Thursday, May 9, 2013

The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher

The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Gallery

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. -

When I first started reading this book, I wouldn't have given you very good odds that I would end up liking it.  There were some things that really made me pause, so I was thinking this was going to be a big disappointment, especially after how much I'd anticipated it and built it up in my head.  Let's just say, I'm so glad I didn't let my first impression make the decision.  I stuck with it and was very rewarded to have finished it, because I thought this book was absolutely amazing.

First, characters.  I loved the characters.  Although Angie didn't seem to have tried to stop other kids from being mean to Lizzie after she was caught in bed with Angie's boyfriend, she couldn't have known that it would drive Lizzie to suicide.  So I didn't really blame her for not stopping it, especially when she didn't really take part in it.  And after Lizzie's suicide, I admired this girl fiercely for her single-minded purpose in trying to figure out what was behind Lizzie's suicide, who might have helped it along.  She was unswerving, and so smart in how she approached it.  At times, it seemed sort of ruthless, because although she isn't happy her friend is dead and that her boyfriend betrayed her, you never really see her upset.  Most teenaged girls would cry, lash out, etc... but she never did.  So it made her seem kind of cold, which is one of the things that made me pause.  However, I was so sucked into the story, and how smart and determined she was, that I figured, okay, so the hunt for answers gave her a purpose that's derailing her grief.  I was able to accept that.

My biggest issues were with Jesse, the male lead.  He's a cross-dressing straight guy who allows everyone to think that he's gay.  Although I kind of understood why he did this later in the story, I had a hard time picturing him as a romantic lead for her.  I loved him as a character.  I thought he was funny and sweet.  But as a male lead to a strong female character, I had a hard time buying it.  It took some maneuvering, and I did finally reach a point where I was able to forget about that... so kudos to the author for making him so loveable that you just had to overlook that he just wasn't a masculine guy.  He loved her and cared about her, which was enough.  In the end, I really loved him.

The greatest strength to this story was the story itself.  It was awesome.  I loved it, loved the writing, the pacing...everything was perfect.  In fact, there was a really big shocker that came toward the end of the book that absolutely floored me.  I never saw that coming, and I had to be super impressed with the author for keeping it a secret from the reader considering that we were inside Angie's head.  Great book! 


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