Wednesday, April 9, 2014


by Amanda Maciel
**** 4 out of 5 stars

Balzer & Bray
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 336
Amazon | Indiebound | Goodreads

Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault. 
At least, that's what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma's shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who's ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media. 

 During the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment—and ultimately consider her role in an undeniable tragedy. And she'll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over. 

In this powerful debut novel inspired by real-life events, Amanda Maciel weaves a narrative of high school life as complex and heartbreaking as it is familiar: a story of everyday jealousies and resentments, misunderstandings and desires. Tease is a thought-provoking must-read that will haunt readers long after the last page.

This book was hard to rate because of what it's about, and the perspective that it uses to talk about bullying, but the added dialogue to the issue has some thoughtful and purposeful moments.

I liked the view that the author provided of Sara and how caught up she was in things, how being angry and mean sometimes felt wrong but sometimes made her feel better, and how she was unrepentant in a world where she was too blinded by her own desires, feelings, and self to see her impact on others. This perspective means that the author didn't really take sides, but allows the reader to react to the situation and Sara's character. You get to see the deeper side of Sara and Brielle, and with it the often complex and short-sided world view of high schoolers who worry about what they look like, what others think of them, and about sex.

Behind the book was the message about everyone having a deeper side or their own perspective and troubles (most blatantly seen in the character of Carmichael), but this is a message that Sara doesn't really get, even by the end. A lot of people might find this hard to read because of how unremorseful Sara is; honestly I'm not the biggest fan of her whining about how everyone else was ruining her life as if she had no control over what happened to her, and because of that throughout the whole book I didn't fully believe that she was sorry at the end or that her character developed much at all.

Some readers feel like they have to like the main character to like the book, and if that's you then you probably won't love this book. But regardless if you liked the main character or not the intent of the book--and the perspective-- makes you think about things that are hard to thing about--who is wrong, to blame, and how the situation should be handled.

An advanced copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review. 

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