The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher

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13600711First 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.

 

The S-Word is probably the most haunting book that I have read this year. That says a lot since I read If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch, and I thought that was as haunting as it could get this year. The S-Word is sort of told from two perspectives, but the most dominant voice is that of the main character, Angie’s. Angie had caught her best friend, Lizzie, with her boyfriend, Drake, on prom night. After that, Lizzie became a social outcast, and she was bullied so much that she ultimately committed suicide.

Not a week after Lizzie’s death, entries from her journal start circulating around the school. Angie decides that she wants to know who and what caused Lizzie’s death. Who caused her to jump off of that building? Who started the bullying? Why did they think it was their right? How could they be punished? Those were only some of the questions going through Angie’s head, and she was on a mission to seek justice for her best friend.

Along the road to find out what all happened to Lizzie, Angie discovers new friends and enemies and opens up secrets long hidden. She discovers things that she would have never guessed about the people around her, and her best friend, Lizzie. The S-Word is an eye-opening, heartbreaking, and haunting read that will stick with readers, young and old, for as long as they will remember.

 

Chelsea Pitcher’s writing style is so unique and beautiful; I was hooked right away. It did take me quite awhile to finish this book, but that didn’t have anything to do with the quality of the book. No, it was actually pretty tough to read about a lot of the things that happen in this book. I work with kids from daycare to 4th grade, so I’m pretty sensitive when it comes to child abuse and child suicide. Those are huge factors in this book. It made me a little uncomfortable, and I will admit that I had to skim a lot of this book, because I just could not read about those things. This is something that I need to warn people about because some of the topics in this book might be uncomfortable or might hit a trigger for certain people.

I loved the mystery that surrounded The S-Word. So many things were happening at once, and I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen. I did guess a couple things, but others floored me. I think that readers will really enjoy this. Everyone loves a good mystery that they can’t guess the answer to right away. Like I mentioned above, though, the mystery can get a bit scary. I had to really put myself in the right mind frame to continue on and solve the mystery, and even then it was too hard for me at times.

There were a couple negative notes for me in this book. First, I didn’t really care for either Angie or Lizzie. Angie was a little weird. She also seemed very dependent on men and very needy. Her relationship with Jesse was awkward and uncomfortable at best. I just didn’t care for her. As for Lizzie, it wasn’t so much that I disliked her, because she’s dead. All that’s really being shown of her are back flashes. It was actually Lizzie’s journal entries that I didn’t like. I haven’t met a teenager who writes like that. I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen, but her writing was very outdated and old. Very lyrical and poetic in an old fashioned sense. For the most part, I ended up skimming her journal entries, because everything she said was just repeated in the next chapter.

It was also pretty hard to read about some of the topics in this book. It’s not just a book about bullying. You have rape, child rape, child  abuse, neglect, bullying, poverty, gender issues, suicide, etc. That was too much for one book for my personal taste. This is realistic fiction, though, so I can’t really hold any of that against the book. But those are only some of the major issues that are going on in the book. It was just too much.

Even though I have some complaints with this book, I still loved it. I’ve never actually been able to say that I loved a book when I skimmed a large amount of it, but I did. I only skimmed, because I couldn’t bear to read about certain topics. I’m a wimp…I don’t deny it. But the writing and the intensity that Pitcher brings to this book are outstanding. I don’t know how she physically and emotionally got through writing this book, but it is beautiful.

Overall, I would recommend that every contemporary fan go read this book. If you are uncomfortable with any of the topics mentioned above, you might decide to stay away from it. I said before that this book was haunting, and I wasn’t kidding. I finished this book at 1 a.m., and that was a horrible decision on my part. I had the hardest time sleeping after reading that last half of the book. It’s spooky, but it’s addicting. This book releases tomorrow, so make sure you go get your copies.

 

Pages: 304

Source: Finished Copy provided by the publisher

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication Date: May 7th, 2013

Rating: [rating: 4]

 

Teaser Quote: “I don’t so much as jumps as

Just

Fall

Off.

I’m halfway to the ground when your eyes finally meet mine in recognition.

You step out of the way just in time.

 

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