This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Summary: Somehow I’ve become a liar. A coward. Here’s how it happened.
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.
*Received ARC through author’s giveaway*
My Thoughts: This Is How It Happened follows Genevieve Larsen as she comes to terms with her boyfriend’s death after they were both involved in a fatal car crash.
The first novel I’d ever read by Paula Stokes was Girl Against The Universe and I loved it so much! When I heard about This Is How It Ends, I had to put it on my TBR right away! Luckily, I was able to get an ARC from Paula through a giveaway (tysm ❤).
Being a new up and coming singer, Dallas Kade gathered quite a fan base + a new record deal. His sudden death is mourned by people from across the country (especially as seen through social media).
Similar to Stokes other novel, she discusses and explores mental health. Incorporating, especially in this novel, the impacts that trauma and stress can have on a person, while also discussing in a couple scenes throughout the novel, the importance of therapy.
Stokes always manages to incorporate important discussions on mental health and keeps it as a steady theme throughout the book!
Additionally the impact of social media was another huge factor of this novel and is weaved into the story so well! It’s now such a huge part of how we take in news, etc. and Stokes really made it an important factor of the story, while also making it so relatable!
The characters were all written with such depth! All the characters introduced felt so real and throughout the novel, really come to life through Gen’s POV.
The first person POV really allows us to understand how this event has impacted Gen mentally and emotionally. Stokes use of first person really gives the reader an inside look into Gen’s internal struggles and how she copes with this loss.
As for plot, it does have its slow moments, but above all is about Gen finding the strength to explain what happened the night of Dallas’s death and find the strength in herself to move on and accept!
She decides to spend time with her dad in Utah to allow time for the news to simmer down, and over the course of the novel connects more with her father + Rachel (his new wife).
It was great to read about her reconnect with her father and connect more to Rachel, who was very supportive while Gen stayed to visit.
Above all her time spent in Utah is used to understand what she wants, how she can accept what has happened to Dallas and the realize the effects it has on Brad (the man accused of causing his death). I really enjoyed reading about being immersed in the setting in Zion + Utah!
Living with her mother, Gen has grown up to stay focused on a dream towards medical school. Her mother is very strict and over the course of the novel, Gen understands that she also fears talking about what happened because of her parent’s (mainly mother’s) expectations.
I loved how Stokes made Gen’s parents such an integral part of the story (not only through plot, but also seen through Gen’s POV). While Gen has fears about confronting them to talk about what happened, she comes to accept and learn along the way that she’s surrounded by parents who will stand by her no matter what.
I will admit, some moments were slow paced + I did find the relationship that develops to feel a little rushed.
This YA Contemporary tackles grief and loss as we follow Genevieve’s journey to accept her boyfriend’s death and find the inner strength within herself. With themes of family, acceptance, and friendship, Stokes novel also brings to light discussions of mental health and the impact of social media! Filled with mystery, important themes of loss and acceptance, This Is How It Ends is a novel to check out!