Review: This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes

I picked up this book reluctantly. I’m not that much into grieving stories and tragedies but it looked promising. I was quite interested in how the internet aspect played into the story, so I gave it a go.

This story is about a girl, Genevieve, whose gets in a car crash that kills her boyfriend, Dallas Kade. Her boyfriend is Youtube star and an emerging singer. The country is distraught. This car crash is allegedly caused by a drunk driver who begins receiving horrifying backlash from online. Genevieve goes to her dad’s place for the summer to get away from the paparazzi. She had lost her memory in the accident and can’t remember what exactly happened, but as bits and pieces come back, she wonders if there was more to the accident than she realized.

The whole Youtube star thing really threw me off. I mean, with the whole musical.ly craze, I wasn’t exactly sure how to imagine Dallas Kade. Is he a bratty teen with a pretty boy face and a diehard fandom? Or is he an earnest guy just making music he likes? I wasn’t exactly sure. I also dislikes the forced upon “do-gooder” image that Dallas had. One of his famous songs is called Younity. It just seemed too over the top for it to be realistic. I also can’t get over the fact that Dallas Kade received no scrutiny ever? As a white boy that got famous off of Youtube, he never had people targeting him? It seems hard to believe.

As for the fandom drama, this is something I think was shown really well. There are many aggressive fans online that probably need to think things through before they post them. Dallas Kade’s fandom was no exception and I think the author did a really good job of showing the hate. Some of the things were over the top, but I overall it was believable.

The author did seem to imply that social media was overall a horrible thing when it really isn’t. Yes, awful people exist and the internet is only a reflection of that. The book implies social media is what makes people kill themselves and puts all the bad stuff in the world but social media is also what made Dallas Kade famous. It sort of hypocritical.

*SPOILER ALERT*
Morally, I just couldn’t back Gen waiting. I feel that this book spent too much time just showing how guilty Genevieve felt than actually why she couldn’t go to the police at once. She spent so much time feeling sorry for Freedman and talking about how sorry she felt for him but she never actually did anything for the longest time. I felt no pity for her at that moment because I couldn’t believes was taking so long. I feel like this part of the book dragged on for quite a bit and I kept waiting for it to be over. In my mind, there really was no other option but the book suggested otherwise.

That being said, I really like the awareness the book brought to sleeping while driving and accidents in general. It was a good thought.

Final thoughts: Give it a read if you like books about remorse and grieving or just death in general, but don’t pick it up if you want something quick.

3/5

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