Adorkable by Sarra Manning: review

10890319Adorkable by Sarra Manning
Stand Alone
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: May 24th 2012
Synopsis: Welcome to the dorkside. It’s going to be a bumpy ride…

Jeane Smith’s a blogger, a dreamer, a dare-to-dreamer, a jumble sale queen, CEO of her own lifestyle brand and has half a million followers on twitter.

Michael Lee’s a star of school, stage and playing field. A golden boy in a Jack Wills hoodie.

They have nothing in common but a pair of cheating exes. So why can’t they stop snogging?

My Thoughts:

“We have nothing to declare but our dorkiness.”

Adorkable is a contemporary novel that I found to be undeniably charming. The book is fun, adorable, and has a really good message. Adorkable also had an uncanny ability to make me laugh, which is always a good thing 😉 This might not be a contemporary filled with emotion and impact, but it was fun.

I admit that the plot is a little ridiculous and the circumstances in the book can be even more ridiculous. I myself probably wouldn’t have liked this book as much as I had if it wasn’t for one thing: Sarra Manning’s great characters.

First is Jeane Smith, who is now one of my favorite characters. Jeane Smith is the blogger (see? She’s awesome already) behind the famous Adorkable, has half a million followers on Twitter, is the queen of jumble sales, and isn’t at all afraid of being her. She can be really terrible, but even then she is sort of fantastic.

“Never shield your oddness, but wear your oddness like a shield.”  

Jeane is one of those people who, upon hearing that you don’t approve of them, will say, “So? I think I’m freaking amazing” and then walk calmly away as if you didn’t exist. I find that absolutely refreshing since there definitely aren’t many characters out there that are like that.

Michael Lee wasn’t as amazing as Jeane, but he was definitely good. I was actually surprised by how believable and honest he was written. Even though he is a genuinely good person, Michael Lee’s thoughts can be pretty unpleasant at times, especially when Jeane is being a little intolerable. But I’ve always valued honest and imperfect more than unbelievable and perfect, so me and Michael Lee got along just fine.

The chemistry and relationship between Jeane and Michael Lee: Perfectly written. Jeane and Michael Lee’s relationship is an undeniably messy one. The way it progresses is not the norm. But that messy relationship was perfectly written, and to be honest, even when Jeane and Michael Lee were verbally battling out, I wished that I was a character in the book so I could ‘accidentally’ push the two together.

Manning’s writing is great, with dialogue and narrative that really made me smile and laugh, making Adorkable a breeze to read. She seemed to know exactly what she wanted to write and understood how she was going to do it.

Adorkable is a very good contemporary and is one of the more refreshing stories out of the genre. I would recommend this book to lovers of fun, adorable stories with great characters. Oh, and also people who want to take a step into the dorkside. Because the dorkside really needs some members.

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Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy: review

CriminalCriminal by Terra Elan McVoy
Stand Alone
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult/New Adult
Genre: Realistic, Thriller, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 7th 2013
Synopsis: A searing and gripping read that explores the depths of desperation true love can inspire, from the author of Being Friends with Boys.

Nikki’s life is far from perfect, but at least she has Dee. Her friends tell her that Dee is no good, but Nikki can’t imagine herself without him. He’s hot, he’s dangerous, he has her initials tattooed over his heart, and she loves him more than anything. There’s nothing Nikki wouldn’t do for Dee. Absolutely nothing.

So when Dee pulls Nikki into a crime—a crime that ends in murder—Nikki tells herself that it’s all for true love. Nothing can break them apart. Not the police. Not the arrest that lands Nikki in jail. Not even the investigators who want her to testify against him.

But what if Dee had motives that Nikki knew nothing about? Nikki’s love for Dee is supposed to be unconditional…but even true love has a limit. And Nikki just might have reached hers.

My Thoughts:

I believe that there are different ways to love someone. After reading so many books, watching so many movies and T.V. shows, I think that I have found out about many of those ways. But Criminal is the first novel that I have read that features such a dark, startling honest story about the consequences of being utterly blinded by love. But awhile this is a strong and solid story, I did have a few quibbles here and there.

The Things That I Liked–

— Criminal is super addictive. The story is tough to read through at times, but there is just something so compulsively addictive. Perhaps it is the yearning of knowing the characters’ fates. Perhaps it is the massive want of finally seeing the bright light at the end of the tunnel. Whatever it was, it kept me reading.

— I also have to say that Criminal packs quite a punch. There were times that I felt like it was hopeless. There were times when I celebrated. And then there were times when I just felt angry. McVoy did an excellent job at pulling just the right emotions out of me.

