Some boys go too far. Some boys will break your heart. But one boy can make you whole.
When Grace meets Ian she's afraid. Afraid he'll reject her like the rest of the school, like her own family. After she accuses the town golden boy of rape, everyone turns against Grace. They call her a slut and a liar. But...Ian doesn't. He's funny and kind with secrets of his own.
But how do you trust the best friend of the boy who raped you? How do you believe in love?
◆ An ARC was provided by Sourcebooks for review ◆
This is a really hard book to review. I appreciate the content matter and the brutal honesty with which Patty Blount delivers Grace's story. This is a story that needs to be told. Too often, we hear about such stories, and the majority are too often silenced, their stories going untold because they're told that they deserved what happened to them. Some Boys gets dark and gritty tackling the subject of rape and bullying. Reading this, I felt dirtied by all the things people do. As in oh-my-gosh-I-cannot-believe-this-is-all-happening and this-is-so-wrong. So. Many. Things. Happen. Finishing the book, I felt hollow and sad inside.
At some point in the story, Grace comes forward and accuses the boys of her school of believing that women seduce them because of the clothes they wear with words like "you're giving me a hard on." While I don't necessarily agree with how she goes about doing this (it's a really on-the-spur-of-the-moment rebellious action than a thought-out plan of action—nothing really comes out of this), it's important to think about. Yes, us girls are told to watch what we dress, and oftentimes we do heed such advice. Why is it that we worry? Because of stories like Grace's. Because we don't want to attract the wrong kind of attention. (Note: While I believe we shouldn't be afraid to wear what we like, I also believe that there are ways to dress nicely without stepping into provocative, and we shouldn't put ourselves out there just because we want to assert a "right." There is such thing as misuse of a "right.")
Slut shaming girls who like to put their sexuality on display is a bad thing. Guys and girls who sleep around typically garner different reputations. And even if a girl did lie about a guy raping her and even if we believe someone did something wrong, there is no excuse for bullying and victimizing that person. What people do is on them, but what we say and do—we hold responsibility for that. This book is a sad reminder that people don't often think about the moral consequences of their actions, much less the potential terrible consequences it can have on the victim. Not just students but even teachers and her own parents believe that Grace did something that needs apologizing! It gets so bad that Grace goes so far as to drink away her sorrows and even ponders suicide.
Beyond the message of the story, the writing didn't work for me. The execution is poor. The story is told in dual first-person narration with Grace and Ian's perspectives. The transitions are rough and sometimes even overlap. While it may be important to understand what each person is thinking at a specific point in time, a better way to do this would be to show the next narrator's reaction following the interaction. That way, the reader doesn't have to read through the same scene twice, something I really loathe doing.
I also never really felt like I got to know the characters. On some level I do, but in the way that I can recite facts about a person. I know the characters' relationships with the various people in their lives, but I don't really know the context behind it. Like—Grace and Ian crushed on each other in the past, but where did it all start and why do they still like each other now? And why do Grace and her stepmother not get along (a little more understandable but not entirely clear)? And, better yet, why doesn't Grace's dad spend more time with her? Mostly, what I did get from the narrators are their thoughts and fears, things that we can learn in the moment. I like how their families play an active role in their lives and appear multiple times, but the family angle could use more working, as I don't feel like we got to really understand them.
Grace and Ian's relationship felt rushed. Grace is afraid of boys, yet she somehow lets Ian get close enough for her to begin to open up. I didn't really see this happening over a week of cleaning lockers because they both land in the principal's office, albeit for different reasons. And, okay, I really really loathe Ian. He starts off a total douchebag, and I totally understand why his father is disappointed in him. (His father is totally my favorite character. He's so nice to Grace.) And maybe understand why his father feels like yelling at Ian is the only way to make it inside Ian's thick skull. It takes Grace getting into his face multiple times for him to reconsider the way he views his friends, and even then he hates her for making him wake up and face reality and wavers too long before taking a stance. In fact, it takes discovering solid evidence for him to believe her and stand up for her. Seriously? I don't know how they got together.
Don't make me start on the guy that raped her and the friends that betrayed Grace to take his side. And the lacrosse team.
Speaking of, I'm not happy with how the book ended. While I do believe in the power of forgiveness, especially in healing the one who was wronged, Grace doesn't give us her motivations for accepting the apologies of the people who do so. And we aren't given reasons for the sudden changes of heart that take place at the end of the novel.
While there is poor execution and character development, I do believe there is some worth in reading this book for the topic matter. And overall it isn't a bad read. It's just really emotionally draining. If you're a sensitive reader, however, I would stay away from this book. A lot of horrible things happen in this book.