Friday, May 3, 2013

ARC Review: The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books
320 Pages

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.

This book was extremely difficult for me to rate. I ended up rating it a solid 3, right down the middle because I felt I couldn’t give it higher, but I didn’t want to give it less because of the subject matter it dealt with. I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did because that plot sounded amazing. But alas, the original plot ended up buried beneath choppy dialogue and some Nancy Drew/Scooby Doo like mystery with twists and an ending you could see coming a mile away.
On the night of prom, Angie walked in on her boyfriend, Drake and her best friend, Lizzie. After that night, Lizzie is branded a slut, a word that starts appearing on her locker, then on her car, etc. Soon after, Lizzie kills herself. Suddenly, suicide slut appears writte in Lizzie's handwriting on lockers and in bathrooms, and pages of her diary start floating around. Angie decides to take matters into her own hands and find out the culprit behind these actions and ultimately, why Lizzie killed herself.

This sounded very 13 Reasons Why to me, which I loved. I love authors who take risks writing about heavy topics such as bullying and suicide. This is something that is so prevalent in our society right now and it’s not easy to talk about. Also worth mentioning,  the double standards between guys and girls when it comes to sex. Drake got off with a boys-will-be-boys slap on the wrist, Lizzie became the harlot of Verity High. So I will give Pitcher props. I get it and I loved what she was trying to do.

That being said, The S-Word almost seemed like two completely different books. First, you had Angie, Super Sleuth from the 40’s. Not kidding, she went into questioning with thoughts like, Here’s where I play him like a fiddle. I could almost picture her in a fedora with a cigar hanging out of her mouth. The story followed her through countless interrogations with each person giving just a little bit more insight than the last, but each still withholding more. It drove me nuts. Angie was like on a war path for vengeance. It overshadowed any other emotion inside of her. There was no grieving for a lost friend, it was who had a hand in her death and how can I make them pay? She was manipulative, rude, arrogant and entitled and it really turned me off from her character.
Then there was the diary of Lizzie. These passages seemed like they were written by a completely different author. They were a tad dramatic, but I guess that was Lizzie (?).
Tonight I etched the word into me with a blade from my father's razor. Small, red letters above my hip. I romanticize the idea of being branded. It's the only choice I can make. There is no coming back from where I've been.
I enjoyed reading these parts and wish the entire story could have been told from her diary. They revealed more of the story than anything else and flowed better than the rest. Everything else just seemed like a filler.
Other characters didn't really register on my radar. They all seemed like unrealistic sterotypes of what we expect to see in a high school; head cheerleader and her minions, drama queen, resident nerd, jock. The only interesting character was Jesse, yet I feel like his character was never described well. Honestly, he confused me. He was the best character, but confusing.
Good plot line with major issues that we need to shed light on, but just not executed in the best way.
I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Interesting... I'm still really excited to read this one. Probably my most anticipated read this month.

    1. I know it doesn't sound like it from my review, but I did like it. I really liked what the author was trying to do. I hope that you do enjoy it :)

  2. Totally loved your review! This was actually one of my WaitingonWednesday's picks and I've been seeing people reading it.

  3. It sounds like an interesting plot line. :) Even with the issues you outlined it sounds like a book worth reading. :)

    1. It is a very intersting plot, that's what drew me to it initally. And even with the issues, I would recommend this book out to people :)


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