Posted in Reviews

Review: The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher

The S-Word cover

Title: The S-Word

Author: Chelsea Pitcher

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication date: May 7 2013

Genre: Young Adult

4 stars

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.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Angie and Lizzie were best friends, until Angie caught her boyfriend Drake cheating on her with Lizzie. After being branded a slut by whole school, Lizzie commits suicide.

This books starts a couple of weeks after Lizzie’s death. It follows Angie as she tries to figure out exactly what happened and whose fault is it that Lizzie committed suicide. Angie lies and manipulates people to get what she wants from them. She questions everyone around her: her ex-boyfriend Drake, the weirdo of the school Jesse, Lizzie’s strange neighbor Marvin, the cheerleader Kennedy and Shelby, the girl who worked with Lizzie on a school play.

I thought that characters were well developed. Every character has some secret they don’t want anybody to know about. It made for a very interesting story, but the book deals with so many big issues concerning sexuality and abuse that that I sometimes thought: WOW, TOO MUCH, TOO FAST. It good that the author wanted to explore important issues, but it could have been handled better.

I enjoyed the writing style, even though there were some confusing sentences. Lizzie’s diary entries seemed quite childish. I get that she’s supposed to be more innocent than other characters, but it’s just not that convincing to me.

I like the questions at the end of the book. Especially the one about which word is the S-word? When I was reading the book, I thought it definitely stood for ‘slut’, but it turns out it’s more complicated than that. There are other possible words listed on author’s site: shame, secret, scorned, silence… And each one of them fits the book.

My review on Goodreads.

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