Reviewed by Alysia George

A terribly painful past can sometimes only be overcome by escaping it entirely, if only temporarily. This is especially the case if the situation is dangerous and survival depends upon putting distance between yourself and a violent environment. It is important to get away and heal before moving on and creating a new life.

As a teenager, Hannah Benson, the main character in What Happened to Hannah by Mary Kay McComas, was in just such a situation. Running away was her only hope. So she ran and never looked back, at least until she received a fateful phone call from an old flame many years later. Grady Steadman is one of the only good things she remembers fondly from her hometown, and he delivers a message to Hannah that compels her to return to her roots and face her demons.

Hannah’s years of healing are put to the test as she is forced to deal with some major hurdles. She must now decide whether she is willing to make a huge change in her life and become a guardian of her niece. Little by little, she comes to realize that her former life is a thing of the past and that she is strong enough to be in its presence. The question is, is she willing to disrupt her new life?

For some reason I kept reading the title as a question – What Happened to Hannah? But it is in fact a statement – What Happened to Hannah. When she fled her hometown as a teen, Hannah left many questions unanswered for those she left behind, and the story is an explanation, mainly to Grady, of what happened to her. Of why she really left, what became of her, and whether she is now the kind of person to take in a niece who desperately needs her. It is a story of overcoming hardship and learning to love.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Alysia lives in Metro Detroit with her husband and four children. She writes about family life, parenting issues, and other things of interest to her on her blog, Michigal.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by William Morrow Paperbacks. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.