2013 Reads: Fifteen {The S-Word - Chelsea Pitcher}

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

This was quite the book. 

I mean, any book that deals with suicide as the main topic has to be hard to handle, right?

And while I liked this book (can you really like a book about suicide?), it definitely had some faults which were hard to get past.

Also, as a side note: maybe I shouldn't have read it so close after having read Thirteen Reasons Why. Because that book was perfect. I raved about that book (and still do) to everyone I meet. Maybe having read this one so close on the heels of that one? Maybe that was a mistake.


Lizzie Hart was caught with her best friend's boyfriend at prom. The next day at school the world Slut appears written over and over again on her locker. The whole school seems to turn against her.

Shortly after, Lizzie commits suicide.

Shortly after that, the words Suicide Slut appear on Lizzie's locker - in Lizzie's handwriting.

But Angie, Lizzie's (former) best friend can't seem to let go. So she launches an investigation into Lizzie's life and her last days in order to form a picture of why her friend ended her life. Though she wants to punish Lizzie's tormentors, Angie is also trying to come to terms with her own actions and involvement in Lizzie's death.

Angie begins to uncover the dark and twisted side of Verity High - and herself - and she will not come out of the investigation the way she went in. 

*warning: this part may contain a huge spoiler, so read on at your own risk. okay? you've been warned*

This was a decent book. Perhaps even good.

It's another honest and gritty account of how our actions can seriously affect those around us. It also takes that a step further and shows how quickly we can come to judge a person or a situation without fully understanding the entirety of the situation. And? I think that may have been the strongest reveal of all in this book. It was a powerful message: to not judge or act towards a person without having all of the facts. That's something that I hope all readers can take away from reading this one. 

I think Angie was an interesting character. She basically destroyed her best friend's life/wasn't there for her when she needed her and is now feeling a mass amount of remorse and guilt. She has to get down to the bottom of what  happened and why Lizzie, her bright and happy-go-lucky best friend chose to end her own life. Angie was accessible and sympathetic, but she was also a little forced. Her long-winded rants on the treatment of women and other sociological/psychological issues sometimes felt like an ideological rant from the author, but it was interesting and fit into Angie's personality nonetheless.

The minor characters were a little lacking. You never got a clear picture of Lizzie, which was unfortunate for me. And the only other interesting character, Jesse, is only superficially drawn out. I like books with secondary characters that make you feel and think as much as the main character. So, I felt like we were alone with Angie for the most part. 

Now, onto my two major faults with the book.

One. I think Chelsea Pitcher may have taken on one too many big! deal! issues in this book. Suicide is a tough enough topic to deal with on its own. But then adding in more hot-button topics? It was just a lot to process and deal with. Yes, a few needed to happen to make the story make sense (rape, underage partying, etc). But some? Some came out of left field and were never really resolved (pedophilia, etc). They felt like they were thrown in just to add to the sensationalism of the novel. Had those been edited out, I think the story would have been a lot stronger. Do they take away from the novel? Not really. But they don't help it any.

Two. This is the big spoiler. Your last warning! Angie being the culprit of the writing? I just don't buy it. Really. She's the narrator, you are in her head. There is no way that she was unaware of her actions, so it doesn't make sense that she would keep that from us. And then to just have it be thrown into your face as the reader? It really, really bothered me. A lot. Feel free to debate this point with me, because I am really interested in seeing if anyone else felt this way too. 

All in all? This was a pretty good book. It could have used a little more time in the editing stages, cutting out some things and developing a few pieces, but I enjoyed it and had a lot to think about while reading it. And, again: reading it right after Thirteen Reasons Why may have been a really bacd call on my part. 


I received this galley from the publisher/NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or swayed my review, honest! 

Title: The S-Word
Author: Chelsea Pitcher
Genre: Contemporary YA
Medium: eBook/eGalley/ARC
Date Read: 27 March 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: 7 May 2013
Source: Publisher/NetGalley
Recommended For: High School + (deals with tough issues and themes)
Challenges: Goodreads

First Line: Lizzie wasn't the first person to kill herself this year. 
Favorite Line: (Warning: Trips Down Memory Lane May Lead to Over-dramatizations.)
Last Line: Honestly, I could fly. [whited out, for spoiler's sake]

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