Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: August 5th 2014
by Sourcebooks Fire
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?
A gut-wrenching, powerful love story told from alternating points of view by the acclaimed author of Send.
-A copy was provided by Raincoast Books for review-
This was a book that I really wanted in my life. When I read the blurb and saw the issues that it dealt with I thought it would be one that I would definitely love. In the end I can’t say that I was overly impressed with it. While it did deal with some pretty heavy issues, the writing left much to be desired and the split POV didn’t work on multiple levels.
On the surface this sounds like the type of story that I would generally love. Grace is outcast at her school after a party that she goes to where she gets raped by the all-star lacrosse player at her school, Zac. Zac says it wasn’t rape and Grace says that yes it was because she was unconscious. What follows is a frustrating series of events in which Grace is bullied at school and even disbelieved by her own parents and Zac of course goes on with life like the hot shot that he is. I was so frustrated with the people in Grace’s life. This attitude of “well, if you dress that way then you’re just asking for it” seemed to run rampant in this novel. I did appreciate the honesty in this because there are droves of people who really believe that bullshit to be true. Along with this I also liked how nothing seemed to be sugarcoated in the novel, it was hard hitting from beginning to end. I also liked Grace’s willingness to stand up for herself in the face of constantly being shut down when voicing her opinions. Even though I didn’t connect with her character (more on that later) I admired her perseverance.
What I really wished for in this novel was that the writing could be as strong as the subject matter. From the very beginning the POV’s had me cringing. We get the story from Grace’s view and Ian’s view. These two are assigned to clean lockers over spring break and they just so happen to have had crushes on each other for a long time. From the very first switch in POV it was clear to me that I wasn’t going to feel any definition between the two voices and that held true throughout the entirety of the novel. This was a case of it feeling like that author just threw in a bunch of swear words to make the male POV sound more manly, which just so does not work. There were even instances where we got the same occurrence from each character and the second time around the character would talk about something that had happened in the previous POV but had yet to happen in the one that was going on at the time. Not only did the definition and flow between timelines not work for me, but the dialogue also felt incredibly stiff and unbelievable. I never got sucked into caring about any of the characters in the novel because they just felt so unrealistic to me. I had longed for a connection to Grace and to feel her vulnerability but I never did get there.
This is not one that I can recommend to anyone looking for a emotionally charged read. While the subject matter is on point, the writing just doesn’t carry the weight that it needs to to keep the reader fully engaged in the story. I’m sad to have to write this review after really liking Blount’s novel Send, but at least her previous work does leave me with some hope for her future endeavours.
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