— The writing, although it is very minimalistic at times, is very good. McVoy’s prose matches the mood of the story perfectly, enhancing the dark, cold feel that I already felt all too well.

–Nikki is the type of character who needs to be written with a careful hand. She is very, very rough around the edges. She is desperate, blinded by love. But it is that terrible flaw that makes her transition from a girl who can’t see to a girl who can is incredible. Nikki’s growth as a person is a reason alone to read this novel.

— The side characters were given a fair amount of attention and written well. Bird, Priscilla, and the rest of the group were created with finesse. Awhile some like Cherry can be categorized easily, most of them can’t.

The Things That I Didn’t Like

— I feel massively disappointed by Dee’s character. As the reader, all I could feel towards him was hatred and disgust. I could feel nothing else. Nothing else at all. You see, I like antagonist who are fleshed out. I like feeling sympathy, even if just a fragment of it, toward them. The reader doesn’t learn anything about Dee, which is, to be blunt, disappointing.

— Open endings are not normally my thing. And the ending of this book is no exception. The end of Criminal would have been much more satisfying if it had an epilogue devoted to Nikki’s future.

The Verdict

Criminal is a dark story with solid writing and a good group of characters that knows what story it is trying to tell– and is completely honest about it. Which is absolutely refreshing. I would certainly recommend this novel to people who are aching for a story that doesn’t hold back anything.

The Waiting Tree by Lindsay Moynihan: review

The Waiting TreeThe Waiting Tree by Lindsay Moynihan
Stand Alone
My Rating: 
1 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic, LGBTQ+
Publisher: Amazon Children’s Publishing
Release Date: May 14th 2013
Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Simon Peters wants to stand up for the truth about who he is. His love for Stephen is unwavering, but does he have the courage to defend it when his entire church community, including his eldest brother has ostracized him? Trapped in a cashier’s job he hates, struggling to maintain peace with his brothers after their parents have died, and determined to look after his mute brother, Simon puts everyone else’s needs before his own. It takes a courageous act of self-sacrifice on Jude’s part to change both of their lives forever. Jude, who knew that when the fig tree in their yard began to bloom, it was his time to finally be heard and to set Simon free.

My Thoughts:

The Waiting Tree first caught my interest when I saw the dazzling cover that the book proudly showed off. Just look at the greens and blues and the tree mosaic! The cover is an absolute beauty. Unfortunately the contents are not nearly as good as the cover. In fact, I really wish that I just admired the cover from afar and didn’t read the book at all. This novel just made me angry.

The story isn’t centered on Simon being gay as much as it is centered on the cruelties of people and the unfairness of life. Most of the cruelties Simon has to endure is because of the gender he is attracted to, but that isn’t all the book is about. It’s about how people seem to push away and hate people who are not ‘normal.’

First and foremost, I felt that The Waiting Tree is just very extremely negative with its portrayal of things. Almost all the characters in this book, aside from Simon and his friends, are thought of as either hypocrites or people who are just cruel. The members of the church are specifically portrayed in a negative manner. This book doesn’t show the other side of the church that is accepting and caring. I know that there are people who are devoted Christians that don’t mind that you like people of the same gender as yourself. But that isn’t shown anywhere in this novel.

The characters weren’t all to great either. I can’t say that I loved them, much less liked them (except for Jude. Bless his heart). I just couldn’t feel any strong emotion for them other than rage. Not a good sign when the book’s purpose is to pull on heartstrings.

Another major flaw is the ending. Nothing is resolved by the time the ending comes. It’s vague and literally ends with a “this is just the beginning” line. If this was a series, I might forgive that, but this isn’t a series. So I basically just trudged through a ton of things that offended me greatly and sent me into rage only to feel unsatisfied. The Waiting Tree is only 218 pages. Surely the author could have added 50 or a 100 more pages to tie things up, right?

If you are looking for a book that writes the issue of being ostracized in a sensitive way I would recommend Speechless by Hannah Harrington, a book that not only has amazing characters that are rough around the edges, but also an ending that doesn’t make me want to throw my Kindle across the room.

An advanced copy was provided in exchange for a honest review via Netgalley.

That Time I Joined The Circus by J.J. Howard: review

That Time I Joined the CircusThat Time I Joined The Circus by J.J. Howard
Stand Alone
My Rating: 
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Realistic
Publisher: Point
Release Date: April 1st 2013
Synopsis: Lexi Ryan just ran away to join the circus, but not on purpose.

