The Way It Hurts

From the award-winning author of Some Boys comes a new ripped-from-the-headlines story about the unthinking backlash of Twitter culture

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.

When I read the synopsis I was intrigued right away because I recently dealt with my own issue of being trolled online and it amazed me how different men are treated versus women. I had someone post a pic of their 9mm and my parents address but neither Facebook nor the police took my fear of this seriously or understood how I could feel threatened, seriously? I completely bonded with the female character and her fear of what was being done to her and felt the author did a great job in capturing the accuracy of what people say online, do in real life and how men seem to brush off women’s concerns of feeling threatened.

The synopsis didn’t feel accurate though because it made it seem like Eli was this victim who got caught up in the trolling with Kristen but that wasn’t accurate so it took something away once I realized the tone of the story was actually very different. The main characters actually seemed to have cause the social media fiasco they find themselves enveloped in and egg it on until it begins to blow up in their faces. It also seems like most of this book is about the dark side of social media but the first half is just a typical YA / music / want stardom story.

Any readers who are really into the music scene, particularly heavy metal, will enjoy this book as it’s def more about that than social media. It still portrays an important lesson about social media though and the power it can wield for either good or bad depending on intentions. It’s not stable throughout the story though because one minute Kristin is trying to point all this out while Eli is apathetic then Kristen seems to stop caring because Eli flirts with her. It’s not realistic, when you’re being threatened that badly you aren’t going to stop caring just because someone makes googly eyes at you. The author had a real chance to stress safety and how to handle threats but she just didn’t take it.

A huge positive for me as someone who has family on the spectrum was the inclusion of a character with Autism as well as the respectful and realistic way her life was handled including the horrifyingly real possibility of having a loved one put into a restricted home environment.

Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for allowing me to review this book.

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*synopsis and pic from

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