After receiving a full-ride scholarship to Mills College for Girls, it appears Sarah’s future is all laid out before her … that is until she walks into a poetry class led by Mr. Haddings, a student teacher from the nearby University of Washington. Suddenly, life on the UW campus seems very appealing, and Sarah finds herself using her poetry journal to subtly declare her feelings for Haddings. Convinced Mr. Haddings is flirting back, she sets off for school in the rain with a poem in her back pocket—one that will declare her feelings once and for all.

Mr. Haddings has noticed Sarah’s attention; the fallout from any perceived relationship with a student is too great a risk, and he has decided to end all speculation that morning.

But everything changes when Mr. Haddings feels a thud on his front bumper when he glances away from the road, and finds Sarah in the street with blood pooling beneath her.

The Phoenix’s Perspective

For a book that was inspired by a true story, I found that Hit was a short read at 224. As I said in my tweet (#plfirst100), the story starts up just like the car accident that it is about. It starts off running and, before you can even look at your surroundings, BAM!  First shock, then acknowledgment and finally picking up the pieces.  It’s a lot to happen in 224 pages.  The book is divided into 3 days. Each day is told through the alternating points of view of Sarah and Mr. Haddings.

If you have read the book jacket (synopsis above), then you already know that Sarah has a crush on Mr. Haddings. I don’t know if crush is really the right word. In her mind, she has already put aside the teacher-student role and decided to focus on their ages instead.  She has also decided that the poems he has chosen to insinuate that he isn’t interested (since he can’t exactly say that without getting in trouble) are just attempts at being the “adult” and putting aside his feelings.  She has even gone as far as contemplating changing her college choice, putting aside a full scholarship, so that she can be at the same college he is and then “they can be together 😍😍.”  I know that sometimes her emotions can come across as a little hyper-realistic, but, unfortunately as a teacher, I have come across situations similar to this before.

Haddings seems to have his own internal struggle. He always seems to say the right things – “Yes sir, Professor, I need to distance myself from this student and make my feelings of disinterest more clear. But, there doesn’t seem to be any gusto behind them.  When we first meet him, he seems to be trying to convince himself that he is not interested in her and that she is no more special than any other student.  Yet, he falls to pieces when he realizes who he has hit – “No, not Sarah!”  Clearly, he cares for her more than he says – more than he is willing to admit to himself.  So much so, that his behaviors after the accident border on stalker and definitely creepy.  He hides at the hospital near the family to hear what’s going on and to make sure Sarah is ok.

My only complaint is that the ending felt short and unresolved. It almost felt like Grover was on a character limit (like on Twitter), so she needed to wrap it up fast. All in all, I think Hit is a good book.  It packs a lot in a short amount of time.  You watch the characters deal with pain, shock, agony, self-pity, anger and, sometimes, even contemplation about forgiveness.  It brings out a lot of relationships that you wouldn’t always think of during a moment as traumatic as this.  You get an inside look at the teacher-student relationship that sparked this whole situation to begin with, but you also get a look into family relationships, friendships and, more importantly, one’s relationship with oneself.  Are you being true to yourself?  Are you really looking at your best interests in life?  Are you guiding yourself through your day to day or are you just hoping everything will fall into place?  You learn in the first couple of pages that life can clearly change in an instant — make sure to make every instant before that count because all those after that will change and require everything in you to make your own.

Would I add it to the library?

I almost wish there was a sequel to tell us what happened after Sarah healed.


Genre: Fiction – emotions, feelings, health issues
ISBN: 9780310729389
Rating:  good

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