It's been five years since I clicked Send.
Four years since I got out of juvie.
Three months since I changed my name.
Two minutes since I met Julie.
A second to change my life.
All Dan wants for his senior year is to be invisible. This is his last chance at a semi–normal life. Nobody here knows who he is. Or what he's done. But on his first day at school, instead of turning away like everyone else, Dan breaks up a fight. Because 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. She looks at him like she knows he has a secret. Like she knows his name isn't really Daniel...
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A punch to the jaw wasn't how I imagined starting my first day at another new school, but fate had a warped sense of humor.
As a big jock pinned a skinny nerd to the dusty hood of a Civic, I wondered how I, a guy famous for causing a tragedy, was now the only person around to prevent one. I scanned the parking lot, but it was deserted except for the two guys locked in a tense clinch and me. If I'd left a minute later or gotten stuck at one more traffic light, I could have been just another kid on the cafeteria line, hearing the buzz. "Hey, did you hear about the fight in the parking lot this morning?" Instead, I was the skinny kid's only hope.
Can you say "ironic"? an annoying voice asked in my mind. Suppose you plan to swoop in and save this kid or something.
On a rising tide of panic, I realized I had no other choice. The skinny kid looked ready to pee his pants.
The voice in my head snorted. You're an idiot.
I rolled my eyes but didn't bother saying anything out loud. Engaging the voice in conversation only amped up its determination to annoy the crap out of me.
You have two options, the voice said. Do something or do nothing.
Yeah. Thanks for that probing insight. With a loud sigh, I cursed my luck and the god who took such perverted delight in twisting it. I guess suffering the kind of trauma I had probably caused some mental health issues.
Okay, I amended with an eye roll, definitely some mental health issues. As long as I didn't actually listen to a thing the voice told me to do, I wasn't technically crazy, right? I didn't need help, especially the kind that comes from a little white pill or, worse, a mandatory hospital stay. I had it under control.
Dude, be smart. You break up this fight, you're making an enemy, and you can't afford that, not if you want to keep your secret. Just ignore it.
For most people, the little voice in their heads was the voice of reason, a conscience or something. But mine was more like a mirror that reflected the things about me I wished nobody could ever see. He said to ignore it because he knew I'd want to more than anything else in the world.
Because he knew I couldn't.
"You're a loser, Dellerman! Always were, always will be."
Cruel words, words I'd heard-worse-words I'd used dozens of times struck the kid called Dellerman, making him flinch.
I grabbed the door handle.
Don't do it, man.
Save your breath. We both already knew that I would. I lived with one kid's blood on my hands. I couldn't handle one more.
The jock was built like some prehistoric caveman, all protruding facial bones and muscle. Lots of muscle. He hauled Dellerman off the Civic's hood by the kid's shirt and shook him. The tendons in Dellerman's thin neck popped into view as he struggled. I opened my car door, rehearsing how I'd tell my parents why we'd have to move again after what I was about to do.
You think saving this one is gonna make up for the one you killed?
The words pounded a stake through my heart. I shook it off with a don't-you-get-it laugh. I was hoping to save three, not one. Forgiveness was too much to ask for, and I understood that. But maybe a bit of mercy wasn't. If I did enough good things, maybe I wouldn't spend eternity barbecuing over an open pit in hell. Sure, I didn't want to see this Dellerman kid beaten up, but I also hoped to spare the caveman from the regrets that kicked my ass every damn day.
The caveman would probably not understand my decision to butt in. Okay, he definitely wouldn't understand. But eventually, everybody looks back on the stuff they used to do and winces. For most people, that regret doesn't set in until some milestone birthday, but for me, it happened when I was thirteen and a judge sentenced me to nine months in juvenile detention. I'd regretted a lot of stuff since then.
"I'm saving us all," I said, too loud. Captain Caveman spun at the sound of my voice as I shoved out of my car. He appraised me but didn't release Dellerman. He wasn't as tall as me; I knew he was considering his chances. He didn't know they weren't very good.
"Who the hell are you?"
I shrugged. "Don't worry about it. Just leave the kid alone and I'll leave you alone."
He taunted me with lips curled into a mocking grin and a bring-it-on wiggle of his fingers. "Oh, I'm not worried about you."
He should have been worried. If he had a brain, he'd have been terrified. According to the state of New Jersey, I was dangerous, a menace to the society it had removed me from for nearly a year.
He threw a punch that I easily blocked. I heard running footsteps behind me and spun. A security guard and a teacher were coming for us. I also saw something else.
A girl. Staring at me from the front seat of a black pickup.
Dude, duck. The warning came a second too late, which he'd probably planned.
