Running from a scandal that ruined his life, Isaac Twain accepts a teaching position at Hambden University where, three months prior, Professor John Conlon stopped a campus nightmare by stepping in front of an active shooter.
When John and Isaac become faculty advisors for the school’s literary magazine, their professional relationship evolves. Despite the strict code of conduct forbidding faculty fraternization, they delve into a secret affair—until Simon arrives.
Isaac’s violent ex threatens not only their careers, but also John’s life. His PTSD triggered, John must come to terms with that bloody day on College Green while Isaac must accept the heartbreak his secrets have wrought.
Both John and Isaac had a history they were trying desperately to forget. They both had secrets. Isaac ran from his past and the destruction he felt responsible for. John couldn’t run from his past, but he tried to forget the day that changed everything. Not an easy thing to do when even total strangers consider you a hero. His close friends tried to shield him from most of it, but they couldn’t shield him from what was going on inside his own head.
This isn’t my first Sara Dobie Bauer read, but I’ve gotta say, it was definitely the most emotional. I felt so much for both of these men. They were both victims. Isaac did cause his own drama, but the fallout wasn’t his fault. John wasn’t at fault at all for the shooting that changed everything, but he was racked with guilt over everything he couldn’t do.
John and Isaac were the main focus of We Still Live, but there was so much more to this book. John obviously wasn’t the only one deeply affected by the events that took place on campus that day. Students, faculty, parents, family, even community members were left grieving. There’s no “right way” to grieve, but some obviously handled it better than others. There were some great characters and some not so great ones. Each one added to the story and their reactions made them even more real in a sense.
There are a lot of emotional triggers in We Still Live, but it’s also a story full of hope. It takes a stark look into some really tough issues and the reality is that not everything can be “fixed”, but things can get better with time – and most importantly, with support. This is definitely a book that I’ll be reading again.