The Way It Hurts

What They're Saying...

Katie McGarry – Author, Pushing the Limits series, Say You’ll Remember Me

“The Way It Hurts bravely tackles teens, social media and how things can quickly spiral out of control.” ~ Katie McGarry, author 

School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up–Music is everything. This is one thing that Elijah and Kristen can agree on. Beyond that, they could not be more different. Elijah is part of the band Ride Out, known for its head-banging, heavy metal, hard rock sound. He dreams of hitting it big and using the money to help his sister Anna, who has special needs. Kristen, on the other hand, yearns to become a star on the Broadway stage. The teens’ worlds collide when Elijah and his friends attend Kristen’s high school musical production of Cats and Elijah cannot take his eyes off Kristen. One tweet about Elijah changes their lives forever as their social media war takes center stage. Amid their Twitter battle, and with her grandmother Etta’s guidance, Kristen decides to join Ride Out. Will it give her the edge she needs to get into a competitive theater program? Or will the teens’ lives spiral out of control as the backlash from their social media war becomes very real? Blount writes authentically; both protagonists’ voices are distinct. The author explores the rapidly consuming world of social media and how it affects relationships online and in real life. VERDICT A relevant read and must-have for all YA collections.–Elizabeth Blake, Brooklyn Public Library

School Library Connection

Recommended – Elijah formed a rock band, Ride Out, with three friends in eighth grade. Now in high school, they are still together and hoping to make it big. Kristen is working to be a stage actor and single-mindedly focuses on achieving success. After hearing Kristen sing in a school musical, Elijah asks her to join his band. Although Elijah works to project a tough rock-star image, one of the main reasons he wants to earn money is to help care for his sister, Anna, who is on the autism spectrum. Kristen cares deeply for her aging grandmother, Etta, who suffers a stroke but is still able to advise Kristen. This book sensitively covers topics such as sexism, handicapping conditions, communication, and ageism. Agency is also shown when Kristen says she wants to pursue studying in a conservatory rather than continue in the band and the three young men acknowledge her wish. Talking about what bothers us rather than trying to guess another person’s feelings is demonstrated through the actions of the characters. The characters’ issues are eventually resolved through hard work and understanding, making this an interesting and informative read. Janet Luch, Educational Reviewer, Adjunct Instructor, SUNY New Paltz, Touro College, Visiting Professor, DeVry University

RT Book Reviews

4 Stars – Blount will draw readers into her latest novel with its social media theme and candid, edgy dialogue. Her storytelling is full of honesty and authentic emotion. Elijah is an appealing musician with a heartfelt dilemma that readers will sympathize with. Kristen is the quintessential theater girl with stars in her eyes. Elijah and Kristen’s personal evolutions through the novel, along with their chemistry, feel as authentic as the conflicts they face. A genuine plot filled with steady tension that will keep readers hooked.

Musician Elijah Hamilton needs his heavy metal band to get its big break — and fast — so that he can care for his younger sister who has special needs. All Kristen Cartwright wants to do is have a stage career, but she needs to stand out among all the other applicants to get into the theater program of her choice. When Elijah asks Kristen to sing with his band after he is completely blown away by her performance in her high-school musical, Kristen accepts. Not only is Elijah drawn to her beauty, he feels her voice is exactly what his band needs to catch its big break. Kristen’s first session with the band is stellar, and her future with the band seems promising. But tensions arise as Elijah and Kristen are caught in a Twitter storm — one that they both had a hand in starting — leading to unexpected and intense results. (SOURCEBOOKS, Aug., 400 pp., $10.99, 12 & Up) Reviewed by: Melanie Bates

 

Parental Advisory

I’m a parent so I know many of you are concerned about your children’s reading material. That’s why I’m now adding statistics on my website for each of my books. So you can make an informed decision on whether my novels are appropriate for your kid. I can’t tell you that. All I can do is tell you what’s in each book. 

THE WAY IT HURTS contains the following: 

Profanity — Characters use language including fuck, shit, hell, as well as various slang terms like tool, dick, douche

Sexual situations — There is no on-page sex in this story. The main characters do share a kiss. The hero expresses his sexual attraction to the heroine in various ways including innuendo.

Violence — There is a scene in which the hero physically fights strangers trying to hurt his sister. There is additional violence described in various threatening messages sent to the main characters. 

Themes — This story deals with family love, faith, and call-out culture. The main characters families are both intact but struggling to care for members with special needs. The hero’s lack of faith in God is also expressed. Call-out culture, defined as social justice warriors posting their opinions, no matter how insulting, is the main theme presented throughout the story, with the primary message being a warning to social media users to proceed with caution about how much they divulge online.