Monday, October 7, 2013

Review: The S-Word


Title:   The S-Word
Author:   Chelsea Pitcher
ISBN:   1451695160
Release Date:   May 7th 2013
Publisher:   Simon and Schuster
Book Source:   NetGalley


Goodreads Synopsis:

First it was SLUT scribbled all over Lizzie Hart’s locker.

But one week after Lizzie kills herself, SUICIDE SLUT replaces it—in Lizzie's looping scrawl.

Lizzie’s reputation is destroyed when she's caught in bed with her best friend’s boyfriend on prom night. With the whole school turned against her, and Angie not speaking to her, Lizzie takes her own life. But someone isn’t letting her go quietly. As graffiti and photocopies of Lizzie’s diary plaster the school, Angie begins a relentless investigation into who, exactly, made Lizzie feel she didn’t deserve to keep living. And while she claims she simply wants to punish Lizzie’s tormentors, Angie's own anguish over abandoning her best friend will drive her deep into the dark, twisted side of Verity High—and she might not be able to pull herself back out.

Debut author Chelsea Pitcher daringly depicts the harsh reality of modern high schools, where one bad decision can ruin a reputation, and one cruel word can ruin a life. Angie’s quest for the truth behind Lizzie’s suicide is addictive and thrilling, and her razor-sharp wit and fierce sleuthing skills makes her impossible not to root for—even when it becomes clear that both avenging Lizzie and avoiding self-destruction might not be possible.


Review:

Welcome to another book that surprised me completely. I'm still not sure how I feel about it, but we'll see how it goes now as I share my thoughts.

My initial impression when I first started reading this book, or at least the first thought that came to mind after I read the synopsis, was that this book was a journey to recovery. I assumed it was about Angie getting over the death of her best friend, getting over her guilt for ostracizing her without finding out what was really happening to Lizzie until the moment she decided to kill herself. I assumed it was something like Saving June by Hannah Harrington or Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (I haven't read that book but I heard of it.) However, that was completely wrong. Sure, Angie wants to completely understand who led her ex-best friend to kill herself, but she's doing it with a forceful vengeance as well as launching a revenge plan. Angie is so destroyed by the loss of her friend, she no longer distinguishes between what's right and what's wrong. She no longer draws lines. Everyone is a suspect, everyone caused her friend to take her own life, even the unlikely people she never thought of.

This story is told in three different ways. Two of them is by Angie herself, talking about what's happening right now, as well as going back in flashbacks from the past to explain certain events. The last part is read through diary entries by Lizzie herself before she died. Lizzie who was in love with someone with blue eyes and brown hair. Lizzie who always put everyone else before herself. Lizzie the angelic innocent princess that could do nothing wrong. Lizzie who in one night turned from the virginal queen to the scheming Slut. Many people were mentioned in the diary, many people had a role, but who really did her in?

Was it Kennedy the original holder of the 'Slut' title in Verity High, and actively hated Lizzie?
Was it her consorts Cami and Elliot, the airheaded cheerleaders that would follow Kennedy through anything?
Was it Shelby, the girl whose lead role was taken by Lizzie herself even though she felt she more than deserved it?
Was it Jesse, the strange Mexican boy everyone seemed to pick on?
Was it Marvin, the boy next door who was in love with Lizzie and was affected by her sleeping with Angie's ex?
Was it Drake, Angie's ex-boyfriend who everyone thought Lizzie was secretly in love with?
Was it someone Angie would have never thought of?
Or was it Angie herself, for not standing by her best friend after one mistake even when it was her first and only one?

This book gave me goosebumps, seriously. I was in emotional upheaval the entire time. There were so many surprises popping up, so many secrets left to the very end, and so much frustration whilst trying to figure out what Angie was going to do next. What was Angie's big plan? How was she going to make them all pay? Would she stop if it meant she could lose another friend if she followed through with her revenge tactics?

This book was good, it really was. But there were times where I felt the story was going on mainly by making Angie go back and forth between characters, it felt so ridiculously childish and just a waste of times. It was something akin to pointing fingers, 'she did it' , 'no, he did it!', 'no, she did it', 'no, he did it'. That part really annoyed me. Angie's character was also a bit unbalanced, very unstable and volatile. But I liked how every person mentioned had these hidden characteristics that kept them under suspicion. It gave me a One Moment by Kristina McBride feel. Only it was all twisted around and very strange.

All in all, a very good read, well written, but be forewarned it is extremely emotional and crying is very very possible.

Rating: 4/5

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