by Patty Blunt
Expected Publication Date: August 5, 2015
Length: 339 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Obtained Via: Bought
View at the Traffic light:
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.
If a girl’s attacked in the forest and no one’s around to see it or hear it, did it really happen?
Out of all the books I’ve read that deal with rape and sexual assault(which I admit is not many) I think Some Boys is my favorite. At first I thought it was strange that a book which centered around rape and it’s aftermath had a title and tagline that focused on the boys in the story instead of the main character, Grace, but after reading, I get it(even if that tag line is still infuriating). I think what makes Some Boys work is that it simultaneously gives a close look at Grace and her thought process while also pushing the camera angle on the entire situation back a little and giving someone else’s point of view.
This book is told in a split POV between Grace and Ian. A few weeks before the book starts, Grace is sexually assaulted at a party and identifies Zac, a popular Lacrosse player, as her rapist. Zac claims that Grace was into it and let him film them, and now there’s a video up on Facebook with hundreds of likes and Grace’s peers start hurtling insults and slurs her way. Ian is Zac’s best friend who happened to miss most of the party and ended up finding Grace and taking her to the hospital, though based upon what he knows of his friend he doesn’t believe that Zac is capable of such a thing. As their luck turns out, both of them get in trouble at school and get sentenced to the same punishment to gain back privileges: cleaning out the lockers at the school over spring break.
As the book progresses, Ian and Grace start slowly interacting with each other. Most of Grace’s chapters include her dealing with what has happened and being ostracized by her former friends. Ian realizes that Grace believe she’s telling the truth, but he also thinks that Zac is telling the truth as well. He finds himself in between the contradicting stories and wondering where the real truth lies, as well as dealing with some lies of his own.
The story of Some Boys isn’t new–it’s in the news every day. What makes this book stand out, however, is it takes all the excuses and sound bytes that are often given to pardon the guilty and blame the victim when the crime is of a sexual nature and dismantles them piece by piece. This is why I came to appreciate Ian’s point of view, even when he frustrated me. Ian isn’t a “bad guy”, and neither are his friends, but the narrative still shows how they can be complicit in these crimes even while never condoning them.
Because it’s not just about what happened to Grace–it’s also about what happened after that. About how pervasive victim blaming in, how so many cultural things play into that, how Grace is ostracized, how nobody believes her in the game of “he said she said” until a guy speaks up. It’s infuriating, but all that parts of Some Boys rang incredibly true. There were a good deal of quotes I highlighted:
“Do the laws against sexual assault not apply to strippers? To girlfriends? I don’t get that.”
“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?”
“Being noticed is fine. But being noticed isn’t the same as being ridiculed, insulted, ostracized, shamed. Being noticed isn’t an open invitation to guys to do whatever they want to me.”
The one thing I didn’t like about Some Boys was the ending. There were parts I thought make sense, but in the end it seemed a little too neatly resolved to really resonate with the novel I had been reading up to that point. I think if the book had ended a little sooner that it did, it would have made more of an impression on me and I would have found it more realistic. That being said, I definitely read Some Boys in one sitting and it’s one of my favorite books I’ve read that have touched on these issues.
I was greatly impressed with the care in Some Boys. I thought the dual POV worked REALLY well in this case as a way to really get to the heart of the matter, even though I was much more concerned with Grace’s story than Ian’s. I’d definitely recommend this one. 4/5 cupcakes.