Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Trigger warning – rape, sexual assault
Genre – YA
Release date – 1st August 2018
This is not an easy book to read; there were times where I felt so angry, so sad and horrified because while the characters in this book are fictional, the subject matter is not. Rape is something that so many people experience, and it doesn’t only affect the people who were attacked, it can tear apart families, ruin friendships and relationships.
Someone I Used to Know touches upon all of this, and more – rape culture is dissected, toxic masculinity is explored, and all of it is so powerful that it reduced me to tears on a number of occasions.
This book is told from two different view points; Ashley, the victim, and her brother, Derek. Derek, who told the judge in court to “go easy” on his sister’s rapist. Derek, who blamed Ashley for her attack, asking her why she didn’t stay at home.
Ashley goes from idolising her older brother, to hating him, viewing him as one of her triggers. But Derek hates himself enough for the both of them, and that hate only increases as he throws himself into his research regarding rape culture. Derek’s character arc is a total rollercoaster, because his initial responses to his sister were absolutely disgusting, but his current day chapters really showed how much he regretted his actions. It’s not like he just suddenly had a lightbulb moment, though; he continues learning about rape culture as the book goes on, and he makes mistakes along the way. But he’s willing to learn, and he tries incredibly hard to better himself.
Ashley also isn’t portrayed as the perfect, innocent victim; she has her faults, she lashes out at people she loves and shuts them out, even when her family are falling apart around her.
Like I said, Someone I Used to Know isn’t an easy book to read, but it’s worth it. The relationship between Ashley and Derek broke my heart and then made it sing; it was so real. We got snippets of them when they were younger, and how it shaped them as adults, and it really just fleshed them out; this could have been a real story based on real people. I would recommend this book to anyone.
*Thank you to the publisher for providing a free e copy in exchange for an honest review*