Review of This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes

This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes

To be published on July 11, 2017 by Harper Teen

Source: eARC from publisher

Plot Summary of How It Happened by Paula Stokes 

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.

Review of This Is How It Happened

Genevieve is driving her famous YouTube musician boyfriend home from a party. 

The next thing she knows, she's lying in the hospital, just out of a coma, and her boyfriend is dead. 

The internet is going crazy with speculation about the accident and anger at the other driver, who had previous DUIs. 

Genevieve can't remember anything about the accident, but as her memory slowly returns, she starts to panic, and flees her hometown of St. Louis to visit her dad and stepmom in Southern Utah.

At first I wasn't sure about This Is How It Happened. For the first third of the book, I felt like I could see exactly where this book was going (and was right in every way.) I worried the book would just keep going on a predictable path. Plus, it feels tough to bring anything new to the table with a YA amnesia book.

But as I read, I liked the book more and more.  

I thought the execution of what I thought was going to be an eye-rollingly predictable story ended up being really very good. 

Once Genevieve gets to Utah, she meets an interesting cast of characters. She volunteers in Zion National Park, where away from her old life she can begin to come to terms with her role in the accident and figure out what she can do to get her story told.

It was at this point that I thought This Is How It Happened really took off and began to have a lot of heart. 

This story does a good job of portraying a situation where the masses on the internet make assumptions about something and are relentless in their anger. 

I felt at a few points the book veered into preachiness, but also think the internet mob mentality is an important issue and that the book did a good case study on what can happen when people start to speculate without facts. 

Adored the love interest and the great family relationships and the issues.

This Is How It Happened took a while to get going but in the end, this book won me over!


  1. I really, really liked this book overall, but I didn't like Genevieve and the ending *sighs*
    I think this was a very important read, but I just couldn't connect with her.
    Anyway, I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

    1. I found her kind of a pain at first but she did show a lot of growth. Sorry it wasn't for you!

  2. I'm not a fan of the amnesia plot either but I do like the sound of this one - especially volunteering a the park.

    For What It's Worth

    1. Amnesis really isn't my fave plot point but I got past that!

  3. I've been really looking forward to this one so I'm happy to hear you enjoyed it overall! The Zion National Park part sounds interesting. Great review!

    1. That part was awesome -- I love hiking!

  4. This is on my wishlist, glad to hear that you ended up liking it.

  5. This one sounds really good. Honestly, I really want to read more Paula Stokes books because she seems so lovely on twitter!
    Megan @

  6. I've only read Liars Inc by this author but I do want to try some more of her works. It sounds lie it took a while for this book to warm up to you, but that once it did you could really enjoy reading it! That sounds great.:)


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