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What We Saw

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  523 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Liam and Adam arrive at their grandparents’ caravan site like any pair of young cousins: mischievous and fascinated by mystery and adventure.

But when the disappearance of their dog leads to a terrifying discovery deep in the nearby woods, Liam and Adam are plunged into a very adult world of secrecy and suspicion. As the story twists and turns towards a shocking conclusion,
Paperback, 312 pages
Published December 6th 2012 by Higher Bank Books (first published December 4th 2012)
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3.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  523 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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Mar 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
I understand what the author is tryiong to do here, and I wish him well in the future as a writer. He is trying to communicate the internal struggles three young children go through dealing with some harsh realities of life, while playing together at solving "mysteries" by doing undercover investigative work. The setting is a trailer park in the UK. The time period appears to be early 2000s: there is a Coldplay song on the radio that a character disdains at one point. Curiously, cell phones are ...more
Jan 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Two young cousins are spending the summer with their grandparents in a sort of RV park. The park is located near a wooded area and there is a beach nearby. Liam’s parents’ marriage may be ending. The arguments and discord between his parents have escalated to the point where they felt it would be better for Liam to spend some time with his grandparents while they decide whether or not to dissolve their marriage. Adam’s situation is even sadder as he is grieving the death of his parents under tru ...more
Liz Terek
Dec 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
‘What We Saw’ is a tale of 2 young cousins. These boys, Adam & Liam, are spending a summer together that they’ll never forget.
Both children have less than perfect home lives with their parents. Adam is dealing with his parents’ double suicide. Liam’s parents are separated. Gran & Granddad are their summertime chaperones at their caravan community. While trying their best to parent the cousins, the elderly couple are trying to overcome their own grief.
Like most young boys, they’re inqu
Mar 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love Ryan Casey's writing blog, and so I was excited to give his debut novel a try.

Liam and Adam are two boys who love solving mysteries - perhaps not always mysteries that are actually real, but mysteries nonetheless. They're both great characters and I enjoyed their banter; it reminded me of the way my brother and I used to chat when we were out adventuring in the woods in our youth (even though the boys here are cousins).

Of course, the boys soon discover something utterly real and very dist
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
What We Saw was an exceptionally well written look into adult issues as understood by young people. The authors ability to become a 12 year old boy to tell the story was uncanny. This was a good, quick read that explored major issues from an often unexplored perspective.
Paula Cyrus
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book for pre-teens

It was well written with believable characters. The plot line was good enough to keep me reading even though the intended audience was pre-teens. The ending was unexpected. I never would of guessed the horrific act one character committed. The epilogue gives closure for the 3 main characters.
Christine Casbar
Didn't like the ending, should have been more elaborate on the details of what her life was like afterwords. And should explained what happened with father, Donald and mother. More details on how the boys coped.
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A great book that kept me reading. I don't normally like mysteries but this was great and kept me on the edge of my seat.
Nov 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Ryan Casey’s debut novel What We Saw is a rare treat—one of those novels that refuses to be put down. I’m a fast reader to begin with and can average a novel or two a week, but when I can finish half a book in one sitting, I know I’ve got my hands on something special.
The story deals with these young friends as they get a little too deep into one of the mysteries they so like to solve. They’re in well over their head almost immediately, but believe they can handle it—and things go downhill from
Dec 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read a lot of books. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry; epics, plays, novels and short stories. I average between one and two regular novels a week, depending on how easily I 'slip' into a book.
I finished What We Saw in two days, but only because I started reading it late on day one. Most of the book was devoured in one sitting. This is the best indication I can give that a book is exceptional.

I read this expecting a mystery/suspense novel, a genre Casey has some obvious talent in writing. I found
Stephanie (the nerdy princess)
Two young cousins are spending the summer with their grandparents in a sort of RV park. The park is located near a wooded area and there is a beach nearby. Liam's parents' marriage may be ending. The arguments and discord between his parents have escalated to the point where they felt it would be better for Liam to spend some time with his grandparents while they decide whether or not to dissolve their marriage. Adam's situation is even sadder as he is grieving the death of his parents under tru ...more
Patrick Dorsey
Feb 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Ryan Casey's debut novel WHAT WE SAW is a good read.

