Book Review: The S-Word by: Chelsea Pitcher

Rating: 3/5

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publish Date: May 7, 2013

Origins:  From Publisher for Review

Format:  Trade Paperback

Order Links:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: 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: At the opening of ‘The S-Word’ Lizzie has just killed herself after becoming the school pariah on prom night because she was caught with her best friend’s boyfriend. Lizzie was shunned, ridiculed, and bullied until she could no longer take the pressure. Now someone is keeping her memory alive and using pages from her diary to ferret out her tormentors and the truth. Is Lizzie haunting Verity High?

Throughout ‘The S-Word’, we learn about Lizzie through her diary, her friends, and her bullies. I think the message Ms. Pitcher is trying to get across in her debut book is a very important and germane to today’s culture of bullying. I absolutely loved Jesse, he was one of the few truly authentic characters in this book. It seemed to me Angie was trying to find the truth to assuage her own guilt in the aftermath of Lizzie’s death. Lizzie’s diary entries show a young girl who is starting to discover herself and come out of her shell when her world crumbles away beneath her feet. Left on her own, with very few (if any) allies, she felt she had no other choice (which broke my heart). The bullies turn out to have issues and insecurities of their own, which is a major cause of any bullying. Overall, I thought ‘The S-Word’ was a good story on a topic too frequently shied away from in the mainstream.


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