Thursday, 2 May 2013

The S-Word (ARC) by Chelsea Pitcher

The S-Word
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.

The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The S-Word(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Gallery Books and Edelweiss.)
Lizzie is dead. She killed herself because everyone branded her a slut after she was caught having sex with her best friend Angie’s boyfriend the night of the prom. Now Angie is taking it upon herself to work out who led the bullying towards Lizzie, and who is therefore to blame for her death.

When photocopies of Lizzie’s diary then begin showing up in people’s lockers at school, Angie starts collecting them and reading them to try and understand what was going on in Lizzie’s head.

What really happened prom night though? Why was Lizzie with Angie’s boyfriend? And why does Lizzie’s betrayal feel like the biggest betrayal of all?

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this book. First of all, the first word that comes to my mind when someone says ‘the s-word’ is something that sounds more like ‘shi*’ than ‘slut’, so it wasn’t obvious to me what this book was about just from the title, and the cover doesn’t tell you anything either. I very nearly never gave this book a second glance, so to the lovely publishers – you could really do with changing this cover.

Angie feels a bit guilty of Lizzie’s death, partly because she never stopped the girls who were bullying Lizzie, and partly because, as it was Angie’s boyfriend that Lizzie was cheating with, the people were kind of sticking up for her by bullying Lizzie.
Angie and Lizzie were also best friends, and Angie doesn’t understand why Lizzie never tried to explain her behaviour to her, so the investigation is slightly a way to deal with her own questions.

To me this book seemed like a cross between ’34 pieces of you’ and ‘The Super Spies and the cat lady killer’. Angie thought that it was up to her to work out what had happened to Lizzie, and so she started playing detective. I think she knew that Lizzie had committed suicide, so it wasn’t a who-done-it sort of situation, but instead it was a ‘who drove her to it?’ situation.

I liked Angie, but I didn’t fall in love with her. She came across a little immature, and I also wondered why she hadn’t spoken to Lizzie after catching her having sex with her boyfriend. I would have expected her to have had a go at her at least, but it turned out she hadn’t even spoken to her between catching her, and her death. If she had, she might not have had to have lost her best friend the way she did.

The person I felt sorriest for was Lizzie herself. I really didn’t think that she deserved the treatment that she got, but then I guess that’s high-school for you.
The story itself felt a little disjointed to me, and just didn’t seem to flow very well. I did kind-of guess what the twist was at the end, although there were other parts of the plot that I didn’t guess.

Overall this book was okay, but I think it’s probably intended for a slightly younger teen audience. I would probably recommend ’34 pieces of you’ if you want a book about teen suicide, or ‘The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer’ if you want a teen mystery.
6 out of 10.

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  1. Oh I recieved this for ARC so I'm glad you mostly enjoyed it

  2. Hmm. Being in bed with best friends boyfriend for younger audiences? Well, glad you found things to enjoy. Will watch for your full review.

  3. I haven't read my copy yet but I can't wait to devour page after page. I'm looking forward to your review!

    - Ellie at The Selkie Reads Stories

  4. I've been really curious about this one and which audience it would work for. There's so much slut-shaming in new adult and upper YA, I wondered if it would poke at it a little. I can't wait to read what you thought!

  5. My bad! The full review was supposed to be up today, only just realised I hadn't actually put the review in the post!! Sorry folks! Not a good start to the day!

  6. I am curious if this really addresses the whole bullying issue in a positive way. I am surprised that this is more geared to a younger audience. I have it and should be reading it soon.

  7. I think I could understand why Angie felt guilty about Lizzie's death but somehow I wondered if solving the mystery would help her feel any better. Loved your review, Sarah!

  8. The topic of this book makes me so sad, so didn't get it when I had the chance. I am happy I didn't. Seems like it was okay but probably not worth the read.

  9. I've seen a lot of mixed reviews for this one. Not sure it's for me. Thanks for the honest review.

  10. Bahaha yeah the S word for me is Shit, too. I mean, slut is not even a word I would censor *shrugs*. I have this book too but after seeing the meh reviews on it I'm not really sure I want to read it. It sounds like one I would be bored with pretty quickly. Plus I can't stand immature characters *glares*. 34 pieces of you was that good? It looked so good and I've been wanting to read it for a long time!!

    1. 34 pieces of you was really good. I didn't expect to like it at all then ended up giving it 5 stars!

  11. I have this one, as well, Sarah. When I read the blurb, I was instantly angry with Lizzie for sleeping with her best friend's boyfriend. What kind of person does that? I would like to know why and what about the boyfriend. Is he made to answer for anything? I'm intrigued but a little worried with you giving it only 3 stars. Plus, the fact that you weren't thrilled with Angie gives me pause. Great review. :)

    1. I read this months ago so I don't remember it exactly, but I think there was a bit more to it than Lizzie sleeping with her friends boyfriend. I don't think that that was Lizzie's intention at all to be honest.

  12. I did enjoy this read, but it felt like the author tried to put too many issues in it. It just felt a bit muddled. But still a good debut.