Saturday, August 11, 2018

Someone I Used to Know by Patty Blount Blog Tour

From the award-winning author of Some Boys comes an unflinching examination of rape culture that delves into a family torn apart by sexual assault.

It's been two years since the night that changed Ashley's life. Two years since she was raped by her brother's teammate. And a year since she sat in a court and watched as he was given a slap on the wrist sentence. But the years have done nothing to stop the pain.

It's been two years of hell for Derek. His family is totally messed up and he and his sister are barely speaking. He knows he handled it all wrong. Now at college, he has to come to terms with what happened, and the rape culture that he was inadvertently a part of that destroyed his sister's life.

When it all comes to a head at Thanksgiving, Derek and Ashley have to decide if their relationship is able to be saved. And if their family can ever be whole again.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Someone I Used to Know is a story about Ashley and her brother Derek. Two years ago, Ashley was raped by a member of Derek’s football team as part of a team scavenger hunt. In the now, Ashley is burdened with anxiety, flashbacks, and coming to the realisation that the justice system didn’t really provide any justice. Her once close relationship with Derek is in tatters and her family is falling apart. Derek has now moved interstate to attend college and is struggling as he starts to realise how his own behaviour contributed to the rape culture in his world.

This story is a confronting depiction of rape culture and how this horrific crime effects the victim, her family and friends, and the wider community. At the beginning of each chapter we get an excerpt from Ashley’s Victim Impact Statement and they send a strong and clear message of the horrible time Ashley is going through and you can only wonder how anyone could blame her rather than her rapist for the crime and the fallout from it.

We get the point of view of both Ashley and Derek, told in the now and in the past. We learn about the year that the rape happened, the events leading up to it. We also get snippets about Ashley and Derek’s past that show us that the tension between them now is not just about the rape.

I went through many emotions reading this story from sad, upset, helpless, furious. In the end, I was proud of Ashley and Derek and I was left with a feeling that there is something we can all do to change the culture we live in. The issues raised in this book had me thinking about my own experiences in a different light and if it can do that for a 40-something woman who considers herself a feminist, imagine the impact it could have on the teenagers who are the target audience. 5 stars.

5 Riveting Stars

To be honest, I'm not entirely sure how to review Someone I Used to Know. The novel is a journey showcasing rape culture, done so with intelligence and maturity, yet written in an age-appropriate manner befitting the narrators. The author left no stone unturned, revealing every facet from just about every angle.

Multilayered, told far in the past, two years ago, one year ago, and in the present. The author needs to be applauded for revealing the after-effects rape have on an entire community, the school, and a family, not just the victim, all wrapped up in an easy to digest package.

On the surface, Ashley and Derek appear to be working on themselves, but it's a forward momentum to repair the damage to their strained relationship as brother and sister, something that was harmed initially by how their parents felt it easier for the big brother to entertain the sister vs raising and entertaining her themselves.

When the hero not only lets his sister down, but leaves her open and vulnerable to harm. The brother and sister were compelling, proving perception is reality. How they view the situation is tainted by their experiences and not anything how others around them view it. I believe it's important to imprint this into memory and remember it when interacting with others in our everyday lives. While we may feel right from our stance, they don't view the world as we do, and they are also right from their own stance.

The events that happened didn't feel sensationalized or exploitative – organic, easily seen as something that could unfold, especially when dealing with the mob-mentality of a team in a high school, a community that is sports-minded, and a society that believes sex sells. Truly, the author hit every note, the psychology of every viewpoint.

The author explores the dynamic of how rape and rape culture affects not only the victim, but her family, the community, and the strain this places on all the individual relationships and on a whole. The guilt, the shame, the powerlessness isn't only held by the victim, but everyone involved. Their lives have been knocked off their axis, each and every one of them. Everyone rallies to comfort and help the victim, not realizing they too need help processing and moving forward with this new reality.

Do I believe this is a novel for everyone? Yes and no.

Yes, I believe it's something everyone should read.

The reason I also say no is simply due to the fact that while I found it riveting and poignant, and I'll truly never forget it, the entertainment value is not that of a fictional read and it may not suit everyone. I don't want someone to pick this up and assume it's a linear novel, slowly telling a fictionalized story.

We all learn differently. While some are adept at picking up subtle suggestion, others may not enjoy being hammered in the face page after page with no reprieve. This novel is very present and forward, the sole focus the subject matter. That's why I say yes and no, as it involves the individual and what may or may not trigger them.

With that being said, I highly recommend and will be checking out the author's backlist, applauding the maturity and insight within the writing.

Young Adult age-range: 14+ plus due to content.

Powered by way too much chocolate, award-winning author Patty Blount loves to write and has written everything from technical manuals to poetry. A 2015 CLMP Firecracker Award winner as well as Rita finalist, Patty writes issue-driven novels for teens and is currently working on a romantic thriller. Her editor claims she writes her best work when she’s mad, so if you happen to upset Patty and don’t have any chocolate on hand to throw at her, prepare to be a subject of an upcoming novel. Patty lives on Long Island with her family in a house that sadly doesn’t have anywhere near enough bookshelves… or chocolate.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Someone I Used to Know by Patty Blount to read and review for this tour.

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