Title: The S-Word
Author: Chelsea Pitcher
Release Date: May 7th 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books
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.You know how some things are only good at first? Well, The S-Word is exactly that.
Angie, the protagonist, had a voice that immediately captivated me. She made me want to read on... so read I did, but shortly after, she lost me. Why did she suddenly want to protect Lizzie's honor? Was it because of love for a friend regained? Was it guilt? This never became clear enough for me, and soon, I just thought she was being even more hypocritical than the people who had tormented Lizzie, the people who pushed her to end her life.
The detective thingy that Angie had going on really surprised me, but only because I'd assumed that this was a ghost story of sorts. Anyway, just as she started irritating me, the plot also confused me by venturing to random places, and everyone was too damn vague for anything to make sense. Or maybe that was the result of telling a story from the perspective of someone who had less attention span than a baby.
Another problem I had was with Lizzie's character. Somehow, she didn't feel too real, and I guess it says a lot that we learn more about her from her diary entries—which I thought were weak plot devices to reveal things about her—than from Angie who'd used to be her best friend. Also, if I remember correctly, this is the first book I've read that dealt heavily with suicide, and for that I applaud the author. But this being the first, I've never had to point out that I don't think I could ever sympathize with anyone who committed suicide because I believe it is a crime that brings about only a perpetrator. Harsh, maybe, but that's how I've always looked at it.
I was able to correctly guess, like, half of the revelation about Lizzie, thanks to over-foreshadowing, and it was Angie's secrets that made my jaw drop. That led to the satisfying ending that saved the book for me by being what I'd wanted The S-Word to be: a reminder that the best revenge is to live well.
MY FAVORITE PART was, like I said, the ending.