ARC Review: This is How it Happened by Paula Stokes

30289938.jpg*I read this in July 2017 and reviewed it then. I read this as an arc. As always, this is my honest opinion.

This is my favorite Paula Stokes book.

That might seem a little dramatic since I finished it about 5 minutes ago and I’ve always shared my love for The Art of Lainey, but This is How it Happened is that good.


When Genevieve Grace wakes up from a coma, she can’t remember the car crash that injured her and killed her boyfriend Dallas, a YouTube star who had just released his first album. Genevieve knows she was there, and that there was another driver, a man named Brad Freeman, who everyone assumes is guilty. But as she slowly pieces together the night of the accident, Genevieve is hit with a sickening sense of dread—that maybe she had something to do with what happened.
As the internet rages against Brad Freeman, condemning him in a brutal trial by social media, Genevieve escapes to her father’s house, where she can hide from reporters and spend the summer volunteering in beautiful Zion National Park. But she quickly realizes that she can’t run away from the accident, or the terrible aftermath of it all.

This book is so poignant and absolutely perfect. It made me think and analyze my thoughts and actions. Paula Stokes does a masterful job at painting the devastaing reality of car accidents and the powerful impact of social media.

There was not a single thing I disliked about this book. Everything about it is spot on. The characters, the family, the situations. Everything. This could be based on real life and I wouldn’t be surprised.

Genevieve is painfully real. Her struggles, her grief, and her actions were so well done, that she becomes a real person in your mind. Survivor’s guilt is a thing, and boy does this book portray it well.

The topic of social media and the hashtag culture is also extremely important. Who hasn’t seen Twitter fights and media call outs? It’s the new reality, and this book deals with the implications of that, and it does it so well. There’s incredible insight to be had while reading this book.

Right from the beginning, I knew I would enjoy this book. I always enjoy Paula Stokes’ books, but I never thought it would impact me the way it did. This story was already resonating with me, but it only got more and more powerful as it went on. And then I was crying when I finished.

This is How it Happened is well written, well developed, and overall, a brilliantly perfect and deep book. It has a twinge of romance (which I always like), but it’s much more than that. It has power and it has impact.



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