Review: When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen @marybethwhalen @LUAuthors

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Release date: September 12, 2017

Publisher: Lake Union

Genre: Contemporary Fiction 


A win brought them together, but loss may tear them apart.

When the sound of sirens cuts through a cool fall night, the small town of Worthy, Georgia, hurtles from triumph to tragedy. Just hours before, they’d watched the Wildcats score a winning touchdown. Now, they’re faced with the deaths of three cheerleaders—their promising lives cut short in a fatal crash. And the boy in the other car—the only one to survive—is believed to be at fault. As rumors begin to fly and accusations spin, allegiances form and long-kept secrets emerge.

At the center of the whirlwind are four women, each grappling with loss, regret, shame, and lies: Marglyn, a grieving mother; Darcy, whose son had been behind the wheel; Ava, a substitute teacher with a scandalous secret; and Leah, a cheerleader who should have been in the car with her friends, but wasn’t. If the truth comes out, will it bring redemption—or will it be their downfall?


Ahh small town Southern life never fails to fascinate me and Worthy, Georgia is the type of town you envision when you hear small town USA. Football is life for the residents and cheerleading is a close second, so when three cheerleaders are killed in a tragic car accident after a Friday night game the town is shaken to it’s core. The accident is just the beginning of the scandal, this tiny town has secrets and the gossips don’t even know the half of it.

This is told through the eyes of four different people directly affected by the accident; Ava, Marglyn, Leah and Darcy. Ava is the substitute teacher at the high school and is married to one of the towns prominent residents. Marglyn’s daughter, Mary Claire is one of the cheerleaders who dies, Darcy is the mother of the teenaged boy who was driving the other car involved in the accident and Leah was best friends with the girls who passed. Each woman is grieving in their own way and each has secrets they would rather not be revealed to the scrutinizing, critical eye of Worthy’s busybodies. I love when books have an ensemble cast, the birdseye view it provides is always enlightening and appealing to me. It showed how devastating the event was in so many ways for so many people and I was able to empathize with all of them. 

I can see why this is being compared to Liane Moriarty, while this isn’t a traditional mystery there were mysterious elements that reminded me of her books. I found myself most invested in Leah and Marglyn, they both broke my heart. Leah really should’ve been in the car with her girlfriends and you’re left wondering where she really was that fateful night right up until the end. I identified with Marglyn as a mother, the unimaginable happened when her daughter was taken away and that type of pain is something I pray I’ll never experience. How do you move on from the loss of a child?

While this is a heavy subject, there is so much heart as it’s about these women being able to find hope in the face of tragedy. They find a way to keep going, Worthy is nothing if not a town that’s strong and resilient. This was a gripping, emotional read from an extremely talented author who captivated me from the start. I just realized I still have another one of the authors books, The Things We Wish Were True to read so look for that as a TBT pick from me very soon! 

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

11 thoughts on “Review: When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen @marybethwhalen @LUAuthors

  1. Susie | Novel Visits says:

    I hadn’t heard of this one, but like southern stories and those told from multiple perspectives, so I’m definitely intrigued. Thanks for the great review.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amanda @Cover2CoverMom says:

    I love a) Liane Moriarty type books and b) southern small town drama! I live in a small town, and something eerily similar happened here and it rocked our town. 3 girls lost their lives and the boy driving them survived. They ruled out alcohol, but speed was a factor. The driver has since been in trouble with the law frequently… Lots of drama surrounding this story.

    Liked by 1 person

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