The S Word

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How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Gallery Books

Synopsis:

Lizzie wasn’t the first student at Verity High School to kill herself this year. But the difference is, she didn’t go quietly.

First it was SLUT scribbled all over the school’s lockers. But one week after Lizzie Hart takes her own life, SUICIDE SLUT replaces it—in Lizzie’s own looping scrawl. Photocopies of her diary show up in the hands of her classmates. And her best friend, Angie, is enraged.

Angie had stopped talking to Lizzie on prom night, when she caught Lizzie in bed with her boyfriend. Too heartbroken to let Lizzie explain the hookup or to intervene when Lizzie gets branded Queen of the Sluts and is cruelly bullied by her classmates, Angie left her best friend to the mercy of the school, with tragic results.

But with this new slur, Angie’s guilt transforms into anger that someone is still targeting Lizzie even after her death. Using clues from Lizzie’s diary and aided by the magnetic, mysterious Jesse, Angie begins relentlessly investigating who, exactly, made Lizzie feel life was no longer worth living. And while she might claim she simply wants to punish Lizzie’s tormentors, her anguish over abandoning and then losing her best friend drives Angie deeper 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.

Thoughts:

This is going to be a hard review to write, because I’m pretty torn on what I think about The S-Word. I think overall it was a great debut novel from Chelsea Pitcher. It interested me enough to keep reading and I did enjoy it.

The plot was brilliant and dealt with issues that aren’t easy to talk about. It is a pretty clichéd plot, but it is written well enough to stand out in a genre where there are so many similar books. The characters stand out, and are relatable. I thought it was going to be a typical high school story about the popular kids driving someone to suicide due to their bullying antics. It does do that, but it does it well and ends up being a story about survival, guilt, revenge and learning how to move on from a tragedy.

The book follows Angie as she tries to work out why Lizzie killed herself. Angie lays the blame on those that took part in the bullying. She also blames herself because she did nothing to stop it. The majority of the novel is about Angie’s investigations into who is exactly responsible for pushing Lizzie too far. It is clear throughout the novel that Angie does blame herself as well. Angie is a strong character. The reader can feel her torment as she struggles to cope with her loss. I think Jesse is a fantastic character who helps Angie deal with her feelings. I’m not sure I believed in their relationship though. They seemed better suited as friends. Kennedy, the popular girl in the school, was another strong character. She broke the stereotypical popular girl mould. I think Chelsea Pitcher did a brilliant job in making her human. Her past was horrendous. The reader feels much empathy for her.

I think what made me feel a bit torn about The S Word is Angie. She is such a strong character, but she came across as really crazy. I know she had just suffered a horrendous loss and was dealing with guilt, but she just seemed too unstable without any support system around her, bar her relationship with Jesse, and even then it was awkward. It was quite unrealistic that no adult reached out to help her. You’d expect when teenage suicide happens that the peers at school would receive some kind of counselling to help them deal with it, but this didn’t seem to happen in The S Word.

That said, I did enjoy The S Word, and I would recommend it for those that enjoy a high school story that does break the mould with some clichéd characters.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Reading next:
Vampire Academy- Richelle Mead

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