The Way it Hurts

Patty Blount
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Jul 2, 2018

Elijah Hamilton, the lead singer of his buddies' teen metal band Ride Out, has an image to uphold. But when he's dragged to a local musical, he meets Kristen Cartwright. He knows that she's the powerhouse who can simultaneously save his band and kill his hard rock reputation, so he promises the rest of the band to keep their relationship strictly professional, no matter how hard it is.

Kristen wants to be just like her grandmother Etta, an overly extravagant, extremely confident performer. Etta recommends that singing with Ride Out is the edge that will impress future colleges. Sometimes, she agrees, but sometimes she doesn't. But when she sees the softer side of Elijah, caring for his autistic younger sister, she begins to wonder if he's only what meets the eye.

Elijah and Kristen are very avid users on social media. They have fought publicly online, but only behind their respective screen names. Eventually, the arguments, comments, harassment and praise from Twitter meets them face-to-face in real life; and they struggle to go through it all together.

First off, I thought the cover and the title were very misleading. It made it seem like a serious mental health novel rather than a novel centered around music (two very different styles of music, at that). Also, the cover only depicts Kristen, but I think Elijah should appear somewhere on the cover as well. This book could easily attract male and female audiences, but the cover doesn't seem to reflect that.

As for the plot, It was very attention-grabbing and the characters continued to develop through even the epilogue, which was really exciting to follow. It wasn't "slow" or "uneventful" at any points. It also was not cliche or predictable like a lot of YA romance novels seem to be. I also liked the alternate narrations, and the detail that went into everything from the tweets to the lyrics. It's just an overall well-written book.

In conclusion, I could tell this wasn't a 60 year old YA writer who posts on Facebook about her cats now and then. Patty Blount really captured the characters and I felt as though it was an actual narration of high school seniors. Though the issues presented through the plot can be argued as exaggerated, I think that violent mobs of fans, the harassment, and sexism in the music industry are all extremely real. This book puts them in the spotlight, front and center (no theater pun intended).

I recommend this book for anyone from about 14-18 or 19. There is some strong language and *references* that anyone younger won't understand, and anyone older will find offensive and/or immature.

Also, If you are an aspiring Broadway star, a hard-rocker, or anyone who just likes music, this book is for you. Everyone of all genders and backgrounds can rock on to this jam!

Written by
Lexi from Blue Valley Library YAAC

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