It *is* slow to start, the story taking its time in establishing the characters and the setting. But once all the pieces are in place it becomes a solid mystery, with its two young protagonists battling the demons of their own lives (both the pains of adolesence/growing up and those life just drops on some people) while struggling to unravel a terrible mystery the two stumble across in the woods near their grandparents' home. Although the narr
Will Overby
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this impressive debut novel, two young cousins witness a shocking scene in the woods and must decide whether to report what they have seen or try to solve the mystery themselves. But as they continue to keep their secret, they begin to realize they are in great danger and the enigma runs much deeper than they first thought.

Ryan Casey has created a solid world of believable characters and vivid settings. I have to admit to being tripped up by a few British colloquialisms, but they didn't detr
Jaylyn Styles
Jan 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The mystery will instantly catch up on you! This book is beyond awesome as I can say, I read this in a matter of days and I was just blown away by the details and how great the writing of this book is. Obviously the author caught me off guard with his picturesque writing and detailed depiction of the story. I rarely read mystery books since it tends to bore me wanting to know what will happen next but this one is a straight on read. I didn't suffer from the what-will-happen-next syndrome, I was ...more
Jan 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Adam and Liam are spending the summer with their grandparents. They are both facing difficult family struggles. Adam and Liam think of themselves as detectives and spend much of their time solving mysteries. This inquisitiveness leads to a shocking discovery. Adam and Liam are determined to solve the shocking mystery on their own. Will their secrecy lead them to solving this mystery or down a disastrous end?

This story began slowly for me but it gradually increased momentum as the suspense was bu
Adam and Liam are cousins spending the summer with their grandparents and also individually going thru personal issues in their home life. Their grands live in an RV park and the boys being so young and adventurous get off to themselves a good bit and build a play den that becomes their private getaway and later a place to meet and solve mysteries that begin popping up around the park.

It started out a bit slow for me but after I dug my heels in the tale began to unravel rather quickly especially
S. Wideman
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
I liked this book. A bit slow at times, but it was interesting. The story follows Liam and Adam, cousins, during a summer in which they are drawn into a missing person/murder investigation. As two boys who want to solve mysteries, they don't know what to do when they witness someone they know and admire burying a body. They try to "solve" the case, but their own problems are creeping in and tearing them apart. Adam's parents died before the book starts, and he's full of rage, while Liam is worki ...more
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was interesting at times, but I had several issues with it. My biggest issue is that the two main characters were supposed to be 10- and 12-year-old boys, but they didn't act or speak true to character. I wonder if the author has ever known any 10-year-old boys? I had to keep reminding myself of their ages because they acted and spoke more like 14-16 year olds. I also felt that there were some unanswered questions at the end. Things I felt weren't fully explained. I won't mention them ...more
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
This is listed as a thriller novel, but I just didn't feel it. In fact, I would add that I felt it was more of a Young Adult book. The story starts off wonderfully introducing the main characters and location. From that point, I felt bogged down with extra daily routine, that didn't seem to have anything to do with any one thing in particular. I found myself skipping pages at a time to see if anything interesting happened. I was not a bit surprised about the ending, and felt more let down than t ...more
Sep 08, 2013 rated it liked it
More like 2 1/2 stars. I got into the story and enjoyed the boys' love of mystery solving. This seemed like a young adult book to me, but I'm not sure it was marketed as such. The boys themselves seemed much older in some respects than they were supposed to be and none of the adults came across as very realistic. I suppose the latter could be due to an unreliable young narrator, but I had still had trouble picturing the boys as 10 and 12 years old. Donald's part in the story and the reasoning be ...more
Pierre Sr.
Sep 06, 2013 rated it liked it
I found it unlikely that young boys their age would not go to authorities after witnessing what they saw in this story, had it really happened in real life... Nonetheless, I really enjoyed reading it, because the relationship between the two cousins and their connection with their grandparents is interesting to learn from the point of view of a young boy. I especially liked Adam's way of standing up to face adversity, opposed to his older cousin who reacts a bit more conventionally. A cute story ...more
Oct 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book took me nearly a week to read. It did not capture my attention at all. Boring is all i can say about it. There was nothing exciting about the book or the writing at all. I found the portrayal of the characters at their age very unrealistic. Were they 10? 11? Or 16? who the hell knew. At one point it said they were 10 but no 10 year olds i know talk like that, nor worry about a girlfriend/boyfriend and not to the extent this book portrayed. Definitely not a book i would recommend to any ...more
Taylor Knight
Nov 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
Okay, to be totally honest, I just couldn't get into this book. I tried and tried but I just couldn't.
I thought and desperately wanted this to be super creepy and even scary but I never even got to any action.

