Monday, August 6, 2012

Blog Tour: It Only Takes One Click - Send by Patty Blount (Guest Post/Review/Giveaway)


by Patty Blount
Release date: August 1st, 2012
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary (13+)
Source read: ARC

SUMMARY

"To keep his secrets, all he has to do is listen to the voice in his head and just walk away...
On his first day at his new high school, Dan stops a bully from beating up a kid half his size. He didn't want to get involved. All he wants out of his senior year is to fly under the radar. But Dan knows what it's like to be terrorized by a bully - he used to be one. 
Now the whole school thinks he's some kind of hero, except Julie Murphy, the prettiest girl on campus. She looks at him like she knows he has a secret. 
Like she knows his name isn't really Daniel."

"Behind the Bully"
A Guest Post from the author, Patty Blount

               People often wonder how I got the idea for SEND and why I wrote it from the bully’s perspective. The answer to this question is a complicated one – actually, it is an answer with several parts that converged into what would ultimately become Dan Ellison’s story.
               First, let me tell you about my son. When my oldest boy, Rob, was in sixth grade, he broke down in tears one gloomy night in April and told me he no longer wanted to live. To say I was surprised would be the biggest understatement in history. Turns out, he’d been the victim of bullies since the term began the previous September. I had no clue he was being tormented. I had no idea he was even unhappy. He was twelve years old and suffering through an early puberty. His classmates tormented him over his body hair, his acne, his deep voice and made him feel so freakish, he actually believed he was not normal. We got him help and spoke to his teachers and principal and my son finished out the year with no further incidents. He’s now in college but his scars are deep.
               The second contributing factor occurred the following year, when Rob was in seventh grade. I’d left the house early one Saturday morning to run errands with my youngest son in tow. Rob was still sleeping when I left. When I returned to my house, I saw some guy hanging by his fingertips from my living room window. This guy turned out to be the older and very muscular brother of a classmate who claimed Rob was now bullying him. He came over to ‘talk some sense into him,’ which – judging by his confrontational demeanor – was code for ‘see how he likes it.’
               I’ve been a parent for a long time now and I KNOW most of us are oblivious to our kids’ shortcomings and faults. I have seen so much denial in my life but trust me on this – the word ‘disbelief’ doesn’t even come close to describing my reaction. How could the same boy in so much pain barely a year earlier turn around and cause that same pain in someone else? Near as I was able to determine, since the child would not directly address us, Rob intimidated this child without meaning to. Rob is large:  by sixth grade, he was shaving, had reached five foot nine inches tall, which put him about a foot and a half higher than most of his classmates. What he thought was fooling around or playing was perceived as something entirely different by this boy. Judging by the depth of Rob’s guilt after hearing the accusations from this boy’s family, I have to believe he never meant to intimidate or threaten anybody. His despair over this runs nearly as deep as his scars from sixth grade.
               I’d been writing all my life and after Rob’s sixth and seventh grade ordeals, put all that on hold for a while. I picked it up again to write a contemporary romantic trilogy that had been burning in my brain for a few years. I’d finished book 1 and had books 2 and 3 outlined. That brings me to the next significant event – my day job. I write software instruction guides and several years ago, a new executive directed us to start using social media in our work. I didn’t even know what sites like Twitter were. So I started doing the research. I learned not only how people use these sites, but also how they abuse them. And somewhere in the back of my brain, a little voice whispered, “I did that.”
               I became obsessed with the idea of guilt – or more specifically, living with that degree of guilt and wondered how a kid who’d done something without understanding the permanence or the reach of his action could endure such guilt. And that little voice replied, “I’ll let you know when I figure it out.”
               This voice would not shut up. I’ll be honest, he really pissed me off. I wanted to write book 2 in my trilogy, not turn a bully into a tragic hero. It felt wrong – distasteful – disrespectful – even disloyal to my son. I wasn’t ready to forgive Rob’s bullies. I wasn’t sure I could especially since I knew forgiveness would be an important theme in this novel. The idea of torturing this character in effigy did hold a certain amount of appeal. I gave it a shot and found that the deeper I dove into Dan’s story, the more I actually liked him. The duality of Dan/Kenny was a nod to that persistent voice in my own head that compelled me to write this story – sort of an inside joke.

Would you be able to forgive your or your child’s bully? 
After reading SEND, do you think most bullies are like Dan and my son, 
and unaware that they’re causing any pain? 

BOOK TRAILER - Send by Patty Blount



MY REVIEW

This is one unforgettable book. SEND covers it all - 
bullying, relationships between parents, friends and more than just friends, suicide and more. 
It was an emotional roller coaster... 

Patty Blount definitely did her research - she knew exactly how to bring the situation and all of the characters to life. I was a bit hesitant to accept this book for review. Just from the summary, I felt that I had no business reading a book from a bully's point-of-view. I was determined to read it and not like it, and not like Dan. 

I was so wrong. 

Once I found out how old Kenny was when he clicked "send", what his sentence was, what happened to him in juvie, what happened when he got out of juvie and so on, my heart really ached for the boy. Yes, he was a bully. But he was the type of bully where a lot of people, including his parents, probably saw  him as just 'having a little fun with the boys'. Being a boy at 12/13 nowadays is really tough. Some boys stay boys while others hit puberty and are already shaving. And until that growth spurt, a lot of parents still see their pre-teen boys as their little babies and treat them as their typical little boys that should be wearing 'under-roos' and playing sports, rather than listen to them and find out what it is that they are really interested in. 
This book also hit pretty close to home. The setting takes place on Long Island, where I live, and this was the first time that I was reading something that is 5 minutes from where I live. I have driven down these roads and towns on a weekly basis. I have passed by these schools and stores. It was really eerie to read and I had to remind myself, over and over again, that this was not a true story.

SEND has opened my eyes even further when it comes to bullying. It is a reminder on how we should be listening to our kids. They are our children - we live with them, take care of them - it baffles my mind on how some parents really don't see when their child is suffering, depressed or being bullied. I know that some kids hide their feelings. But there are so many clues to pick up on. This was truly an eye-opener for me, even though my boys are still very young, all of this can happen at any age. I get all teary eye and my heart aches just thinking about what all the characters, Kenny, Dan, Brandon, Julie and Liam, went through. No child, or family, should have to go through so much heartache. 

I highly recommend this book, for parents, teachers, schools and children who are 8 years old and up. Yes, the book is geared for 12 and up, and there is some swearing and it gets a bit graphic. But I am quite sure that the 8 to 12 crowd are smarter than we give them credit for. And in this day and age, with computers and so on, it is never too safe to start teaching our kids from what's right and wrong. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Patty Blount

Technical writer by day, fiction writer by night, Patty mines her day job for ideas to use in her novels.
Her debut YA, Send, was born after a manager suggested she research social networks. 
Patty adores chocolate, her boys and books, though not necessarily in that order. 



GIVEAWAY

Enter to win a paperback copy of Send by Patty Blount!
(U.S. and Canada Only, sorry.) 

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2 comments:

  1. Thank you Patty for this wonderful insight "behind" your story. When I saw the topic of your post I was excited trying to find out what made you write such a book. I think SEND was brave and touched some very tough but important subjects! I loved Dan and his story and it was heartbreaking to see!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your comment, Danny. I'm glad you enjoyed Dan's story.

    ReplyDelete

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