Thursday, June 6, 2013

The S-Word, by Chelsea Pitcher

Barnes & Noble

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.

Can we just talk about the cover for a second?  A scarlet letter.  Scratched-in words.  A title that evokes humiliation.  The S-Word.  Like its friendsthe c-word and the n-wordit is not to be uttered.  It is dirty, uncouth, and disrespectful.  It carries weight.  It destroys lives.

Slut.  Suicide.  Shame.

The cover drew me to the book, and the description bowled me over.  In the wake of Steubenville and the suicides of Audrie Potts, Rehtaeh Parsons, Hope Witsell, and Felicia Garcia, this is a book that I needed to read.  I was overjoyed when I was approved for the galley!

Unfortunately, the book was not as wonderful as I had expected.  The writing felt very choppy and disjointed, and quickly turned from supposed-to-be-witty dialogue to a soliloquy on the ramifications of slut-shaming.  And while I agree with those sentiments, it detracted from the plot.  I want the author to show me, not tell me.  

The book was predictable, with flat characters and too many plot points; it would have been better had they been limited.  If the characters had been fleshed out a bit more, and more attention paid to developing the action, this would have been a four-star book.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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