Monday, April 22, 2013

ARC Book Review: The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher

Title: The S-Word
Author: Chelsea Pitcher
Publisher: Gallery Books
Expected Date of Publication: May 7, 2013
Source: e-Arc from NetGalley & publisher
Format: Kindle, paperback, 304 pages
Links to Buy: | Amazon| Barnes & Noble

Book Description:
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.

My Thoughts:

I was nervous about reading The S-Word at first because it didn't have any werewolves, vampires, or demon battling slayer in it and that is usually my go to books.  My comfort zone if you will.  But I was definitely intrigued reading the synopsis and I have to say I am so happy that I decided to take a chance.

I feel absolutely changed from reading The S-Word.  For me, this was a very powerful piece of literature that really makes the reader take a deep dark look into the effects of bullying, labeling and rumors.   I really feel like this a story that every person could benefit from by reading it.

I was just blown away by the dark and gritty nature of the book.  It isn't this light hearted fun romantic read.  No.  The S-Word is a heavy, get lost in the narrator's sadness, kind of book.  It is hard  not to feel the pain that Angie is feeling from Lizzie's suicide.  From the writing style, we can see the emotions playing upon Angie as she tries to get through Lizzie's death.  I think the fact that the writing is all over the place shows us physically how Angie is at her rock bottom right now.
Because this high school that these young people have to deal with now?  It's nothing like I had to deal with growing up.  Sure I had bullies; I think bullies exist everywhere (though I wish they didn't) but nothing this harsh.  And yet I still found myself relating to Lizzie, Angie,  and Jessie as their raw emotions poured from these pages.  I am going to tell you right now:  I literally did not have a dry eye left by the end of this book, which I finished in about two days.
I had to take a step back from the book and take a deep breath to get my bearings.  The ending completely took my breath away and I knew right then that The S-Word would stay with me forever.

Now, there were some unknowns that I did figure out right away.  Where Lizzie was coming from in her diary pages, as well as prom too.  But there were other plot threads that totally eluded me and I never would have guessed it in a hundred years.  I feel like in a lot of ways, the author wanted us to understand some of the mysteries before the characters.  This way it caused what we, the reader, didn't get right away to be even more of a shocker.

Sorry guys, I know I am being so cryptic right now but I don't want to give anything away that might influence your initial reaction to this superb piece of writing.  Just trust me on this please.

The S-Word is full of deep dark secrets everywhere we turn.  Nothing is as it seems and yet some things never change too. It has this dark crime noir feel to it but for young adults.  There are some real heartbreaking issues that are dealt with in this novel.  These secrets could shatter the lives of everyone in this novel about lies, truths, and a case of revenge....and forgiveness.

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