Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Book Review: When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

Goodreads Summary:
A win brought them together, but loss may tear them apart.
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?
My Thoughts:

Fall and football season go hand in hand - and with football, cheerleaders.

When I sat down to write my thoughts on this story, I found it difficult. It was about so much more than it seems, on the surface. This entire small town was struck by this tragedy, not just the families of those involved. How does a town that reveres its football team and cheerleaders cope with something like this? There is also the blame game - who exactly, was at fault? And how far do you go in that blame? And it’s not just the accident that has townspeople's heads spinning - there is also the scandal involving a new young substitute teacher.  

The story is told from multiple viewpoints - that of two mothers, one the mother of a victim, the other the mother of the boy driving the car. We are also privy to the viewpoints of Leah, who should have been in the car but wasn’t, and of Ava, the new substitute teacher, who has a secret.

I found this book riveting. I didn’t want to put it down. I don’t want to say too much, for fear of giving too much away, so I will just say this - I thoroughly enjoyed this book, its twists and turns and secrets and conclusions. The questions it raises about teenagers, the pressures of teenage life, of marriage, of parenthood. What choices we make, and why. And how these choices ultimately affect those around us.

I received this book from Lake Union Publishing in exchange for an honest review.


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