a fantastic job of storytelling and putting the reader in the scene. I was often holding my breath in anticipation as the story pulled me along. I enjoyed the full circle technique Hartzler used by starting and ending the story with a video that correlated with the start and end of a friendship— double duty. I gave the book four stars because I don’t want to read it again. Not because it isn’t good, but because the ride was emotionally taxing and heartbreaking.
… (mais)
M.E.Byrd | 18 outras críticas | Oct 8, 2023 |
Would have liked better if it didn't come off so After-School Special

Kate got really drunk at John Doone's party and her friend, Ben, made sure she got home. After she left, well, something happened, and there's a lot of people saying a lot of things. Stacey, a girl Kate was friendly with years ago, presses charges against 4 members of the basketball team. Basketball isn't just any sport to the people of Coral Sands, Iowa. It's an obsession. And winning the state tournament is top priority. Now that these charges have come down, it looks like some of the stars won't be able to play, which pushes the town into uproar. The media have arrived, and people in Coral Sands are quickly closing ranks to support their own.

The only thing Kate knows is that she's seen one picture of a passed out looking Stacey slung over one of the boys shoulders. She wants to know more, but now that her and Ben have something going, she's scared to push too hard. Soon Kate starts believing that there are a lot of people who know more than what they are saying, and she's determined to find out what that is.

My Thoughts:
This was one of my most anticipated books for 2015. When I read the synopsis, it just sounded like a "me" book. I also love books that are based on real events, and this one so obviously is loosely tied to the Steubenville rape trial. It blows my mind that people can care more about sports than about someone's well-being. Or that people would be willing to let someone get away with something awful just because they might be able to help a team win a title.

Sometimes I just don't get people or our society at all. But this is the reason I really liked this book, it made me think and question things. It brought up important issues like rape culture and the "boys will be boys" attitude that we sometimes have in our society. It's always hard to read books like this because it makes me angry. It makes me wonder why we are like this?? Just because we enjoy watching someone play a sport or enjoy the glory that the win brings us, how can we let that let us overlook something so wrong?? Why do we protect them so fiercely? And why do we have this need for victims to be perfect in order to see them as victims?? Especially when those victims are female? Those are hard questions, and those are the things that went through my head the entire time I was reading this book.

Now the story in this book followed Kate. Kate didn't actually witness anything, and she really wasn't close with anyone that was involved. It was sort of odd to read from someone's perspective who didn't really have a dog in this fight. To be honest, I didn't care for Kate or her soccer friends. There wasn't a ton of personality to her, and although she said she wanted to know what happened to Stacey, part of me couldn't help but think that she really didn't want to know at all. Most of what she found out just fell in her lap. She also never argued her opinion when her friends or Ben would say ridiculously offensive things. I thought Ben was nice, but a little too perfect. And their relationship was too insta-lovey. He was one of those fictional high school boys who says all the right things, tells the girl everything he's feeling about her, and also treats her as if she's made of porcelain. It's too much.

So while I think this is an important book that should be read, I also couldn't shake the after-school special feeling. There were a lot of obvious things in the book that said "this is wrong, and this is right". I felt like maybe this book could have done less of that and allowed the reader to see the right and wrong of it on their own.

The writing, I must say, was very good. Kate was into Geology and I loved the way she compared life and love to the way the Earth is formed. There were parts that I found to be so beautiful, that it made me forget I was reading about something really awful.

OVERALL: I loved the writing and the message of this book. I loved the way it made me think about life and society. But I wasn't as wowed as I wanted to be. It was a little after-school special-like.

My Blog:

… (mais)
Michelle_PPDB | 18 outras críticas | Mar 18, 2023 |
You don’t see a lot of YA memoir. This one is really terrific. About a boy growing up in a strict fundamentalist Christian family. Turns out, he’s gay. That sounds a bit ho-hum, but Hartzler tells his story in a really nuanced, compassionate, and funny way.
jollyavis | 11 outras críticas | Dec 14, 2021 |
This memoir chronicles the author’s conflicted feelings about his parents’ Evangelical Christian faith and describes the teenage Aaron’s growing rebellion and search to determine his own beliefs
NCSS | 11 outras críticas | Jul 23, 2021 |



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