The fist that connected with my face clinched it for me. God was bullied as a kid.
First rule of engagement: never turn your back on a threat.
I was on my hands and knees on the grassy median that divided the parking lot, my head thick and curdled from being sucker punched, but even that wasn't enough to silence the voice.
When I look inside me for the voice, I see me but yet...not me, not exactly. More like a version of me, the me I used to be at thirteen. All gangly limbs, big feet, and bad skin. I call him Kenny and try to keep him bound to a dark, empty corner of my mind. If I could find a way to gag him too, I'd be psyched. As hard as I fight to forgive myself for what I did to Liam Murphy, Kenny fights as hard to make sure I can't. I figure he's just one more part of God's Wrath Plan I'd put in motion five years earlier when I was thirteen.
"Shut up," I told him, out loud.
That wasn't Kenny's voice. I forced my head up. My eyes blurred and finally focused on three worried faces, four if I counted the one that existed only in my mind. And I didn't.
Like I care.
I squinted up at the most beautiful girl I thought I'd ever seen. I was having trouble focusing on anything but her face.
"What happened?" the teacher had asked. My stomach pitched when I got a clear look at him. He wasn't a teacher. He was Mr. Morris, the freakin' principal. He was the reason I was at school so early. We had an appointment before first period.
Dude, Kenny chuckled. You're so doomed.
"Jeff Dean was going to beat up Brandon Dellerman, but this guy jumped out of his car, walked right up between them, and stopped them. Jeff hit him when he wasn't looking."
Her words somehow penetrated the thick swamp that still choked my thoughts. She saw me jump out of my car? She saw me step between them? If she saw all that, why the hell didn't she try to stop them? She was a girl. She would have been safe from the caveman, and I would still be the nameless new guy.
You don't know that for sure.
True, I was forced to admit. But still. Breaking up fights before the first bell wasn't the best way to stay invisible.
The girl turned back to me and asked with a taunting grin, "You okay?"
Hatred, waves of it, rolled over me, pulling me under. She'd stood there, cool and blond and...and...fucking perfect, watching, just watching. She could have stopped it, could have helped. Instead, she'd done nothing. Damn, she was beautiful, like ice in sunlight. Her eyes, a cold blue with black rims, mocked me from behind trendy wire frames. Gold hair spilled around her face, but there was nothing, nothing but the cold. I hated her, hated her down to my bone marrow for what she'd made me do, what she'd made me risk. Mostly, I hated her because she had no idea.
"I'm fine." I scrambled to my feet, my face hot.
"Mr. Ellison, I want you to go straight inside and see the nurse," the principal said. "Our appointment can wait until after."
Mr. Morris knew about my record. That's why he wanted to talk to me. There was no reason why that meeting couldn't take place. My head and face ached, but I'd live. I opened my mouth to tell him so, but he turned to the cold blond.
"Miss Murphy, show Mr. Ellison to the nurse's office and then come see me. I want to hear exactly what went on here." The principal turned to address other students now gathering around to watch.
I groaned, but it wasn't at the bark of laughter from inside my head or Miss Murphy's huff of annoyance. It was her name. Of course, it would be Murphy. I turned my eyes to heaven and cursed again. I'd met a Murphy at every school I'd attended, just one more daily reminder of the kid I'd killed.
My face heated as Miss Murphy continued glaring.
"You're shaking." She put her hands on me, eyes narrowed, searching me up and down for signs of serious injury, but it wasn't concern I saw in her eyes.
It looked a lot like satisfaction.
Fuck this. Fuck her. As I shoved past, I got a good whiff of her, and my mind blanked on everything except how freakin' good she smelled. She smelled like the beach. Tropical fruit or something exotic. Like sunblock lotion. I loved the beach. Of all the things I'd missed during the months I'd spent in juvenile detention, summer on the water headed the list. Long Island had tons of beaches, another reason I was determined to not mess up this time. Holtsville was the fourth or fifth town we'd tried since I'd killed Liam Murphy.
I wanted to stay here.
Liam killed himself, Kenny corrected, and I sneered.
See, Kenny thinks he's playing me. A few minutes ago, he's making digs that I killed Liam and now it's "Liam killed himself." If I say "up," he says "down." That's what he does. Since the first night I spent locked up, he water-boards my soul. Relentlessly. I knew his game now, so I didn't reply. I couldn't. Not out loud anyway. I was having such a great first day of school; talking to myself would have made it just perfect. Come to think of it, ruining my first day at another new school was probably Kenny's plan all along.
Yeah. I live to serve.
"I'm fine." I shrugged. "Just got the breath knocked out of me."
