This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes (Review)

reviews by lauren31931943

Title: This Is How It Happened

Author: Paula Stokes

Publisher: HarperTeen

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Disclaimer: I received a free copy via Edelweiss for review purposes.

This Is How It Happened follows Genevieve as she wakes up from a coma to find her boyfriend dead. She can’t remember the car crash that put her in the hospital and killed her boyfriend, Dallas, an up and coming singer who had just released his first album. Another driver was also involved in the crash, named Brad Freeman, who everyone already assumes is guilty. But slowly, Genevieve starts to retrieve her memories and is startled by the realisation that maybe she had something to do with what happened. As Brad Freeman is condemned through social media and in the court of public opinion, Genevieve escapes to her father’s house in Utah. Volunteering at the beautiful Zion National Part, and getting closer to another volunteer, Genevieve realises that hiding from the truth is having devastating consequences.

To be absolutely honest, I was expecting to love this. I think, in this case, I was disappointed. I liked it, I just didn’t love it. Whilst I thought that Genevieve was difficult to connect with and I think the plot itself wasn’t especially memorable, I really liked the prose andThis Is How It Happened is definitely a book with a good message: take responsibility for your mistakes and deal with the consequences yourself.

There is a bit of romance; it’s cute and sweet, he respects her, and he encourages her to own up. It’s not central to the novel, because that is definitely Gen’s development, driving safely, and also tackling internet bullying, death threats, and jumping to conclusions without all the information.

One thing I really enjoyed was the vividness of the Zion National Park; the lush descriptions, the importance of preserving national landscapes. It was definitely my favourite thing about the book. But another thing that I did enjoy was the excellent family dynamics. Gen has a supportive mother (more so toward the end), a supporting father and step-mother, and it was excellent to see them stand by her. (Her love interests fathers were also A+, the little glimpse we had).

Overall, this is an OK book. I would probably read something by Paula Stokes again purely because I find she had a lovely prose.



Lauren is a british blogger and book reviewer. She is an avid bookworm, writer and procrastinator extraordinaire. A recent history grad, Lauren is currently grappling with adulthood, finding solace in the written word. As an avid reader of YA literature, she’s a lover of sci-fi, contemporary romance, sister stories, and cute f/f books. Some of her favourite books include Code Name Verity by the incredibly talented Elizabeth Wein, and the soul-crushingly cute The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli.



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