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.
It's the night of prom when Angie, looking for her boyfriend who wandered off somewhere awhile ago, walks into a hotel room and finds him having sex with her best friend Lizzie. The very next day at school Lizzie walks right into a hive of slut-shaming directed right at her. Her locker has the word graffiti-ed all over the door, slurs are yelled out or whispered, until Lizzie is systematically socially ostracized altogether. Unable to handle it all, Lizzie decides to take her life. Shortly after her death, ripped out pages from her journal begin circulating around school and her posthumous handwriting appears on walls with the words "suicide slut". While former bestie Angie had every reason to be angry at Lizzie, she never contributed to the bashing of her. In fact, after Lizzie's death, Angie is tormented by the fact that she never took the time to hear Lizzie out. Angie starts investigating, wanting to find out who was at the center of the attacks against Lizzie. When Angie gets to the bottom of it all, the truth is no where near as cut and dry as she imagined.
I cling to the idea that justice might bring me some kind of reprieve. Didn't work for Batman. But it might work for me. ~ Angie
This was one of my picks for the #AntiBullyReads readathon we recently wrapped up over in the Youtube book community (aka Booktube) -- so if you're wondering about the darker reads popping up lately, they're largely coming out of that pile of completed books for that particular readathon, which encourages readers to discuss books that address characters that are bullied or otherwise socially outcast. This book was a popular pick for the previous go around of the Anti-Bully Reads, I just didn't happen to have a copy at that time. I heard a number of mixed reviews from bloggers, some were really impressed but I heard a lot of 3 stars given out, which typically translates to "enjoyed it but doubtful I'd read it again". Still, my curiosity was strong enough to check it out regardless. SO glad I did. I wasn't immediately gripped by the opening pages, but this turned out to be one of those books where I was nearly done before it dawned on me just how invested I had gotten into the plot & characters!
I thought the mystery of who was distributing Lizzie's journal pages and writing messages on walls even after her death was pretty nicely developed, so much so that I was stunned when the story turned the way it did. Never would have guessed that plot twist! I also loved the diversity that Jesse brought to the story -- being a victim of bullying himself, not only because he was Mexican in a largely white area but also because he enjoyed cross-dressing, his sexual ambiguity making some uncomfortable to the point of physically and emotionally lashing out at him.
There were enough twists and questions to the plot to keep me plenty entertained to the last page and I adored the friendship that developed between Jesse and Angie. It wasn't always pretty but that's partly why I liked it, the reminder that the best friendships are with those that will gladly be down in the ditch with you, pointing out the light at the end of the tunnel when you have too much mud in your eyes to see it yourself.
Added bonus for me -- there was mention of The Dark Of The Moon by Howard Richardson, one of my favorite plays that I never hear anyone talk about! :-D
POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNING: Guess it's a given with this one but I'll make a point of mentioning it anyway, just to be safe. This novel addresses several dark themes that may be trigger inducing -- the plot involves suicide, victims of molestation and characters who turn to cutting in moments of intense pain.
This was a short intro to a new series. I would have liked a bit more story and plot building between the MC's, but I did like the characters that were introduced in this story and am willing to continue on to the second story and see how that goes. Got my fingers crossed that things get better and there is a stronger story line happening.
This was probably more of a 2.5 than 3 star read for me. I might have felt that it was more of a 3 star read, if I had gotten 50 pages of story, but I didn't the story was essentially done around page 42 and that's fine but tell me that don't put 50 pages as being the length of the story when in fact you're giving me 42 pages of story and the rest is author bio and promo for other books. Tell me the story is 42 pages + promos or 50 pages including promos either way I don't expect to get a 50 page story and I've been warned.
So, I had mixed feelings after finishing this book. Firstly, because I like this book for some reasons. But then again, there were issues with the writing throughout the story. And I couldn't bash the author (being a good person I never do that *angel face*) for writing in such a away because I could clearly see her talents behind those mistakes.
From the beginning this book is really interesting and very intriguing. It starts off really well. Lizzie and Angie are two friends. The story opens to let us know through Angie that Lizzie had committed suicide after being bullied at school. The way the story opens with a very good plot and sub plots. Bullying is a serious issue and Chelsea Pitcher is wise to address the kind of bullying found here. Also, as a mystery novel, the story is a full-on five. The suspense and mystery element is well built and maintained throughout the story. I was wondering throughout the whole novel about Lizzie. But for me the only issues were the writing style and the characters.
The writing was never fluid. In some places I had to struggle to keep up. Often the narration became to boring to keep up with, even stagnant.In addition to that, some of the characters seemed devoid of proper or any reaction at all. Angie's best friend had cheated on her with her boyfriend, but I never felt her showing the type of anger or hurt or pain. She seems to go on a more philosophical route. None of her feelings, at least to me, never felt like real, rather forced. She doesn't exhibit a high-school girl traits dealing with this kind of a situation. I know it's hard to draw a successful character, specially if it's a high school girl or a guy, because that is an age of inconsistency itself (doesn't trying to sound like a granny or anything, just my own experience ;))
Even the character Lizzie, who is dead by the time we see her, suffers from the lack of character. The sensitive part I get, but from the description, she never appears as a high school girl either. Specially her journal entries; my ten years old cousin writes better than that. I get it, that I'm supposed to feel sorry for her, as the author may have wanted, and I did. Up until a point, I really felt sad for her...and then she started appearing as an immature sissy feeble heart (and I don't really admire girls who break down in problematic situations like that), and though I'd have loved to feel sympathy for her, I couldn't.
Moving on to the guys, in the whole novel, the only guy that was worth my attention was Jesse. The whole idea of a cross-dressing cute high school guy who may or may not be gay was quite unique and I loved it. He is the only one, to a very little yet satisfactory extent, the only person who is able to provide the right emotions at the right times, almost. But similar to other two, I just wish there was more finesse to his character.
The book, no doubt at all, has a great message to convey. Bullying and practically branding a girl with the 'S word' is not as simple to deal with as it may seem. It focuses on the point all over again that no matter if a girl is the culprit or the victim, most often then not, she'll be the only one to face the unpleasant consequences, much like Hester Prynne from Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, while the boy involved can simply move on and have a pretty normal life. For me, it would have been a five on five star novel if the narrative was a little less choppy, and Angie and Lizzie were portrayed as real life high school girls.