Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Stillwater Rising by Steena Holmes

3 Star

After losing her son in an elementary school shooting that devastates the tight-knit community of Stillwater Bay, Jennifer Crowne finds herself unable to settle back into her role of perfect stay-at-home mom and committee organizer. Meanwhile, her best friend, Mayor Charlotte Stone, struggles to keep the town together, and Charlotte’s husband, the school principal, may not be the hero everyone thinks him to be.

As they try to heal from this irrevocable trauma, Jenn and Charlotte find themselves at a crossroads—within the town and within their friendship. For Jenn, broken and grieving, there is no going back, and she demands that the school be closed so that she can bury the past. Yet Charlotte is equally desperate to hold the town together, fighting the school closure and helping the shooter’s mother regain her place in the community. Jenn and Charlotte’s relationship is put to the ultimate test as each weighs her own interests against the bonds of their friendship. 

Sabrina-Kate - 3 Star

The initial premise of this book was very appealing to me as it is exactly the type of story that I like. A terrible and tragic event and the aftermath of it seems to draw me in. School shootings have become more common so I thought it would be interesting to read a book about what happens afterwards. I have often thought about those left behind and how they cope, especially the other children and families of the victims.

Sadly, even though this book appealed to me, it was not one that I particularly enjoyed. Some of the reactions and characters made perfect sense to me, but not all of them. There was the character of Jenn, who was basically raging and angry (and who wouldn't be?) and that part I truly felt like I could understand yet other things about her character did not ring true to me. Something felt contrived or maybe just not realistic enough? Hard to pinpoint what I could not identify with but there was definitely something off.

Now I realize that this was set in a small town but it still did seem like the characters were almost at times caricatures of themselves. The typical small town hero types that are conflicted yet venerated. Never something I have thought realistic, having come from a small town myself. 

I did enjoy parts of the book and it certainly showed me different reactions and points of view yet something about it just left me feeling unsatisfied unfortunately. There is no doubt though that Steena is a talented author despite my reservations about this particular book so I would definitely read other work of hers.

Thank you to Lake Union Publishing for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Steena Holmes:
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