We Know It Was You is the first novel in Maggie Thrash's Strange Truth series. I always imagined myself as an 'investigator' when I was younger, so the premise of We Know It Was You appealed to me. But...
Fifteen year olds Benny and Virginia are the only members of The Mystery Club at Winship Academy. Up until now their cases have been fairly pedestrian, such as a missing musical instrument. But when the Winship Wildcat mascot throws him/her self off a bridge, Benny sees an opportunity for a bigger case. You see, there's a camera with footage.....and Benny sees and takes it before the cops get there.
I initially liked Benny and Virginia as lead characters. They're somewhat dorky and social misfits of a sort. But I found their initial characterization at odds with the situations and actions that Thrash assigns to them. As the book progresses Thrash has Benny, but mostly Virginia, in situations that were completely out of character and frankly unbelievable. Now if you plan to read We Know It Was You, stop here. Spoilers ahead.
Serious stuff on the camera they stole - filming underage girls in the locker room. Fifteen in a bar. Porn rings. Not going to the cops. Hypnotizing someone to have sex with them. Rape. A student who carts around his grandfather's gun, complete with bayonet on campus. And a whole descriptive scene where he masturbates to/with the gun. What did this add to the novel? (answer = nothing) And Benny and Virginia never go to the school or the police about what they know.
But this is where Thrash completely lost me. This is a conversation good old Coach Miles is having with his male students. Bolding is mine.
"Everyone one of you is a potential rapist. You've got the hardware." "So what can you do to make sure you respect the ladies and never rape them accidentally." "Well first throw out your dictionary. You need to learn girl language. And in girl language, everything means no. No means no; I don't know means no; maybe means no. Being drunk means no. Being a lot younger than you means no. " What if they say yes?" " Sometimes even yes means no. So how can you tell? Well here's what you do, guys. If she says yes - and don't f****** count on it - if she says says yes, you reach up her skirt and feel around. If she's nice and lubricated - " "If she's nice and wet, then you go ahead and seal the deal. If she's not, then sorry buddy, yes means not and you better seek other accommodations." The rape of a male character is fluffed off.
Are you freakin' kidding me?! Really?! In this day and age?!
The disjointed plot was all over the map and full of holes. Stereotypical characters. I did plow through to the end. Why? I think I was so incensed by the above dialogue, I just wanted to see if it could get any worse.
The publisher has this in the description of the book: "Twin Peaks meets Pretty Little Liars." Sorry, not even close. If this was meant to be a parody or a satire, then I missed the memo. Definitely not recommended for the YA crowd its being targeted to. If you like, you can read an excerpt of We Know It Was you here.