How She Died How I Lived
What worked: Gripping tale that deals with survivor guilt after a horrific murder. This story is intense, but one I feel needs to be told. I lost my own younger sister to gun violence a number of years ago. The author nails the emotions of a loved one who lost someone to violence. Also it addresses the guilt a survivor might feel. To be honest, I was worried this story would be too painful to read, but I found I couldn't put this book down.
In this story the murderer sends five emails out, fishing for his victim. The one girl who did response, the 'Saintly Jaime', is brutally murdered. A number of emotions hit the girls who didn't respond. I felt this was so realistic as everyone handles loss in different ways.
Readers follow the protagonist as she struggles with different emotions, including guilt that she wasn't the one who was murdered. I love how Charlie tries to 'get' over the death of his girlfriend, but is told by the protagonist:
"It's not like there's an expiration date on any of this." "It's messed up, but you didn't mess it up. It's not on you."
There is a strong message that it's okay to feel after a horrific tragedy like murder. It's okay to not forget. And it's also okay to live.
The only thing I wished was that the author showed more on how the parents were feeling and dealing with the death. We see that one of the girl's, Lindsey, mother is never around. Jaime's mother ends up joining a survivor's group. **Interesting as my own mother joined one of these too after the murder of my sister. But I wanted more from the protagonist's family. Other than that, this is a very powerful novel that has tons of feels. Intense, moving, and unforgettable, this story is one that addresses survivor's guilt in a realistic way.