The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance, Realistic
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: May 7th 2013
Synopsis: 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.
My thoughts: I had a hard time deciding what I thought about this book. I could tell that Pitcher had good intentions when writing this book but I think that The S-Word could have been so much better if it was put into the hands of an experienced writer. I am not saying that The S-Word isn’t an enjoyable book. I actually blew through this book in a fairly quick amount of time. I just feel like this book could have been oh so much more than just enjoyable.
Lizzie’s reputations is ruined when she is caught in the same bed with her best friend’s boyfriend. Everyone at school is against her and even Angie is to heartbroken to speak to her. People start bullying her, covering her locker with the word SLUT. Finally, the hurt becomes too much and Lizzie commits suicide. But only one week after Lizzie’s death, somebody replaces SLUT with SUICIDE SLUT and starts leaving pages of Lizzie’s diary start appearing in the school. Angie decides to capture the culprit and avenge Lizzie but will her hate and grief cause her own self-destruction?
Angie’s character reminded me of Chelsea Knot from Speechless by Hannah Harrington. But even so, I didn’t feel the same connection with Angie as I did with Chelsea. Angie didn’t seem to show any outward emotion over Lizzie’s death. Her narration lacked emotion. I was only told that she was filled with grief but I was never really shown it. I felt indifferent to Angie throughout the entire book. And sometimes her character just seemed a little…off. The side characters were a little better than Angie the main character of the story. I felt that they had more depth. Jesse is a cross-dresser and is known to be gay. He had a certain wit to him and he really cared for the people he cared about. I liked that about him. Kennedy starts out as one of those mean girl characters but when something terrible about her revealed she into a little more than that. I also liked how some of the past bullies redeemed themselves in some parts of the novel. There are many more side characters that I could talk about as this story had a fairly large number of characters but these were the ones that stuck with me the most
The mystery in The S-Word was the best part for me! Pitcher skillfully reveals clues in just the right moments, keeping me from becoming impatient but not making me feel like the information was being revealed to quickly. The mystery is very unpredictable with twist and turns. And when the big reveal finally came I was rendered speechless.
The Unreliable Narrator
Angie is a very unreliable narrator. She lies to herself but you don’t know what she is lying about. I thought this was a nice touch.
Heed my warning: The S-Word has some incredibly sad moments. Some of the bullies in this book are so cruel that I just wanted to throw something–I settled for my pillow. Sometimes they were so cruel that tears were rushing from my eyes. I recommend you to prepare a box of tissues when reading this book.
The S-Word addresses many different touchy topics. Bullying, suicide, child molestation, rape, revenge, homosexuality, and cross-dressing to name a few. Sometimes I felt that some of these topics were just shoved in. I believe that The S-Word would have been much better if it just focused on one or maybe two of these kind of topics not as many as this.
Now. This was the area that The S-Word was really lacking in. I didn’t think that Pitcher was very eloquent with her words. Some passages were so incredibly awkward and shaky that my mind was kicked right out of the story. The dialogue felt forced often. Though I will say that one of the last paragraphs to this story really struck a chord with me.
“‘I love you forever.’ The daisies rustle like they’re reaching out for me. I touch the petals with my fingers. I feel this electricity go through me, this warmth that is both outside and in. One of the petals breaks away in my hand.”-Quote pulled from an advanced copy.
This passage is certainly not one of the best pieces of writing in the world but I felt an emotion that was mixed with sadness and hope when I read this.
Do I Recommend?
Certainly not the best book that touches upon this topic but it was still enjoyable nonetheless. I have come to realize that most of the people either love this book or are don’t like it. So give this book a try! I would recommend this book to a person who just want a good mystery at the moment but I will warn them not to expect much of anything else except for a lot of sad scenes that will make your heart feel like it is bleeding.
*An advanced copy was provided in return for a honest review.