In Patty Blount’s THE WAY IT HURTS, two teens’ quest for fame goes terribly wrong when a single tweet goes viral and the online backlash follows them into real life. Fans of Gayle Forman’s If I Stay will like how main characters Elijah and Kristen bond over their music in this edgy, real world contemporary young adult read that examines the impact social media has on the lives of today’s youth.
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About The Way It Hurts:
Title: The Way It Hurts
Author: Patty Blount
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Pages: 352 pages
Format: Paperback and Digital
Print ISBN: 978-1-492632-788
Digital ASIN: B06XR172ZD
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 snaps a photo of her in costume that he posts online with a comment that everybody misunderstands. 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.
Add to your “Want to Read” shelf: Goodreads
Advanced Praise for The Way It Hurts:
“Blount writes authentically; both protagonists’ voices are distinct. The author explores the rapidly consuming world of social media and how it affects relationships online and in real life. A relevant read and must-have for all YA collections.” – School Library Journal
“THE WAY IT HURTS draws our attention to the joy, heartache and confusing contradictions that arise as we try to find our place in the real world and the virtual one.” – Kimberly Sabatini
“Elijah and Kristen’s personal evolutions through the novel, along with their chemistry, feel as authentic as the conflicts they face. A genuine plot filled with steady tension that will keep readers hooked.” – RT Book Reviews
“This book sensitively covers topics such as sexism, handicapping conditions, communication, and ageism. Agency is also shown when Kristen says she wants to pursue studying in a conservatory rather than continue in the band and the three young men acknowledge her wish. Talking about what bothers us rather than trying to guess another person’s feelings is demonstrated through the actions of the characters. The characters’ issues are eventually resolved through hard work and understanding, making this an interesting and informative read.” – School Library Connection
Elijah took my hands. “Okay, look. Maybe you’re right. Maybe these people are taking this whole battle thing way too seriously. If you’re scared, then we’ll stop. No more posts except for appearance information.”
“So no more battle of the sexes, no more make Kris scream?”
He held up his hand. “Swear to God.”
“Okay.” I sighed in relief. “You’d really do that?”
He leaned closer and repeated the vow. “I promise, Kris.”
And just like that, I forgot why I was mad at him. I couldn’t talk, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t even blink because I was afraid he’d let go. This was the part of him I adored. I clung to him for a long moment, and when his gaze drifted to my mouth, I wondered if—hoped—prayed—he’d finally kiss me.
And then, Etta’s voice suddenly spoke inside my head. “Well, my God, darling, it’s the twenty-first century. What on earth are you waiting for? You can kiss him.”
I could. Yes. Yes, I could just lift my head and lean in and kiss Elijah Hamilton like it was a normal, ordinary occurrence.
Right. Like kissing Elijah Hamilton would ever be ordinary?
I’d watched him kiss that girl at the mall and was sure I’d memorized all the steps in his routine. He’d move in, grip my face between his hands, run his thumb along my jaw, and finally, glide his arm down around my body, pulling me against his own, all the while, peeking through his lashes to see if I enjoyed it.
I wasn’t sure when I decided—even what made me decide. I just touched my lips to his and waited.
It took a second or two. But then there was a sudden, tiny squeak from him, and I felt the pulse in his wrist leap under my fingertips.
And then, his hands were in my hair, angling my head just the way he liked it, his tongue brushing against mine, so soft it might have been my imagination…except imaginary kisses were never so intense. He kissed me like I was a song he wrote, lips wrapped around every word until it hummed with hidden meaning and promise, and his hands held me the way they held his guitar—like the music would stop if he let me go.
Copyright © The Way It Hurts by Patty Blount 2017
When I first found out about this book, one look at the author had me all in. If you are somehow unaware, Patty Blount is the author to a book that I reviewed some time ago called Some Boys. If you haven’t read my review on it, you can check it out here. Some Boys was the first time that I had read anything by Blount, so when I saw that she had written another book seemingly about another important subject — online bullying — I had high hopes.
The Way It Hurts is a story about perception, family, music, love, and discovery. Like I said, it’s also about online bullying and how one, simple “tweet” can spiral out of control even if that wasn’t your intention. The book follows two main characters, Elijah and Kristen, both of whom have a passion for performing. You have Elijah, who’s in a band with his two best friends since middle school, Sam and Nick, willing to do whatever it takes to make it big. Anything to save his younger sister from being put into a facility because of her disability. If there’s anything about Elijah that I love, it’s how much he loves his sister.
Then you have Kristen Cartwright who’s dream is to be on Broadway just like her grandmother. She idolizes her grandmother so much, Kristen tries to emulate her in every aspect of her life. Any advice that her grandmother gives, Kristen takes it and treats it as the Holy Grail of advice. I don’t know how accurate it is that theater “geeks” are often over dramatic about everything, but that was Kristen.
For the most part, I enjoyed the interaction between Elijah and Kristen, their back-and-forth over who’s taste in music is better or who’s more judgmental (spoiler alert: they both are); however, I would have liked to have gotten more detail on Elijah’s sister’s disability. There’s mention of autism, as well as being developmentally challenged in general, but with how Elijah laments his sister’s disability and wanting to keep her at home in spite of how much more difficult it’s becoming to take care of her, I would have loved more detail on that.
Overall rating: 3.5/5
About Patty Blount:
Native New Yorker Patty Blount is the award-winning author of several critically acclaimed internet issues novels for teens as well as a few adult contemporary romances. She is inspired to write by such greats as Judy Blume, JK Rowling, and Gayle Forman. In fact, Judy Blume is the reason Patty elected to write under her real name…so she’d appear on shelves next to her idol. Patty adores writing; she’s written everything from technical manuals to song lyrics (see THE WAY IT HURTS, coming August 2017). Patty wants you to know she loves chocolate…really, really loves chocolate.
When not crushing on actors Gilles Marini or Sam Heughan, Patty can be found sitting in traffic somewhere on the Long Island Expressway, listening to audio books or talking wildly to herself about plots and characters. Prone to falling madly in love with fictional characters, Patty suffers frequent broken hearts when they all invariably prefer the heroine to her… go figure. When she’s not writing, Patty loves to watch bad sci-fi movies and live tweet the hilarity, and scour Pinterest for ideas on awesome bookcases. Patty lives on Long Island with her family in a house that, sadly, lacks bookcases.