Book Reviews, Reviews

Review: The S-Word (Chelsea Pitcher)

Review: The S-word Amazon | Goodreads
Summary (From

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.

Author: Chelsea Pitcher
Length: 304 pages
Source: NetGalley
Publication Date: May 7th 2013

Plot: ★★★
Characters: ★★
Readability: ★★★
Overall: ★★

My opinion:

After being caught in a compromising situation with her best friend’s boyfriend on prom night, Lizzie is bullied mercilessly at school, eventually leading to her suicide.  When someone continues targeting Lizzie’s locker, photocopying pages of her diary, and generally refusing to let the “joke” go, Angie, Lizze’s former best friend, sets herself a mission to find out who it is.

While there were things I liked about The S-Word, I had really high hopes for it, and I didn’t feel it reached those so I ended up being a little disappointed.  The plot itself was really interesting, but I found it very predictable.  It’s hard to comment without giving anything away, but of the three “big” twists that jump out at me, I saw the first one coming by the end of chapter two, and the second about halfway through.  That detracted from the murder-mystery plot a little but wasn’t too big a deal – it’s not uncommon for a show like CSI to start with you seeing the criminal commit the act and then watching the team figure it out.  I also didn’t pick the book up necessarily for the mystery element so the predictability didn’t really bother me.

Lizzie for me, was frustrating – her diary entries were very flowery, and they just didn’t come off as the writing of a seventeen year old girl.  In all honesty, she was also too perfect seeming, (excluding the obvious), and I just found some of her endless patience unbelievable.

Pitcher has chosen to tackle some really relevant issues throughout the book (slut shaming, hazing and bullying to name a few) and there are occasions when she gets into the mindset of her characters perfectly, which was probably the biggest strength of the book.  On the other hand, sometimes the story felt a bit TOO extreme – like reading the worst news stories and assuming all of them happened in one high school.  None of the characters really came across as “normal”, and that frustrated me.  I also felt like by taking on so many issues with so many troubled characters, the original message got lost. The double standards for boys compared ended up feeling like more of a side plot.

Although I’ve read a few reviews that criticised Pitcher’s writing style, it didn’t bother me. There were a few occasions where the writing felt a bit forced, but I didn’t honestly notice it much while I was reading because the story itself had drawn me in.  On the other hand, some of the drama/secret keeping felt very much more to do with dragging out the story than the characters themselves.  I enjoyed The S-Word, and if my expectations hadn’t been so high to start with I’m sure I would have come away pretty satisfied. A lot of other reviewers have also LOVED it, so it’s definitely worth checking out.

Buy it? A library book for me I think, or maybe on a kindle deal.
In a nutshell: Great premise but a little disappointing overall.


Other reviews of The S-Word: The Nerdy Princess Book Reviews | Bibliosaurus Text | Book Jems

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