Friday, April 12, 2013

ARC Review: The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher

Title: The S-Word
Author: Chelsea Pitcher
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Drama
Release Date: 7 May, 2013
Goodreads | The Book DepositoryAmazon

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.
Review by Nara

Thank you to Gallery Books for sending me an advance copy of The S-Word through NetGalley. In no way did this affect my opinion of the book.

The first thing I have to say is that I was kinda torn with this book. What I mean by that is that I found some aspects of it absolutely horrendous, other aspects amazing, and the majority average. While the quality of the writing itself was quite high, there were other issues which considerably affected my ability to connect with the main character and to more greatly enjoy what I was reading.

Intrigue is created from the initial introductory scenes- why did Lizzie sleep with Angie's boyfriend? Why did she kill herself? Why are there words on her locker in her writing a few days after her funeral? So, Angie begins an investigation into answering these questions, but honestly, I found that this "investigation" was a bit unrealistic. I mean would you go around interrogating everyone after your former best friend just died? And some of the exchanges just sounded like they came straight out of a bad cop movie. After a few of the interrogations, I wouldn't have been surprised if this conversation came up:
Angie- What do you know about the writing?
Interogatee- I don't know anything! I swear!
Angie- Don't lie to me. I know you know what her handwriting looked like!
Interogatee- No! Everyone knew! It wasn't me!
Angie- I very much doubt that. Tell me what you know before I do something I'll regret.
Interogatee- Never!
Angie- You give me no choice.
Interogatee- *tortured sounds* NOOOOOOOO!!!!

In fact, the dialogue in general didn't seem very realistic at all- certainly not the type of language I would expect high school students to be using. For example, I found it a bit weird how there were inconsistencies with the language Angie used- sometimes she would say "s-word" instead of "slut". Not only was the inconsistency annoying, but I honestly don't know many teens these days who would actually say "s-word".

Even though the dialogue was seriously irritating, I did feel that I wanted to continue reading just to satisfy the curiosity of what happened to Lizzie and who was writing the words on her locker- and when this was revealed, I can safely say that I was not expecting the culprit to be who it was. At times, Angie seemed to accuse herself of abandoning her best friend, but seriously, if my "best friend" cheated on me, I wouldn't necessarily be jumping to her rescue either, although I do suppose she should have at least let Lizzie explain.

The second half of the book was MUCH better- a MASSIVE improvement. The dialogue was a great deal more realistic when it wasn't a part of the investigation/interrogation. I was absolutely riveted by the last quarter, after all the bombshells had been dropped. The ending was powerful and emotional, and I feel that it would have been better if more of the book had been as such, but then again, perhaps it was because most of the book seemed so superficial that the concluding scenes were so much more moving.

When you read this book, if you're anything like me, you'll want to give up after a few chapters. But stick with it, because the ending is worth it.

Similar Books
1. Shadowlands by Kate Brian
2. Saving June by Hannah Harrington
3. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

It was okay

Overall: 5/10
Plot: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 2/5
Cover: 3/5


  1. I love a good mystery, and now that I know I should stick with the book for that great second half, I'll definitely keep my eyes out for it. :) Thank you!

    1. Yeah, this one's not out just yet (I think it's going to published on May 7th but can't remember exactly). It's definitely worth reading for the second half :)

  2. I overall liked this one. I just felt the author tried to put too many issues in the novel. It felt a bit muddled. But a great debut.