Review of The Way It Hurts by Patty Blount

  • Title: The Way It Hurts
  • Author: Patty Blount
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
  • Publication Date: August 1, 2017
  • Pages: 352
  • Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads Synopsis:

There may be two sides to every story, but sometimes there’s only one way to set things right…

Music is Elijah’s life. His band plays loud and hard, and he’ll do anything to get them a big break. He needs that success to help take care of his sister, who has special needs. So he’d rather be practicing when his friends drag him to a musical in the next town…until the lead starts to sing.

Kristen dreams of a career on stage like her grandmother’s. She knows she needs an edge to get into a competitive theater program―and being the star in her high school musical isn’t going to cut it. The applause and the attention only encourage her to work harder.

Elijah can’t take his eyes off of Kristen’s performance, and his swooning face is captured on camera and posted with an out-of-context comment. It goes viral. Suddenly, Elijah and Kristen are in a new spotlight as the online backlash spins out of control. And the consequences are bigger than they both could have ever imagined because these threats don’t stay online…they follow them into real life.

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ARC of The Way It Hurts provided through Netgalley for an honest review.

After reading The Way It Hurts I have now decided that this will forever be one of my favorite books. Patty Blount delivers such an emotional, musically charged, powerful, unique story. I have never read a book like this.

Elijah lives for two things, his band, and his sister. He will do literally anything to get his band notice so he can provide better care for his sister. After the first scene between him and his sister I was immediately captured by his big heart. Elijah’s character has so much more depth than just a guy who wants to be a famous rock star. He is also extremely intelligent and knows exactly what hes doing when it comes to music, though he may not have a clue as to what hes doing when it comes to girls. He tries vary hard to put on a show and hide his true feelings. But its those moments when his defenses are down and he truly express how he feels that makes you fall for his character.

Kristen was an awesome character and filled with as much emotion as Elijah, even with all their differences. She dreams of being on Broadway though it feels like she is looking for so much more. Kristen is confident and strong but watching her being chipped away by online tormentors is hard to bear. She constantly struggles between her feelings for Elijah, the feeling of being on stage, and the internet backlash. She a character that’s easy to empathize with and root for.

The two character that I feel really need to be mentioned as well are Anna, and Etta.

Anna is Elijah’s sister who suffers from autism. Her character as well as her disability is brilliantly brought to life. I’ve never read a book that’s tackled this issue before and I feel like its done that so well. It brings up the issue of home care versus institutional care and how those decisions impact the families of those who are on the spectrum. I don’t have much experience on this topic but I feel like this book helps to illuminate it so that those, like me, who have no experience with this may better understand it. Anna’s a beautiful character who helps make this book something truly special.

Etta is Kristen’s grandmother. She is bright, colorful, force of nature. She made this book special, as well. by providing her over the top theatrics in everything she does. I loved her from the very beginning. Etta is Kristin’s role model and its not hard to see why.

All and all this book had so many different levels to it that makes The Way It Hurts a one of a kind. You have the drama, the romance, the different family dynamics and strong characters. The music choices are a plus for me as well. I love hard rock and love just about every band and song that was mentioned.

A big part of this story is also the impact social media has on us. It gives perfect examples of bullies that sit behind their keyboards and torment people because they are hiding behind anonymity. This book also shows us how, sometimes, those internet trolls can become real life attackers. Again, another dynamic layer to an amazingly written story. The only complaint I have is that the synopsis given for this book does not accurately describe the story. With that said it is a must read for anybody and everybody.

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