Miss Murphy's eyebrows shot to her hairline. "Yeah, well, Jeff Dean will be telling a totally different story."
My vision reddened at her taunt. "Oh, I'm sure you'll set everybody straight, since you saw the whole damn thing." I heard her suck in air. Good. I guess nobody ever talked to Voyeur Barbie like that before. I scanned the parking lot's trimmed lawn, tree-lined borders, and rows of parking spots but saw no sign of the caveman. "What happened to him anyway?"
"Security hauled him inside while you were out." Brandon Dellerman answered with a jerk of his thumb toward the building.
I drew myself up to my full height, all six feet three inches of it. "I wasn't out. I was just, uh, catching my breath."
Miss Murphy's smirk warned me she didn't buy it.
"Come on. Nurse's office is this way."
Brandon put out an arm, tried to steady me. I took a step, stopped, waited for him to let go.
"Uh, you sure you're okay?"
I grinned down at him. He was like a foot shorter than me. Even if I wasn't okay, I doubted he'd survive the 220-pound impact if I fell on him.
"I should be asking you that."
He let go of me, shrugged, turned red. "I'm okay. Thanks. For helping and stuff. I'm, uh, Brandon. Brandon Dellerman."
"Yeah, hi. Daniel. Dan."
Kenny, it's not a lie. That's my name now.
You keep telling yourself that, Danielle.
I ignored Kenny. I ignored Miss Murphy, but she was determined to obey the principal's order. As she led me down the first corridor, she shot me a look so cold I was willing to bet it could freeze a nuclear explosion mid-mushroom cloud and still have enough power left over for the fires of hell.
In my mind, Kenny gasped. I braced for his usual spiteful comment, but it never came. That was a first-a profound moment in our history. Because Kenny exists purely to torment me, letting an opportunity go could only mean one thing. He had bigger, more painful retribution planned for later.
Inside the nurse's office, I was anxious to be rid of my escorts so I could talk to Kenny and manage the situation. "Well, we're here." I didn't bother to thank Miss Murphy and quickly turned to Brandon. "Brandon, watch your back. That Jeff Dean guy is dangerous."
The office looked the same as all of the other nurse's offices at all the other schools I'd attended. Posters hung on every wall, warning me to "Drive Responsibly," "Say No to Drugs," and "Pause to Think" before I acted. Another one said this was a "Bully-Free Zone."
I paused to appreciate the irony.
Brandon ducked his head, shaking strands of greasy, colorless hair in front of his eyes, but I could see the fear in them and something else. Something that looked like defeat.
"If you want, I'll give you a ride home after school. Just in case."
Ah, ah, ah. Kenny waved a finger in my head. Did you forget? You're not allowed to be alone with kids, remember?
I gritted my teeth and wished I could forget. Even for just a minute.
Brandon's face paled, his acne standing out in sharp relief. "I'll have my car tomorrow."
I blinked. I figured Brandon for a freshman, but he was at least a junior if he had a car. "Offer's good anytime."
Brandon stared at me, his eyes awed. Nodded.
An older woman, like my mother's age, maybe older, approached me wearing scrubs and glasses on the tip of her nose, carrying a folder in her hands. A name tag pinned to her shirt said she was Mrs. Rawlins. She tossed the folder to a desk, grabbed a square packet, and squinted at my jaw. "Daniel Ellison? Wanna tell me what happened to your face?" She tore open the packet, dabbed a gauze pad on my chin, and a hot belt of pain lashed at me.
"Jeff Dean," Brandon answered for me.
The nurse frowned and nodded, requiring no further explanation. I guess I underestimated Dean's reputation. My breath hissed past my lips when she rolled a brown-tipped cotton swab over my chin.
"This could use some stitches."
No way. My eyes snapped to hers. "Steri-Strips are fine."
Her eyebrows lifted. "I take it you've seen your share of emergency rooms."
Something like that.
"Your shirt's all bloody. Why don't you use that room to change into your gym shirt?" Mrs. Rawlins indicated the door behind her, where another poster warned me to wash my hands during flu season.
The scars. Jesus, the scars. I can't take off my shirt. Shame congealed the blood in my veins.
"You two. Out. Get to class." Mrs. Rawlins had to have noticed the horror on my face.
I knew without looking that the blond was gone. I didn't smell the beach anymore, and I felt cold.
"Have a seat, Mr. Ellison." Mrs. Rawlins indicated a row of chairs by her desk. "Let's call your mom and have her pick you up."
