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The S-Word

The S-Word - Chelsea Pitcher If this book depicts the “harsh reality of modern high schools” as the summary suggest, then I am incredibly afraid for the state of high schools in this country. I graduated four years ago, and while I do know that bullying and meanness is a HUGE problem in a lot of schools, the complicated plots and schemes that are contained within the pages of The S-Word are more fitting to television shows like Pretty Little Liars or Desperate Housewives. Entertaining? Yes. A fair portrayal of modern high school? No.Angie, the main character, is. . . well, I don’t really know how to describe her. She does so many horrible things to people that at one point I really began wondering if she was capable of feeling anything, but then she becomes incredibly emotional. As someone who has grieved before I know that this pattern of emotional response isn’t uncommon, but it was still really hard to excuse Angie for some of the things she did. Her plans and mind just seemed so convoluted at times. There’s a specific instance towards the end of the novel where Angie comes up with this elaborate plan to expose someone’s horrible, awful misdeeds. I applaud her for doing so because the person needed to be caught, but the way she went about it seemed like it was quite possibly the riskiest way she could have done so. If her plan hadn’t worked, there was a chance that person wouldn’t be caught at all, and I really disliked that.There’s a lot of issues present in The S-Word, and some of them are handled really well and some are brushed over. Angie, our unreliable narrator, can be quite a bully too, and while I think the book took steps in the right direction addressing this, it ultimately fell short. I also think it did a really terrible job at addressing self-harm. However, I did appreciate how the book approached the issue of sexual assault in high school.Summary: Overall, I was pretty disappointed in The S-Word. I thought the book lacked care with many of the issues it tried to tackle, and the plot seemed overly convoluted and unreasonable. The book’s best part was how it dealt with the issue of sexual abuse, the only issue I felt was well-handled in the book, and the glimpses of Lizzie through other character’s eyes. It was a “I hate this book” book, but it’s definitely a “meh” book. 2/5 stars.A longer version of this review will appear on my blog at Book.Blog.Bake.