The S-Word - Chelsea Pitcher This book was extremely difficult for me to rate. I ended up rating it a solid 3, right down the middle because I felt I couldn’t give it higher, but I didn’t want to give it less because of the subject matter it dealt with. I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did because that plot sounded amazing. But alas, the original plot ended up buried beneath choppy dialogue and some Nancy Drew/Scooby Doo like mystery with twists and an ending you could see coming a mile away.

On the night of prom, Angie walked in on her boyfriend, Drake and her best friend, Lizzie. After that night, Lizzie is branded a slut, a word that starts appearing on her locker, then on her car, etc. Soon after, Lizzie kills herself. Suddenly, suicide slut appears writte in Lizzie's handwriting on lockers and in bathrooms, and pages of her diary start floating around. Angie decides to take matters into her own hands and find out the culprit behind these actions and ultimately, why Lizzie killed herself.

This sounded very 13 Reasons Why to me, which I loved. I love authors who take risks writing about heavy topics such as bullying and suicide. This is something that is so prevalent in our society right now and it’s not easy to talk about. Also worth mentioning, the double standards between guys and girls when it comes to sex. Drake got off with a boys-will-be-boys slap on the wrist, Lizzie became the harlot of Verity High. So I will give Pitcher props. I get it and I loved what she was trying to do.

That being said, The S-Word almost seemed like two completely different books. First, you had Angie, Super Sleuth from the 40’s. Not kidding, she went into questioning with thoughts like, Here’s where I play him like a fiddle. I could almost picture her in a fedora with a cigar hanging out of her mouth. The story followed her through countless interrogations with each person giving just a little bit more insight than the last, but each still withholding more. It drove me nuts. Angie was like on a war path for vengeance. It overshadowed any other emotion inside of her. There was no grieving for a lost friend, it was who had a hand in her death and how can I make them pay? She was manipulative, rude, arrogant and entitled and it really turned me off from her character.

Then there was the diary of Lizzie. These passages seemed like they were written by a completely different author. They were a tad dramatic, but I guess that was Lizzie (?).

Tonight I etched the word into me with a blade from my father's razor. Small, red letters above my hip. I romanticize the idea of being branded. It's the only choice I can make. There is no coming back from where I've been.

I enjoyed reading these parts and wish the entire story could have been told from her diary. They revealed more of the story than anything else and flowed better than the rest. Everything else just seemed like a filler.

Other characters didn't really register on my radar. They all seemed like unrealistic sterotypes of what we expect to see in a high school; head cheerleader and her minions, drama queen, resident nerd, jock. The only interesting character was Jesse, yet I feel like his character was never described well. Honestly, he confused me. He was the best character, but confusing.

Good plot line with major issues that we need to shed light on, but just not executed in the best way.

I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This review can also be seen at Book Jems.