Monday, October 27, 2014

Some boys by Patty Blount

A group of teenagers party in the woods one night, there is booze and one girl gets drunk and walks away from the group, one of the boys follows her and she is found bloodied and unconscious.  She says she said no and that it was rape, he said she didn't stop him and it was consensual - he says, she says and the town is choosing sides.  Grace has spent more than a month in her own personal hell, ever since Zac took her innocence and left her with a reputation as being the girl who cried rape to get back at the boy who dumped her or the best friend that liked him.  Her whole world has titled on its axis as she becomes the social outcast at school, and her father can't even look at her and avoids her to spend time with his perfect new family.  Grace has drawn her defences around herself and refuses to let the ridicule and bullying get to her, but keeping out the hurt can also mean keeping out the support.

When Ian is punished for talking back to a teacher the punishment doesn't seem too bad compared to the alternative - cleaning lockers through spring break is better than missing out on any of the big games, but on the first day he discovers that he will be cleaning out the lockers with social pariah Grace.  Ian loathes Grace, she is the girl who slept with his best friend and then cried rape, just about ruining his reputation.  It suddenly seems like his week of punishment is worse than he thought, but then he begins to realise that there is more to her story than he thought.  As the week progresses Ian and Grace face a roller coaster of emotions and confusion as they both learn more about each other and themselves.

Some boys is a powerful and painful read, powerful because it tackles a difficult topic with style and class, and a painful read because it is impossible to read without connecting with Grace and her pain.  Date rape is a reality that thousands of girls and women face each year, and it is a reality that doesn't end with the act - everything that lead up to the attack is analysed and weighed up to see if the woman "asked for it".  Patty Blount has done an amazing job of presenting Grace as a whole person complete with strengths, weaknesses, and flaws.  Ian is also well rounded and feels authentic as he tries to understand both sides of the story and ultimately has to question himself and his own actions. 

This is not a novel with a graphically described rape scene, most of the action happens after the fact and is focused on the human part of the story - something I appreciated.  A full blown and violent rape scene would have ruined this story and made it less authentic - rape is not always about a person held down against their will and violated, sometimes it is a man taking advantage of a woman who is in no position to actually say the word "no" or who is unable to follow up that "no" with a physical rejection.  There are so many issues here that are confrontating but they are handled well - Grace was drunk does that mean she asked for it, Grace was dressed to be noticed does that mean she asked for it, and she didn;t push Zac away does that mean she accepted it?  

As you would expect with a book like Some boys there are questions in the back of the book which may help with class discussions about the topic of date rape, and they encourage people to look at themselves and what they would do in the same circumstances.  An intense read that stands on its own as a novel in its own right - as well as being a thought provoking read suitable for class reading by older teens.

If you liked this book then try:

  • The mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
  • Sold by Patricia McCormick
  • I swear by Lane Davis
  • Such a pretty girl by Laura Wiess
  • Living dead girl by Elizabeth Scott
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Rape girl by Alina Klein
  • Thirteen reasons why by Jay Asher
  • Scars by Cheryl Rainfield
  • How it ends by Laura Wiess
  • Hate list by Jennifer Brown

Reviewed by Brilla

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