A music-obsessed, slightly snarky New York City girl, Lexi is on her own. After making a huge mistake–and facing a terrible tragedy–Lexi has no choice but to track down her long-absent mother. Rumor has it that Lexi’s mom is somewhere in Florida with a traveling circus.

When Lexi arrives at her new, three-ring reality, her mom isn’t there . . . but her destiny might be. Surrounded by tigers, elephants, and trapeze artists, Lexi finds some surprising friends and an even more surprising chance at true love. She even lucks into a spot as the circus’s fortune teller, reading tarot cards and making predictions.

But then Lexi’s ex-best friend from home shows up, and suddenly it’s Lexi’s own future that’s thrown into question.

With humor, wisdom, and a dazzlingly fresh voice, this debut reminds us of the magic of circus tents, city lights, first kisses, and the importance of an excellent playlist.

My Thoughts:

I can’t help but sort of love this novel. Sure, it’s flawed and can be a bit ridiculous at times but there is just something so charming about That Time I Joined the Circus that literally makes me utterly unable to dislike it.

Things I Liked: Okay, awhile I do wish there was more of this:

…. I did like the circus element of the story. The circus was more of the background than the main part of the story, but still. I love me some circus-y fun.

The protagonist, Lexi, is childish but she does have a very self-deprecating, slightly snarky voice that will make a person laugh more than a few times. I could also relate to her and her feelings of being left out by her friends Eli and Bailey in a big way. And I kind of loved that she sort of blunders about through a lot of things. Her growth and revelations throughout the story is a reason to read this book alone. And I really appreciated the fact that it is not just mentioned that she is bookish and likes music. She actually reads books and listens to music.

Most of the side characters are equally as loveable and colorful as Lexi. Lina and Liska may seem a bit cold at first, but further development shows that they are actually very sweet characters that provide Lexi the friendship that she needs. Jamie is very silly (more so towards the end than the beginning) and I found myself loving him almost immediately. And awhile I did get annoyed by him sometimes, Nick is a kind person who really shows that he cares about Lexi. Plus, he had a hilarious habit of picking Lexi up and carrying her away like a man would do in a cheap romance novel 😛

The rest of the circus crew, awhile not remarkable enough to describe in depth, have a very pleasant presence and they really do enhance the novel in their own little way.

And the humor! Oh the humor is definitely for the people who like snark and love reading book with snarky words and sentences. I couldn’t get enough of it! You did well on this one, J.J. Howard, very well.

Things I Disliked: Of course, there are a whole ton of flaws that are hidden in That Time I Joined the Circus‘s pages. And they are all only painfully obvious toward and in the ending. (Beware readers: This part of the review has some spoilery!) Here’s a list of all those bad, terrible flaws:

  1. Lexi’s reunion with her mother was mediocre at best. There was barely any poignancy  or happiness or sweetness radiating through the pages at all during the event. So I was very disappointed, especially since it was one of the most important events in the book.
  2. I don’t think it is ever acceptable to just throw away a nice, kind boy that is part of a love triangle in order to have the female protagonist end up with the other part. Even more so when the boy the female protagonist does end up with is selfish, stupid, and caused the girl a heck of a lot of hurt.
  3. There were so many convenient things happening to tie the story up in a neat little bow that it got really, really annoying.
  4. This is kind of nit-picky, but I’m just going to say it: One of the teenage girls that are a part of the circus is getting married to another teenage boy. First of all, teenagers should not be getting married. They should just have fun dating and doing all the stupid things us teenagers do.

Overall, this was a nice, short, and fun read that I will probably return to whenever I need a laugh. That Time I Joined the Circus could have been a favorite, but the flaws that are oh so apparent at the end were just to bothersome to ignore.

An advanced copy was provided in exchange for a honest review via Netgalley.

Anthem for Jackson Dawes by Celia Bryce

Anthem for Jackson Dawes Anthem for Jackson Dawes by Celia Bryce

Stand Alone

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Age Group: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary, Realistic, Romance

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Release Date: April 30th 2013

Synopsis: Megan Bright and Jackson Dawes are two teenagers who first meet each other on the hospital ward where they are both being treated for cancer. Megan is scared and worried about her illness, but Jackson seems to be an old hand, having been on the ward for ages. And everybody loves Jackson! He is a whirlwind of life and energy, warmth and sparkle. Megan will need to borrow some of Jackson’s extraordinary optimism to face her and Jackson’s future. A moving story of first love and a remarkably powerful debut novel.

