If We Had Known

If We Had Known

A literary tour de force from the acclaimed author of The Blessings-a riveting new novel about one of the most urgent crises of our time.

One August afternoon, as single mother Maggie Daley prepares to send her only child off to college, their world is shattered by news of a mass shooting at the local mall in rural Maine. As reports and updates about the tragedy begin to roll in, Maggie, an English professor, is further stunned to learn that the gunman had been a student of hers. Nathan Dugan was an awkward, complicated young man whose quiet presence in her classroom had faded from her memory-but not, it seems, the memories of his classmates.

When a viral blog post hints at the existence of a dark, violence-tinged essay Nathan had written during Maggie's freshman comp seminar, Maggie soon finds herself at the center of a heated national controversy. Could the overlooked essay have offered critical red flags that might have warned of, or even prevented, the murders to come? As the media storm grows around her, Maggie makes a series of desperate choices that threaten to destroy not just the personal and professional lives she's worked so hard to build, but-more important-the happiness and safety of her sensitive daughter, Anna.


Engrossing and provocative, combining sharp plot twists with Juska's award-winning, trademark literary sophistication, IF WE HAD KNOWN is at once an unforgettable mother-daughter journey, an exquisite portrait of a community in turmoil, and a harrowing examination of ethical and moral responsibility in a dangerously interconnected digital world.

Title:If We Had Known
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781455561773
Format Type:

    If We Had Known Reviews

  • Erin

    Awww...the human race is so judgmental. The plot is a headline that has become almost normal in our society. A gunman opens fire, kills a group of innocent people and then turns the gun on himself. As...

  • Briar's Reviews

    "If We Had Known" was a unique read that gave me chills.With all the shootings that have been happening, well...everywhere, I was honestly surprised I hadn't seen millions upon millions of books tryin...

  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    If We Had Known is a book that I was not totally sure that I would finish. Why? Because there are several predictable moments in the book that felt a bit too much for me to take. The first one occurre...

  • Jayme

    I wanted to love this book. But, I can only give it 3.75 stars.It was not the riveting novel about one of today’s most urgent crises that I expected..it’s more of a character study. The focus isn...

  • Elaine

    Jeez, this was boring! If We Had Known deals with the aftermath of a shooting by a young man named Nathan who was once in a creative writing class four years ago taught by Maggie. When it is discov...

  • Alesa

    A mass shooting happens at the mall of a small Maine college town. We follow the fallout through the eyes of the English professor who had taught him creating writing four years earlier --and who has ...

  • Michael  Berquist

    “If We Had Known” by Elise Juska is one of the most thematically innovative I have read. The title refers not only to the characters pondering how they could have stopped a school shooting if they...

  • Jessie Drew

    Honestly, it was “okay”. Interesting enough to keep reading but spread out too thin. Taking on the POV of several people involved in the plot created a bit of a messiness and the execution led to ...

  • Tuti

    a wonderful and necessary book. sensitive, literary sophisticated, multilayered writing. a highly relevant, tragic story of our times - a shooting at a mall, actually its aftermath, the way it affects...

  • Roxanne Meek

    Wow! So many layers in this amazing read! Of course there is the (timely) mall shooting that the story is built around, but it becomes such a small part of how this unfolds.... debilitating anxiety, e...