Title: Someone I Used to Know
Author: Patty Blount
Genre: Young Adult
Date Published: August 1st, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Goodreads Rating: 4.39
TRIGGER WARNING: Boys will be boys is never an excuse.
It’s been two years since the night that changed Ashley’s life. Two years since she was raped by her brother’s teammate. And a year since she sat in a court and watched as he was given a slap-on-the-wrist sentence. But the years have done nothing to stop the pain or lessen the crippling panic attacks that make her feel like she’s living a half-life.
It’s been two years of hell for Derek. His family is totally messed up and he and his sister are barely speaking. He knows she partially blames him for what happened, and totally blames him for how he handled the aftermath. Now at college, he has to come to terms with what happened, and the rape culture that he was inadvertently a part of that destroyed his sister’s life.
When it all comes to a head at Thanksgiving, Derek and Ashley have to decide if their relationship is able to be saved. And if their family can ever be whole again.
How are you all?
***I received an ARC of this bookvia Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. This does not influence my review in any way.***
Disclaimer: I was triggered when I read this book. And because of that, I cannot guarantee that this book will be “curse-free”. If you are uncomfortable reading curses, I apologize in advance. This book has a sensitive topic, which is rape. If you are uncomfortable talking about that too, you are free to not proceed and read the review. Please read at your own risk.
Let’s get started.
This book is about two siblings who are trying to recover from a traumatic experience, an experience that scarred their bond as brother and sister. One feels hate towards the other, and one feels guilt. Both are willing to do anything just to forget what happened. They will test if blood in indeed thicker than water.
Okay. Where do I even begin???
Let’s just skip first thoughts because I can’t remember my first thoughts about this book.
When I started reading this, I was immediately sucked inside the world. I immediately felt the feelings Ashley, the rape victim, felt. It was around the 2nd chapter where the triggers started. I don’t know what to feel! And the feelings I’m feeling, I don’t know where to put it.
Ashley hated her brother, Derek. She said he was one of the reasons she was raped. But Ashley blamed him for other reasons. I understand Ashley’s side. Not being a rape victim side but the side where it’s hard to recover from a traumatic experience. I know that feeling so well; that feeling where when you experience a very traumatic experience, it’s very hard to recover and move on from that. She’s healing. And she needs all support she can get even though she kind of feels like she’s alone. She feels like there’s no one who truly understands her. And that alone is a struggle. Dealing with your own emotion, your own self, is already a struggle. Add to that the uncontrollable emotions, like anxiety and fear, is another level of struggle.
When it is already difficult to deal with yourself, what makes you think it’s easier to deal with other people?
And there’s Derek, Ashley’s older brother.
I don’t know why but my initial feelings I had towards Derek’s character was not hate but curiosity. I want to know why he’s involved in his sister’s rape. And when I found out about it, bes, I almost hurl my phone. I was that triggered. I understood Ashley’s rage towards him then.
In a way, I understood why Derek wants to have some of his own “Me” time and own stuff to do that is not shared with Ashley. However, what I don’t understand is the way he handled getting it. Ashley was attached to Derek; they were close when they were little. And so when Derek started pulling away from Ashley, of course Ashley would cling even tighter because she thought that she’s not wanted anymore. Derek just got his approach wrong.
When Derek started showing signs that he wants to change, like he really was sorry for what happened to his sister, that he is willing to do anything, as in disappear from Ashley’s life, to help his sister, I felt somewhat proud of him. He was so ready to be out of Ashley’s life just for her to recover.
I have one issue though. I feel like their parents kind of blame Ashley too. It does not say but that’s what I’m feeling. Especially when the mother explained that Derek sure deserves some of his own time and do his own thing. However, why did they not explain these things to Ashley when they were little?
Derek loves playing football with their daddy. And Ashley who wants to do everything with Derek also wants to play football. But their dad won’t allow it. So why not explain to Ashley that she is not allowed to play football because it’s what Derek wants to do and there are things that Derek wants for himself that he doesn’t want to share. Is that so hard to do as a parent?
Maybe one of the reasons why Ashley felt like Derek doesn’t want her anymore is because of the lack of guidance from their parents. They did not let Ashley understand that Derek and her are two different people and that there are things that one wants to do without the other and accept those reality.
This book is the only book that made me cry every time I read it. And I mean every time. When I reach halfway in the book, I started crying. And when I reach the end, I’m still crying. This book hit me with so many emotions I needed to let some of it out because I felt like I’m close to explosion. This is so heavy!
I love that this book hit all the crucial parts of reality about society and rape culture. I love that this book talked about something as sensitive as rape and give readers lessons about how to deal with it and what is what around this stuff. I want to commend the author, Ms Patty Blount, for being so brave in writing about a topic like this.
The ending of this book is what made me cry real hard. I had to put my phone down to recover from that feels. I’m not gonna talk about the ending to avoid spoilers. But know that I cried cats and dogs after reading the last chapter before the epilogue.
To wrap this up, this book is seriously amazing. I love reading books that has sensitive topics even if it’s fiction. It says a lot about the author, writing books like this. They are brave and they see the harsh and cruel reality of the world. And they use books to open our eyes and see those as well. I totally recommend this book, bessies. I just want to warn you, there are a lot triggering situations here. This book should come with one, so consider this a warning. But if you are not comfortable reading about sensitive topics as rape, then please don’t force yourself to read.
Patty Blount grew up quiet and a bit invisible in Queens, NY, but found her voice in books. Today, she writes smart and strong characters willing to fight for what’s right. She’s the award-winning author of edgy, realistic, gut-wrenching contemporary and young adult romance. Still a bit introverted, she gets lost often, eats way too much chocolate, and tends to develop mad, passionate crushes on fictional characters. Let’s be real; Patty’s not nearly as cool as her characters, but she is a solid supporter of women’s rights and loves delivering school presentations.
Patty is best known for her internet issues novels, including SOME BOYS, a 2015 CLMP Firecracker winner and SEND, a 2012 Junior Library Guild Fall Pick. Visit her website at pattyblount.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter. She blogs at YA Outside the Lines and is also active online. She loves hearing from readers, especially when they tell her she’s cool (even though she knows it’s not true), and is easily bribed with chocolate. Never underestimate the power of chocolate.
What are your thoughts, bessies? Have you read this book? Let’s talk in the comments!
Thanks for reading up to here, bessies! Love you all!