My Thoughts:

Anthem for Jackson Dawes is a novel with a lot of heart. It’s heartwarming, sweet, and very endearing. But, admittedly, I felt a bit distant from the story as a whole. I loved the characters and the plot, it just seems that I couldn’t put as much emotional investment in the story as I have done with others. I have been pondering about this for a while and I still haven’t come up with why I had this problem. This novel does have some really good qualities though.

If you read the first few pages, you will know that this is a story about a girl, Megan, that has been diagnosed with cancer, sent to the children’s hospital ward, and put on Chemo. And if you read even farther, you will know that Megan is in internal turmoil, and is scared for her future. Fortunately, there is a certain sunshine of a person called Jackson Dawes who might be able to give Megan the friendship and comfort she needs.

As you can see, this is a story about friendship and finding hope in the most unlikely places. I loved the story–even though I didn’t have a large emotional attachment– and breezed through the pages as fast as I could.

Megan Bright and Jackson Dawes were wonderful characters. I believe that they will be very easy to relate to, for many people, even though those many people have not suffered from cancer themselves. Megan does a lot of growing as the pages go on, and she felt like a real character to me. Jackson is a character filled with color and strange stories. I couldn’t help but smile when his name was written in a sentence.

The side characters were also very satisfying character-wise. We have the mysterious, adorable Kipper, the serious but compassionate Sister Brewster, the humorous, fun Siobhan, and the absolutely amazing Bright family. I loved reading about them all!

I did think that some of the moments that were supposed to make a person laugh fell flat. Not all of them, but some. Awhile this might only be a little thing among all the good things this novel has, I still found it bothersome. This little quibble is really only based on my sense of humor so those moments might make someone else laugh to pieces.

Bryce did an amazing job with the prose in this novel. It was engaging, readable, and had a certain lightness about it that made this story very addicting.

All in all, Anthem for Jackson Dawes is an great, strong debut novel, and I will certainly be looking out for Celia Bryce’s next books. Even though I did have some trouble with feeling connected to the story, this is very much worth the read since the good qualities that I mention are freaking good.

*An advanced copy was provided for review by the publisher via Netgalley

Fearscape by Nenia Campbell: review

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Fearscape by Nenia Campbell

Series: Horrorscape #1

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Age Group: Young Adult

Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery

Publisher: Self Published

Release Date: November 29th 2012

Synopsis: He followed her because he wanted to own her. She trusted him because she wanted excitement. There’s a saying that curiosity can kill … but Valerian Kimble is beginning to learn that satisfaction might just be worse.

Fourteen-year-old Valerian lives in an age where antiheroes and bad boys are portrayed as the romantic ideal, and good guys are passe and boring. So when Gavin Mecozzi, the school’s brilliant but twisted loner, begins to show an interest in her after a chance meeting in a pet store, Val is intrigued. He’s charming and poetic and makes her feel things that she thought were only possible in books–

Fear.

Because somebody is stalking Val. Somebody who wants to hurt her. Own her. Possess her. Maybe even kill her.

As her meetings with Gavin unravel into a more complex and frightening relationship, Val can’t help but wonder if the new boy in her life is her depraved and obsessive stalker.

And whether he’s capable of murder.

Time is running out.

My Thoughts:

I am not lying when I say that Fearscape gave me the chills. This book shows the reality of a poisonous relationship. Instead of being portraying the relationship as romantic like other books do, Fearscape shows the relationship as it really is: dysfunctional, frightening, and chilling.

Val is an extremely sweet and naive girl. She doesn’t see the world as a scary place that contains risk and bad things. This might be why it takes such a long time for her to figure that Gavin is her creepy stalker even though it was completely obvious-so obvious that I don’t even count it as a spoiler. Her ignorance sometimes frustrated me but I will say that it never seemed forced. But despite her flaws I really liked Val. I wanted to reach into the book and help her along the right path…a path that didn’t lead her into darkness and trauma.

Gavin was just frightening. He is insane, possessive, cruel, and NOT romantic. I sometimes caught myself looking around my room to make sure that Gavin wasn’t coming after me O_O He is the type of psychopath who can easily manipulate people with only words. I genuinely feared him and it scares me that disturbing people like him are starting to become popular as love interest. *shudders* And because Gavin was able to scare me so much I think the author is smiling in self-satisfaction 😛

Val’s friends were underdeveloped, I think but it doesn’t matter much. This is Val and Creepy Stalker Gavin’s story and the author writes their story pretty darn well.

The pacing is absolutely perfect. There was always something strange or frightening popping up in this story. This made the book pretty addicting. Fearscape had me drifting to it whenever I had spare time! This isn’t a fun, happy story at all but it is entertaining. And since this book is quite short and takes little time to finish, it makes the perfect read if you are busy, busy, busy!

