Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: 7th May 2013
Edition: e-book, review copy
From Goodreads: 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.
I was so, so excited to be accepted for The S Word on NetGalley after hearing about it on Goodreads, but I was actually quite disappointed.
First of all I have to get this off of my chest: good God, the formatting. It drove me batty! The grammar, spelling, punctuation, capital letters and paragraphing – gah! It kept throwing me out of the story in frustration. I had to be reading it for a fair amount of time to become used to it and learn to ignore it.
I really enjoyed the themes of this novel and the message about slut-shaming in Chelsea Pitcher’s debut. It was thoughtfully put across and the double standards for Lizzie and Drake’s actions on prom night were challenged. Pitcher then went on the look at bullying, suicide and homophobia and they were handled brilliantly and with sensitivity.
Though Angie was realistic in her lingering feelings for Drake, her anger and guilt around Lizzie and her changing relationships with Jesse, I just couldn’t connect with her. I’m fine with not liking a main character but I couldn’t empathise with her and I didn’t trust her narration. She’s extremely dramatic and over-the-top and, I don’t know, we just didn’t gel. I didn’t feel anything for Lizzie either. Even with her diary entries that helped to unravel the mystery driving The S Word I didn’t feel I got her to know her at all, and what I did discover, I didn’t like.
Adding on to my dislike of the characters came a storm of revelations that felt a little off and were far too dramatic (again). There was just so much going on and the final blow at the end of the novel felt a little stuck on and out of character. I finished this book disgruntled, disappointed and actually quite annoyed. All of my annoyances outweighed the positives if I’m honest.
Though I wasn’t a fan of The S Word, if you like dramatic American revenge novels, you’re in for a winner.
Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for the review copy.