It’s been two years since the night that changed Ashley’s life and two years of hell for Derek. When it all comes to a head at Thanksgiving, will these siblings be able to salvage their relationship? 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.
Someone I Used To Know
August 7, 2018
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Format: Digital eBook / Print
Digital ISBN: B07C933LP6
Print ISBN: 9781492632818
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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Copyright© 2018 Someone I Used To Know
Long Island, New York
My sister hates me.
Ashley’s hated me for a couple of years now and it’s okay. I wanted her to hate me and did whatever I could to make it happen. Of course, that was before I knew what hate really meant. Now that I get it, I can’t change it, can’t undo all the shit I did, can’t fix what went wrong. So I suffer.
See, hate is a meaningless word. Everybody tosses the word around like it’s confetti, diluting it, rendering it about as effective as a Band-aid over an amputated limb to describe how they feel about every little thing that annoys them. They hate this song, that food, that person, or this movie. They hate homework, hate their teachers, hate their parents. They hate this team and that game. They hate every damn thing but nobody has even the smallest clue what hate really means unless they’re the object of it.
The focus of it.
Hating somebody is more than you stop caring about them, and it’s more than not wanting to see that person ever again. It’s this need—an urge you can barely control—to make that person suffer. True hate goes all the way down to your bone marrow. Sometimes, it’s glacier cold and infinitely patient; other times, it’s surface-of-the-sun hot and bullet fast.
Ashley hates me in that glacier cold, slow-moving kind of hate. It leaves me permanently frost-bitten and has this really annoying habit of shadowing me around even when she can’t. Like right now—I’m surrounded by flyers. One was slipped under my dorm room door, another was stuck on the exit door of my building, the third was stuffed into my hand when I ordered some breakfast and this one is folded into one of those little tent cards and placed on top of every single table in the dining hall. I’ve been on campus at Rocky Hill University—several states and hundreds of miles away from my sister—for a few weeks, relieved to be away, to be anonymous, to be on my own. Mom and Dad wanted to come with me, set up my dorm room, have the big sloppy farewell like they did when Justin left for college four years before, but I wanted no part of that. I just wanted to be gone. Free. When Dad got the last of my crap into the car and asked if I’d said my goodbyes to everybody, I’d said yes.
But I hadn’t.
I’d tried to say goodbye to Ashley. She held up a hand and said. “Just go.” It had cut deeply, but I knew I deserved it, so I did.
I’d climbed into the passenger seat. Mom came to the front door and waved as Dad pulled out of the driveway. Ashley stood behind her, freezing me with that same cold, dead stare she’d been saving just for me since the trial. I kicked back, happy to be rid of her for the next four years.
And what happens?
Everywhere I look…reminders of her.
The flyers announce, You Can Stop Campus Sex Assault! Blue paper, white text, announcing we’re gonna Take Back The Night.
There’s a huge rally being planned for Homecoming week—Rock Stock here. Because we’re the Rockets.
Of course, it would be homecoming week, because, like I said, I must suffer.
There will be guest speakers and live music and a candlelight vigil for all the survivors of sexual assault. I flip it over to read my favorite part: Are you a guy against rape? Join GAR today!
GAR. I wonder if people say it with a rolling R, like a pirate. Garrrrrrrr.
Oh, and the coach informed us the entire football team would don special uniforms for that game, showing our support.
I crumble up the collection of flyers into a single giant ball and shove my breakfast aside, my stomach churning up acid. I was already planning on being hurt, injured, or maybe both that day.
I glance up into the smiling face of Brittany Meyers, my girlfriend. We actually met in high school but didn’t hook up until we both arrived here. “Hey, Britt.” I sit up a little straighter, shove thoughts of my sister the hell out of my brain. Brittany’s hot in that girl-next-door way. Her long blond hair’s tied up in a loose knot with strands hanging loose. She’s wearing a tank top, shorts and flip-flops and her toes are painted an electric green and my mouth goes suddenly sand-paper dry. Happens every time.
Quickly, I take a sip of orange juice. A big one.
“What’s this?” She indicates my balled up collection of flyers and I shrug. Understanding dawns a second later. “Oh. The rally.”
“Yeah. That.” I rub the side of my face, scratch at the scar near my temple.
“You’re gonna go, right?”
Hell, no. I shake my head. “No way. I’m the last person who should be there.”
She slides into the chair opposite mine, covers my hand with hers and my whole body heats up. “Derek, you’re the best person to be at that rally. You get it. A lot of guys claim they get it and have no clue. But you do.”
I look into her big blue eyes for a minute and finally decide she believes her own bullshit. And then I decide she’s right. I do have a clue. In fact, I have the whole mystery solved. And because I do, there’s no way in hell I’m going anywhere near that rally because I don’t need the entire university knowing I’m Derek Lawrence, the guy whose sister is the Bellford High School Rape Victim.
That’s what the media called her.
Ashley was barely fourteen when it happened. A minor. So her identity was protected. But she took her story public, posting a detailed account to her do-it-yourself website. And she included my role in it. Now, everybody from feminist bloggers to Matt Lauer knows our names.
So, yeah. I don’t want my whole school saying, “Oh! You’re that Derek Lawrence.”
Yep. The Derek Lawrence that played a stupid game that got his sister raped and then told a court of law that to go easy on her rapist. The same Derek Lawrence who drove away and left her standing alone in an empty parking lot, putting the whole friggin’ ordeal into motion.
Self-hatred runs another ice cold finger across my bare skin and I shiver, reminding myself I deserve this…deserve every second of it.
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About Patty Blount:
Patty Blount grew up quiet and somewhat invisible in Queens, NY, but found her voice writing smart and strong characters willing to fight for what’s right. Today, she’s the award-winning author of edgy, realistic, gut-wrenching contemporary and young adult romance. Still a bit introverted, she gets lost often, eats way too much chocolate, and tends to develop mad, passionate crushes on fictional characters…and actors like Gilles Marini….and Sam Heughan. Okay, so Patty’s not nearly as cool as her characters, but she is a solid supporter of women’s rights and loves delivering school presentations.
Patty is best known for her internet issues novels, including SOME BOYS, a 2015 CLMP Firecracker winner and RWA Rita Finalist, and SEND, a 2012 Junior Library Guild Fall Pick. Her upcoming release, SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW, has already been selected as a 2018 Junior Library Guild Fall Pick. Visit her website at pattyblount.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter. She blogs at YA Outside the Lines and is also active on Twitter and Facebook. When she’s not writing, Patty loves to watch bad sci-fi movies, live tweeting the hilarity, and scour Pinterest for ideas on awesome bookcases. Patty lives on Long Island with her family in a house that, sadly, lacks bookcases. She loves hearing from readers, especially when they tell her she’s cool (even though she knows it’s not true), and is easily bribed with chocolate. Never underestimate the power of chocolate.
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