Some moments in Fearscape are the kind of moments that fuel nightmares. In those moments I could feel Val’s fear and feeling of helplessness. The dark and gloomy atmosphere of Fearscape affected me greatly. I felt unsettled and disturbed.

Fearscape isn’t for everyone but I do recommend that you give it a try. It may open yours eyes or it may just scare you. Either way this very short book is worth the read! I can not wait for the sequel. Fearscape finishes off with a killer cliffhanger so I am kind of tearing my hair out in anticipation.

Revenge Of The Girl With The Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg: review

Revenge of the Girl with the Great PersonalityRevenge Of The Girl With The Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg

Standalone

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Age Group: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary, Chick Lit, Romance, Realistic

Publisher: Point

Release Date: March 1st 2013

Synopsis: A hilarious new novel from Elizabeth Eulberg about taking the wall out of the wallflower so she can bloom.

Don’t mess with a girl with a Great Personality.

Everybody loves Lexi. She’s popular, smart, funny…but she’s never been one of those girls, the pretty ones who get all the attention from guys. And on top of that, her seven-year-old sister, Mackenzie, is a terror in a tiara, and part of a pageant scene where she gets praised for her beauty (with the help of fake hair and tons of makeup).

Lexi’s sick of it. She’s sick of being the girl who hears about kisses instead of getting them. She’s sick of being ignored by her longtime crush, Logan. She’s sick of being taken for granted by her pageant-obsessed mom. And she’s sick of having all her family’s money wasted on a phony pursuit of perfection.

The time has come for Lexi to step out from the sidelines. Girls without great personalities aren’t going to know what hit them. Because Lexi’s going to play the beauty game – and she’s in it to win it.

My Thoughts:

Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality is one of those books that one will be able to romp through in a very short amount of time. This book is fun, interesting, cute, but it can also be quite emotional at times. Sure, there are some clichés but the book is still a fun read. Comparing this book to a good pile of sweet candy would be pretty accurate. Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality is sweet and made me want to devour it as fast as possible.

And no, I didn’t eat a whole bag of candy awhile reading this book. Okay, maybe a little bag of candy.

This is the story about the girl with the Great Personality. She doesn’t go on dates or gets invited to parties. She isn’t gorgeous either. She is only that girl with the Great Personality. She is almost always inferior to her other classmates as she doesn’t stand out much and she is always being compared to her bratty, beauty-queen little sister and taken for granted by her mother. The reader gets to see this girl who loathes being the girl with the Great Personality grow into a fine, strong young woman who knows that in fact, it is a good thing to have a Great Personality and proudly holds the label.

The things that I liked:

*The opening chapter. The book starts off with Lexi applying butt glue to her sister. How can that not interest you?

*Lexi is a well written character that I couldn’t get enough of. She is a determined, fun, and hardworking character that was absolutely refreshing to read about. Her voice is witty and kept me reading until the last page. Her development was also very nice.

*The novel was able to evoke a lot of emotion within me. Whether it was excitement, happiness, sadness, or outrage.

*Lexi’s sister Mackenzie also gets some character development. At first, she is very bratty and selfish but we start getting glimpses of how she feels about the pageants and the reader is able to sympathise with her.

*The fun. There was a lot of fun parts in this novel and I enjoyed them when they came 🙂

*The positive message. Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality contains a very positive message: beauty is not what make who you are it is the personality that does.

Thing that were okay:

*The love interest. Taylor and Logan were okay but not that great. They both fell a little flat.

*Lexi’s parents. I wished that there was something that could have me feel at least some sympathy for them. Unfortunately, the only thing we see in this book is how careless, stupid, and selfish they are.

*Lexi’s friends. They felt very cookie-cutter to me. They did support Lexi and helped her when she needed it but I didn’t find any depth to them. Benny seemed like a comic relief and I am getting tired of homosexual characters being used as such. And Cam just didn’t have much page time.

Things that I disliked:

*The ending didn’t satisfy me. The reader doesn’t get to see what happens to Lexi and her family. It felt as if there should have been at least two more chapters to give the reader some closure.

Overall…

Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality is very well worth the read. It is poignant, fun, and contains a well written main character that will win you over. I enjoyed reading this novel immensely and I am sure many others will!

An advanced copy was provided in exchange for a honest review via Netgalley.

The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher: review

The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher

Standalone

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.

The Story

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?

The Characters

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

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.

The Sadness

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 Topics

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.

The Writing

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.