By Alia Khan
For October I read only spooky books, so mostly thrillers, mystery and supernatural books. One of them, We Know It Was You by Maggie Thrash, is so bad I can’t even comprehend why anyone would publish it. I’m going to start this by saying that sometimes trash is good, who doesn’t love the odd ridiculous novel or movie?
But this book has no concept of plot or mystery and on top off that is racist, sexist, and grossly mishandles concepts such as consent and sexual assault. It’s literally appalling to read, and the fact that a female author would represent her own gender in such a poor way is disappointing.
So, here’s a small list of things that were wrong with this book:
1. Virginia Leeds, and all the other girls.
One of the two main characters, Virginia is the main female protagonist of the story. She’s describes as an annoying person who can’t shut up that loves to talk about other peoples secrets. The other main character, Benny Flax, often describes her as an idiot who doesn’t think things through, someone who needs constant supervision and that her only redeeming quality is how “obedient” she is.On top of that, he basically tries to use her sex appeal to hit on a guy twice her age. And when that gets her in trouble, he basically blames her for it!
“It was always surprising how obedient Virginia could be. She never argued with him or tried to be in charge. It was strange for someone so pushy and assertive.”
Wow. By the way, the only time in the book Virginia is “assertive” in any way is when she finally snaps at Ben for calling her an annoying moron all the time. I’d have snapped a long time ago. He’s always putting her down, and near the end the book starts to hint at a romantic relationship because who wouldn’t want an asshole who yells at you all the time as a boyfriend??
In fact, her portrayal of most of the girls in this books are so unrealistic I’m not even sure the author has ever met a sixteen year old girl in her life. Here’s a few examples:
“Chrissie was a total social climber, which Virginia could have respected if she weren’t so bad at it. She got way too drunk at parties, gave blow jobs to the wrong guys and then bragged about it to the wrong girls.”
Like, is she seriously perpetuating the stereotype that women climb the social ladder by sleeping with random guys?? Why would you even write this.
“Sometimes she even hugged them sitting down, which was pretty much just smashing her boobs in their face.”
“Don’t go anywhere. I’ll be back in five minutes and I’ll give you a nice foot massage.”
I don’t know about you guys but never in my life have I given my friend, let alone a veritable stranger, a foot massage. These quotes are from the first hundred pages of the book and honestly, it just gets worse from there.
2. Consent is hard, apparently.
There are a few different scenes in the book that deal with consent, taking advantage and filming underage girls, and rape. It deals with all of those things badly. Aside from the fact that for some reason every single villain in the book is a minority, none of them face any real consequences. No one is brought to justice, no one is stopped from distributing porn or put on trial for rape. The authors’ sensitivity on any of these subjects in non-existent and absolutely toxic.
There’s a scene where the coach is talking to “the boys” about consent, and I think the point of it was to make the protagonist seem more like a gentleman but honestly it was just horrifying to read:
“So what can you do to make sure you respect the ladies and never rape them accidentally. Well first of all, throw out your dictionary. You need to learn girl language. And in girl language, everything means no. Being drunk means no. Being a lot younger than you means no.”
“Being asleep means no,” Chase added. Everyone snickered and looked at Big Gabe, who had famously given cunnilingus to his girlfriend while she was asleep during the class trip to Washington, DC.
“Well what if they say yes?” Trevor Cheek spoke up, a huge smirk on his face.
“News flash, stud,” Coach Miles snapped at him. “Sometimes even yes means no. So how can you tell? Well here’s what to do guys. If she says yes – and don’t fuckin’ count on it – if she says yes, you reach up her skirt and feel around. If she’s nice and lubricated-”
“Shut up, shut up. If she’s nice and wet, then you go ahead and seal the deal. If she’s not, then sorry buddy, yes means no, and you better seek other accommodations.”
3. WHY ARE ALL THE MINORITIES VILLAINS????
I’m not even going to spend too much time on this because clearly the author has no racial sensitivity, and I don’t want to ruin the plot in case for some god awful reason you still want to read this book. Basically, every minority you meet in this book is the worst. There’s like, three Koreans in this novel and they’re all perverts.
4. Speaking of perverts…
Why does everyone just get away with every awful thing they do in this book? At the end, the main character brushes it off as they just “wanted to solve the mystery” but that being good detectives (which they’re NOT by the way) doesn’t mean they can dole out justice. You know what it does mean though? THAT YOU CAN CALL THE COPS ON PEOPLE WHO FILM UNDERAGE GIRLS. THAT MAYBE IT’S A GOOD IDEA TO ALERT THE AUTHORITIES TO YOUR LOCAL RAPIST????
Honestly, can’t deal with how off the rails bad this book was. 10/10 would NOT recommend. I’m not even going to link it, like I do for most books, because that’s how much I don’t want anyone to read this book.