After six people are shot at a small town community theater, people gather to attend the funeral of one of the victims: seventeen-year-old Stefia. As those who knew Stefia best privately share their memories of her, we discover a collective picture of a girl everyone loved but no one really knew.
Who was Stefia? Who knew her best? And why was she targeted in the shooting?
In The Me You See, Shay Ray Stevens has created an excellent mystery. On the surface, Stefia appears to be the the perfect young girl – warm, funny, intelligent – but as the book progresses we find the truth about Stefia is far more complex than first appears.
Stevens has successfully pieced together a compelling narrative based around the memories of Stefia’s friends and family. The timeline jumps back and forth, covering important events from Stefia’s life, each a step along the path to the opening shooting. What would be confusing in the hands of another author flows effortlessly due to Stevens’ skilful handling of both plot and characterisation. Each new character’s perspective feels real and unique, not an easy thing to do. It was very easy to become engrossed in the mystery of what happened. As new aspects of Stefia’s personality and life were revealed, I found myself racing through the pages to find out more.
The story made uncomfortable reading at times – Stevens isn’t afraid to reveal life’s darker side – but despite the discomfort these scenes were handled sensitively. There were one or two occasions where I felt the dialogue for one of the older characters was off – the choice of wording too young for their age – but this really is a minor quibble on what is an excellent book which successfully raises the question of whether we can ever truly know all aspects of a person’s character. Highly recommended.
To buy The Me You See from Amazon.co.uk click here
To buy The Me You See from Amazon.com click here
Recommended reads are either independently published books – or those that are published via a small press – that I have bought and enjoyed. They are part of a commitment to ‘pay it forward’ to other independent authors by buying their work and promoting those that I have enjoyed, both here and on Amazon and Goodreads. I don’t accept submissions but instead focus on people who have helped or inspired me through their blogging or who actively support other writers, but I only recommend those books I have personally enjoyed. If you are an independent author I would encourage you to do the same and help pay it forward to the community. For more information please see my blog post here.