Oh, not a chance. I moved to a chair, taking my sweet time, and planned my next lie.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
.....Where to start? First of all, I need about a hundred more stars to rate this book as high as it should be rated! Next, this book was just amazing. One of the best I've read; and I read a lot! Despite what Dan (Ken) had done, you can't help but love him. He really is a good person, he just can't believe it. His heavy guilt weighs on him so heavily and blinds him to the fact that he's a good guy. It was sad to see him suffer internally through this story. Some parts actually made my heart ache. The constant pain he lives with is awful, but this book is so wonderfully written, you almost feel it. You feel his suffering. This book actually made me tear up (not easy to do!) but, it made me laugh too. I'll probably read it again quite a few more times. The author is fantadtic and this book was amazing!!! Please, please read it. You won't be sorry.
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.
Dan is someone that we can all relate to. At one point or another, we do something that we end up regretting, though that something doesn't land us all in juvie. Since learning that the boy that he cyber-bullied killed himself, Dan has been regretting his actions and trying to atone for them. All he wants to do is fade into anonymity now that he has a new name to hide behind; however, he can't stand by and do nothing when he sees someone being bullied after what he's done. And his actions I feel that there were aspects of the novel that could have been better developed. Dan's speech class seems to play an important role in his life. It is where he makes his first friends, and his group's speech topic plays a role getting Dan and Julie to interact with each other. However, the scenes with Julie are the ones that get the most attention. While I appreciated watching the two struggle to understand their relationship, I also wanted to see Dan interact more with other people. It is stated that he makes two friends in the class, but I never got to know them as people. Two other characters that I wish received more attention are Jeff and Brandon. Dan firmly believes Jeff to be the bully and Brandon to be the victim that needs saving, but their situation is so much more complicated than that. There's a reason why everyone sides with Jeff against Brandon, and I'm still not fully convinced that it's only because of what Brandon said. What impressed me the most is the complexity and realness of Dan's character. While I don't find the actions of the thirteen-year-old him amusing, I can empathize with the eighteen-year-old Dan who struggles to forgive himself. I especially appreciate the presence of thirteen-year-old Kenny (his old nickname) that haunts him, seemingly a demon who exists taunt Dan about his wickedness to the end of his days. In reality, Kenny is just as complicated as Dan and gives insight into Dan's character. In fact, Kenny ended up being my favorite character with Dan himself coming in a close second. I love how the story comes in full circle. Dan got himself in this mess from clicking send, and he moves on by clicking send. Typically, we see the stories of the victims. Rarely does the bully--or former bully--receive much attention in YA lit. While I never could have imagined myself relating to someone with Dan's history, here I was eager to tell Dan that he can't keep on blaming himself, that he has to let himself be happy. Send is a book that I recommend to tweens, older teens, and adults alike.
Send really pulled at my heart, I've read a lot of books and very few have done that like this one has. It has made me think a lot about what I would do in some of the situations Dan is put in. I think Patty Blount has set her bar really high for books to come. Can't wait!! :)
'Send' is a thought-provoking young adult contemporary novel that centers around bullying and the effects it has on all those involved. Interestingly, this novel is set from the point of view of the bully, not the victim. It follows Dan, whose bullying five years ago cost a young boy his life, as well as ruined his own. Dan and his family have been moving from town to town for years, trying to escape his past and start fresh. Dan finally feels like things are looking up when he meets Julie and makes his first friends. But there is more than meets the eye to Julie - almost like she's hiding something. And Dan's new friend Brandon is being bullied to the point where someone's going to be seriously hurt. I found this novel to be a very interesting read, as it goes into the depths of bullying and what harm it causes. It takes into account the way bullying has adapted to the world of technology - where bullying is capable not only in person but online as well. As I mentioned earlier, the story is told from Dan's (the bully) point of view, which is definitely original. I thought it was an honest look inside the heart of someone full of regret, shame, and despair as well as seeing how his actions constantly effect him and those around him. The other characters in the book all fit into the scheme of bullying somehow as well, which shows the immense scope that bullying plays in real life. The author deals with some very serious problems and topics in this novel, and does so in a way that truly makes the reader think. This is a great novel for readers of all ages and one that will leave you thinking long after you finish reading it. Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
SEND takes us to that place where we realize that our intentions cannot always save us from our reality. This is a hard lesson to learn for anyone, particularly for a teenager. My heart simultaneously breaks and soars for the characters in this book. I know that if my future was defined by who I was at the age of thirteen I would absolutely come up lacking. I'm sure I'm not alone. In TOUCHING THE SURFACE I raise the idea that life altering mistakes are meant to later lives. SEND makes me also wonder if sometimes mistakes alter lives--even when we don't mean them to. Blount also explores, as a society, whether we can be intolerant of bullies without becoming the very thing we revile. It can be a fine line. Reading this novel, I was reminded over and over again that while bullying is a problematic issue, so is our tendency to create a one-size-fits-all rule for anything that scares us. While this mentality provides broad bands of protection for most--it also lets many of us fall through the cracks. I'm afraid that we have stopped looking at people as individuals and this creates it's own kind of problems. As you can see, Blount wrote a book that has left me pondering much more than just the incredibly wonderful story between the covers of SEND. I HIGHLY recommend it and I'm looking forward to whatever she writes next.
