Some Boys by Patty Blount
Published: August 5th 2014 by Sourcebooks Fire
Number of Pages: 339 Pages (Paperback)
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. (goodreads.com)
I have so many thoughts and feeling about this book that it's hard to figure out where to start. As you all know I love me my stories about hard topics, especially when the stories are done well, deal with the topics in all the right ways. I'm happy to say that my first read of 2016, being this brilliant book, was many things, but definitely not a disappointment.
Some Boys is one of those amazing books that don't shy away from the real talk, from shining light on problems we tend to not talk about, because they are not glamorous or easy, not something you can discuss in two minutes and be done with. Unfortunately we live in a world where victim-blaming is the new black, something that can go viral online and destroy someone's life. Of course, not the rapist's life, no, the life of the victim because our society has a cruel tendency to blame woman for "bringing it upon themselves" by getting drunk or wearing the wrong clothes.
There's a very good quote in the book that questions if all the laws we have, if only because you are someone's girlfriend, wife, or a stripper, if that makes rape okay and those laws not apply. Of course it doesn't make it okay, which the book argues. It discusses this by pointing out that women are not property for a guy to play with, that women are human beings with rights and feelings, too.
"The cops wanted to know if I was Zac's girlfriend, if I was drinking, doing drugs, if I ever worked as a stripper, if I ever kissed Zac before that night.What the hell does any of that have to do with what happened?Do the laws against sexual assault not apply to strippers? To girlfriends? I don't get that. (...) He thinks because I went to the woods, drank alcohol, and dressed the way I dress, I should have expected this to happen. That I actually wanted this to happen."
This book picks up this topic and shows the reader all the ways in which rape, victim-blaming and shaming is wrong. We get to see two points of view: that of the victim (Grace) and that of a close friend of the offender (Ian). Because of this dual point of view and the brilliance with which this book is executed, I think it is one of the most important books I have ever read.
Personally, and I know many English teachers would disagree with me (just like my former english teacher definitely would), I believe that books like Some Boys are the ones we should have high schoolers read instead, or along with classics. Books like these are valuable to show boys that acting like the offender and his friends, and the rest of their school, is wrong, and to show girls that backing down, giving up, isn't always the right way, even if it's the easier one. You have to stand up for yourself, fight the damon and show the world that this isn't how girls should be treated in the 21st Century.
"Every guy in school feels so justified calling me a slut." (Grace)"I never called you that." (Ian)"Really? Not once? That's great, Ian, but what did you do when your friends said it?"
Another thing that hit me hard in this book, besides the obvious, was the shaming Grace had to endure because everybody was on the offenders side. Growing up I went through my portion of being bullied, but this takes it to a whole another level. Gossip is cruel and in many cases merely spreads uninformed opinions accepted as truth. Just because the lacrosse star said he didn't do it, well, it must be true then, right? No need to second guess his words, better go and call the victim, aka the liar, a "slut" or "whore".
In Some Boys even Grace's two best friends turn their back on her, take sides with the popular guy, simple because one of them has the hots for him. I don't know about you, but if my best friend would have accused a guy I'm into of raping her, I would definitely change my mind about the guy and not throw away my friend ship for his attention.
But the thing I might love the most about this book is the fact that Grace wasn't a damsel in distress that needed a guy to save her, no, she saved herself. She was strong enough to march into school every day and not run away screaming and hiding. She didn't just give up, didn't "admit" that it wasn't true just to make the gossip stop. Grace stood her ground and fought back. This is important, especially for younger female readers. We need girl to know that they are strong, that they don't need a guy to save them but that they have the strength to save themselves. It's hard but in life, nothing is easy and free.
Grace was an amazing protagonist and I love her dearly. She is strong, smart and a fighter, something we need more in books, especially ones dealing with hard topics. She could have gone down the easy rout, stay silent, say nothing, but she didn't and that is great. I love the fact that even after so many days and weeks passed after the party where it all happened, she still got scared, still had panic attacks. This only made her feel more like an actual human being instead of a one dimensional book character whose only trait is 'victim'.
I also really liked Ian. I loved seeing his mind change over the course of the book, the way he slowly started to process everything, started to realize many things and his feelings, and the way, in the end, he stood up to the challenge and did the one and only right thing. He was an amazing character and I love him. But, he wasn't just a supporting character, as in that his only reason for being the second POV was showing the reader the male view on the topic, no, he had his own problems going on, his own things to take care of. Ian was his own character with opinions and interests.
It's my face. It's my body. I can dress it up or down however I want. Why is that such a hard concept for guys to accept? All that crap Jax said about dressing to be noticed - being noticed is fine. But being noticed isn't the same as being ridiculed, insulted, ostracised, shamed.Being noticed isn't an open invitation to guys to do whatever they want to me.
Something that was amazing to watch, especially through Ian's eyes, was the discussion if, when a girl dresses a certain way, she basically invites attention and thus is at fault for males advancing on her. I love the way his option slowly changed and he realized that maybe this isn't quite right. Just like Grace pointed out, she didn't wear the clothes she wore to get attention or to make guys want her, but simply because those are the clothes she likes and should be able to wear without guys "loosing control over their own bodies".
All in all Some Boys takes the incredibly hard and complex topic of rape and rape culture and shines a light on victim-blaming, shaming, and the general problem that we have with dealing with this topic. I salute Ms. Blount for doing such a brilliant job with this novel and I hope more people will pick it up and read it. Books like this are the reason why I love reading, why I think reading is so important. Sure, fantasy or sci-fi are great genres, but contemporaries like this one, they are important and should be discussed, used by teachers to teach young people about what is right and wrong. I love this book. I recommend it to everyone, even if contemporary isn't your favorite genre, just read it. And I admit, I might have cried/had tears in my eyes so many times while reading this that I legit lost count.
I give Some Boys by Patty Blount 5 out of 5 stars.