This Might Hurt a Bit

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

Kirby lost his sister a year ago to cancer, and he still hasn't allowed himself to grieve. He has pulled away from his parents and life in general, writing in his journal every night as he falls asleep watching Die Hard. One night, Kirby and his friends P.J. and Jake decide to go to a random farm and paint the cows. Unbeknownst to them, they end up painting the cows belonging to the school "bad boy's" father, which sets off a crazy chain of events that will expose some secrets and emotions that have been hiding for some time. The boys find themselves in quite a bit of trouble and have to think quickly to get themselves out of it. Through the fighting, trouble, and humiliation, Kirby will have to come to grips with his sister's death, learn how to grieve, and continue to live his life to the fullest.
I thought this was a good picture of how some people grieve, and there were definitely some crazy and funny moments. I didn't care for the profanity, and the way substance abuse was dealt with was not acceptable. The fact that a school authority figure would get away with smoking pot on campus is awful, and Jake's opioid addiction was not dealt with properly, in my opinion. He was allowed to get away with it, which also enabled him to continue abusing the substance and himself. Though the ending was okay for Kirby and his grief, I feel like Jake and a couple other characters got the short end of the stick, and there were quite a few ends left untied. I say this knowing that my opinions are probably in the minority, but I would have a hard time recommending this book because of these issues, which is a shame because there needs to be more boys' young adult fiction. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. A positive review was not required, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.
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I loved this story and the realism that went with it. It did not feel like a forced high school story and I was giggling at parts as I was reading it.
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Thanks Net Galley for the preview copy! 

I really wanted to get hooked by this book but I had a hard time relating to Kirby.  I don't know if it was the timing, the characters, or the premise but I could not connect.  I found the idea that everything is happening in one long school day with some flash backs a little rushed but also not super believable.  It seemed like the details were crunched or just logistically would not fit into one day.  Kirby was supposed to be going through the anniversary of his sister's death but that didn't feel like the focus of the book.   This was a little misleading because the description leads the reader to believe this book is about grief.  I think the bullying was excessive and borderline gory.  Stapling someone's arm, hitting someone violently with a tray and of course making the boy wear a dress.  I couldn't understand the lunch scene and the handcuffing of a student who then blackmails his way out of trouble.  I think if the book was marketed as a story about boys getting into trouble and not as a grief book I would not have requested it.  I think the writing needed some more organization and maybe a look at the timeline.
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Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for providing me with an early copy of this book to review! I'll admit, I the book description intrigued me. However, the actual book happened to be wildly different from my expectations. Overall, I thought the book was going to be more focused on the way that Kirby struggles with his sister's death. However, it just focused on Kirby trying to get away from bullies at school, with some flashbacks thrown in.

I'll start with the good: there are a lot of funny lines in this book. Kirby's voice is unique; while it's difficult to follow his train of thought at times, he's overall a funny guy. He tries to make light of what's happening to him, despite the fact that he's struggling more with his sister's death than he's letting on. It's this suppression of emotion that felt the most real to me throughout the book. Kirby doesn't want to talk about it, with anyone.

For me, the timeline of the book wasn't quite believable. Everything here happens within a day. But it feels like Kirby's in school a lot longer than he should be. There's all this time between classes where bullying happens. Overall, the events don't seem like they add up to a single day. The events would have made more sense if they spread out over a series of days, instead.

The other thing that bothered me was the little time that was spent on Kirby dealing with his sister's death. This book is being promoted as a book that deals with grief. But, we don't get much of that actually within the text. Just small scenes here and there. I would have liked seeing this theme explored more through Kirby's eyes.

Overall, despite the funny moments in the book, This Might Hurt a Bit left me feeling a bit lukewarm about the story.
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Thanks to Net Galley for the ARC. I have been reading this in fits and starts for about a month. At first I just blamed laziness, but I realized that the book spun out of control and I just couldn't get back into it. I thought Kirby had some genuinely funny lines and I laughed out loud a lot. As the book progressed though, I realized it was essentially a YA version of Alexander's rotten, no good very bad day. The whole book happens in essentially one day with heavy dose of flashbacks and fantasy. That would be OK on the surface, but it just becomes too much to believe and the fact that at the end,well, I will avoid spoilers here, but I just thought it was a bit too off message. I liked the message of the book up until the final moments between Kirby and Mark.
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