I've read SEND a couple of times now, and what sticks out to me most is the book's heart. Yes, it's well written, with a conflicted but determined main character in Dan, an equally mysterious love interest in Julie, and conflict coming out the wazoo, but a lot of books have those things. SEND is the story of a boy who, due to a horrible mistake in judgment as a 13yo, spent time in juvy. He came out the other end scarred and repentant, but unsure if he deserves forgiveness from anyone, including himself. As a self-inflicted punishment, he decides it's his duty to stay away from anything that could make him happy-friends, girlfriends, etc-and most of all, to not get involved. His plan falls apart on the first day at a new school, when he has to intervene in order to stop another kid from being beaten up in the parking lot. From there, we follow Dan as he struggles to reconnect with a world that cast him out, and learns that even though forgiveness might be possible, it won't be easy. I ached alongside Dan as he tried again and again to convince himself that, despite the mistakes of his past, he still has worth. I hurt for Julie's confusion, and the bullied kid's trials. I wanted Dan to just wise up, but then I remembered he's a kid, and one whose been through a heck of a lot for being still in high school. Patty Blount does a great job navigating the treacherous pacing waters and keeping the book both honest and intriguing, ensuring that I kept turning pages so that when Dan finally reached a breaking point, that moment that would change him, I would be there breathless alongside him. I would recommend this book to anyone who has teenagers, or has ever been a teenager, or anyone who has ever felt that forgiveness is something that can never be theirs. The heart at the bottom of the angst and conflict is what kept me thinking about Dan and his family long after I turned the last page, and I'd be willing to bet they'll find a way to wriggle into your heart as well.
Honestly this author knows how to write a good story !
A rare look at anti-bullying...from the former bully's view! Blount does a great job at characterization as she shows us the aftermath of a suicide brought about by the lead character's sending a humiliating photo over the internet years before, his punishment in juvie, the effect on his family, and his own refusal to forgive himself even 5 years later.
"Hi," I hesitantly whisper
KeeleyCHMS14 One unforgettable book that covers it all. Send is one unforgettable book. It tells it all. I never thought I was going to like a book from a bully’s point of view. But I was wrong. I liked hearing how Dan recovers after he does something that he will have to live with for the rest of his life, something that he will never forget. Send covers everything. It tells how to deal with deaths, girls, and teenage life and how to make it through high school. It tells how to deal with your life as a teenager when they do something that will follow them forever and make them be forced to move. Send ends with some very important topics. We find out why Dan did what he did and what exactly he did. Dan ends up losing someone that means a real lot to him. As a reader, you find out how to death with problems like that and how to handle them. The story shows how important your parents really are and that you should make sure they stay a part of your life forever. Send shows me what some bullies may be going through. I have respect for some bullies no one knows what they could be going through to make them do what they are doing. After reading this, Dan and the reader deserve more closure.
I could not put it down
Normally books like this are in the victim's point of view but in send we follow the former bully who struggles to live with himself and what himself and what he had done.Dan was a character you have to like from the start ,even though in some parts you just want to strangle him.Oh and who could forget the "the curse" as Dan likes to call Kenny.The anticks of his 13 year old half can make anyone laugh and after awhile he grows on you.everyone has to love this pair.this book could warn bullies away from the wrong path or just be a good book
TALK ABOUT PROBLEMS IN YOUR LIFE NOT THE F U C K I N G BOOK BECAUSE IM THY ADVICE HELPER PUT MY NAME FOR THE TITTLE AND I WILL GET BACK TO U PORANTO
This book deals with some important topics and has left me emotionally drained but it's well worth the read. Dan's experience is a heartbreaking one for everyone involved and while I'm all for crime and punishment, the punishment is null and void when it doesn't fit the crime. This is one of those stories that shows what can happen when we make stupid mistakes but it's also one of forgiveness, mercy and redemption. I have to say that I wasn't happy with the way this ended. After being drug through an emotional pit of hades and back, I felt like Dan (and the reader) deserved more closure.
amazin book guess im just a sucker 4 happy ends