Because What We Saw is written from a child's perspective, I couldn't relate to the characters.
And in some ways, they didn't act like children. If I remember correctly, one of the two kids says "shit" in the first 2% of the book.
Brandy Corona
Dec 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
First, the cover itself gave me goosebumps. I always get afraid when little children are involved in mystery stories, I don't know why I just get so fearful for them! Ryan took Liam and Adam and made them two of the bravest boys I've ever read.

I liked how nicely the book flow, there were not dull moments or lagging dialogue. This was a fast read and the conclusion really shocked me! The best part of Ryan's writing is how descriptive he is. His writing doesn't leave you second guessing what you'r
Martina Johnson
Dec 23, 2013 rated it liked it
i didn't love this. there were just some points that seemed like they were supposed to be dramatic and important that were addressed very casually, as if Casey forgot how important they were to begin with. there's a lost connection between the introduction of issues and their conclusions.
it's a good, well-constructed story, though, no real loose ends or questions left unanswered. in the end, I don't hate it, but it's probably not worth a second read to me.
Aug 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a British young adult novel, told from the perspective of 10- and 12-year-old cousins, staying with their grandparents over the summer. The author was only 19 or 20 when he wrote this book, which makes it even more impressive. I genuinely enjoyed the book, particularly at the end as the plot thickened and the pace picked up. The epilogue was especially satisfying after such an emotional journey with the main characters. This would make an excellent beach read.
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book really held my interest. It reminded me of the summers when I was as young and stayed at my grandparents house. It wasn't near as eventful as Liams and Adams. The book reminded me of the imaginations that young kids have and how they can get carried away. This book has a lot of emotion to it.
Kathy DeShong
Dec 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was slow reading this novel because it seemed too immature and was written from the perspective of two ten-year old boys. Toward the end, it all came together and became more suspenseful. The author did an update for ten years later..what had happened with the kids and adults involved.
Brenda Copeland
Sep 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very good book. Didn't understand what the Grandfather had to doing with the missing girl.
Two cousins being cared for by Grandparents. One cousin is an orphan and the other has parents that are separated. A neighbor who is abusive, and a killer. There is a reunion between the cousins and Emily the abuser's daughter.
Tessa Stockton
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
There are dynamic elements in the middle, oddly, of this novel. Nonetheless, I primarily didn't buy into the story of the central characters, Liam and Adam, for they had the minds and mouths of misguided teenagers rather than ages ten and twelve. The language and behavior weren't suitable or consistent. I wanted to like this novel more than I did.
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Ryan Casey is the author of over a dozen novels and a highly successful serial. He writes gritty post-apocalyptic fiction, throwing normal people into devastating situations and exploring how they react and adapt. He has also written several detective mysteries and thrillers. Across all genres, Casey's work is renowned for its rapid pacing, unforgettably complex characters, and knockout twists.

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