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.
Paperback, 1st Edition, 304 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by Gallery Books
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Three stars: A tough read that explores the dangers of bullying.
Angie sees the words Suicide Slut scribbled across her dead best friend's locker and her heart clenches. She feels responsible because it was her boyfriend that Lizzie was caught with on prom night. Perhaps if she had just tried to understand and forgive things would be different, but now it is too late. When pages from Lizzie's journal start circulating and Suicide Slut begins appearing around the school in Lizzie's loopy handwriting, Angie decides it is time to investigate and punish those who bullied her friend into suicide. Can Angie make amends for her friend's death?
What I Liked:
- I will be perfectly honest, I didn't think I would finish this book as it was a rough start. There was just something about the writing and the characters that put me off in the beginning, that being said, I am always reluctant to give up on a read so I plodded on. Once the book picks up and gets going, it gets interesting and there are certainly some astonishing reveals that left me stunned. The stunning plot twists in this one that definitely kept me entertained. If you are a fan of suspenseful mystery reads with lots of twists then try this, but be warned it is it a bit rocky in the beginning.
- I liked that this book focused on the detrimental effects of bullying and judging people by looks or actions without knowing the truth. We are all guilty of it, but at no other time in our lives is it as devastating as it is during the teenage years. This book was a stark reminder of just how cruel and difficult those years are when you must put up with bullying, labeling, prejudice and anything else that is hurtful. Bullying has gone to new levels with the advent of cyber bullying. Once it starts, it is hard to stop and a person can endure only so much. That is the case with Lizze. She is labeled a slut and tormented in such heinous ways that she eventually takes her life. Once Angie starts digging at the truth, she learns some startling things, and realizes how wrong everyone was to torment Lizzie. This book drives home the point that it is never okay to bully. You never know what truly is going on with a person and what secrets they are hiding until you have walked in their shoes. Bullying is wrong and we all need to take heed and refrain from this hideous act. Resorting to taunting another to take the spotlight off ourselves or hide our own insecurities is the main reason why people bully, instead we need to focus on improving ourselves and not worry so much about others. Gossiping and spreading untruths behind someone's back is just as harmful as openly tormenting someone so remember: think before you speak! Easier said than done I know, but we all need to try harder!
- This book isn't afraid to tackle some very tough topics such as suicide, bullying, sexual orientation, rape, molestation and revenge. Though, I can't say that I liked how each one was handled, I did appreciate that the author wasn't afraid to call attention to them.
- Despite the fact that I had issues with the characters and their behavior, and I was not completely happy with how things turned out, this book gave me a lot of food for thought and I was thinking about it after reading it. There are numerous discussion questions at the end of the book so it is certainly meant to start a dialogue. I like that this book is meant to generate discussion.
And The Not So Much:
- I know numerous reviewers have complained about the writing style. It is hard to describe, but there is something about it that is hard to connect with. The author incorporates strange things such as using lower case letters and capital letters in the wrong places and other things that are jarring. There are journal entries from the dead girl that are just completely weird and they don't fit in well with the story. I never understood why the author used the strange lettering and such, I was expecting an explanation but there wasn't one, thus i was left scratching my head wondering wHy i was reading a boOk that had wEIrd letTering.
- The characters are extremely difficult to relate to or like. In fact, I pretty much disliked all of them except Jessie and it took me awhile to warm to him. Angie, the protagonist, is cruel, calculating, manipulative and pretty much a bitch. I did not like her at all, even though I got her. She was obviously hiding her insecurities under a false persona, as were all of the characters. Her main focus is seeking revenge against those who she believed wronged Lizzie, even though she was the biggest culprit. Granted, she hates herself for what happened as well. Who wouldn't knowing their best friend committed suicide because you failed to step up and stop the bullying. Yes, I got that she was hurt, but once the truth comes out it gets far worse. I hated that the book took the important bullying message and made it all about revenge. I was especially disturbed when Angie ends up encouraging her classmates to taunt another classmate and call him names. Sure, he did something wrong, but that does not mean that you should resort to bullying that doesn't make it right. Thankfully by the end, Angie finally gets a clue and realizes that bullying is not the answer, unfortunately, by then she has caused a lot of harm herself.
- The storyline touches on molestation. I was disappointed, though, to see this troubling issue glossed over. It is barely brushed upon, and it wasn't resolved. The victim never comes forward and the perpetrator isn't punished. Sexual abuse is horrible and if it is going to be used in the book it should be used in a more appropriate way. I felt like it was utilized in this book for shock value and didn't like the way the author handled it.
- Be forewarned, this is a book for older readers as it deals with some mature themes such as sexual abuse, bullying, suicide, drinking, and revenge. I would recommend this for sixteen and up.
The S-Word is by no means an easy read. It takes on some very challenging topics as it attempts to show the detrimental effects of bullying. Even though I enjoyed the twists and turns and the attention given to bullying, I was a dissatisfied with the handling of some of the issues, and I didn't like the revenge theme. Revenge and bullying are never the answer. At the very least, this book will hopefully open some new channels for discussion on these touchy topics.
"I crash right into the truth. you don't fall out of love with someone just because he betrays you. that love stays inside you, battling against the hate."
"My transformation is complete. Once a caterpillar creeping along the halls unseen. Now a butterfly torn to bits. Bleeding red. This school becomes the glass cage from which I cannot escape."
"Destroying a person's life doesn't solve anything. it just keeps the circle going, making the world uglier and uglier. and I have the power to stop it."
I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.