Publisher: Gallery Books
This book left a sour taste in my mouth. I didn't hate it but I didn't love it. I’m going to give you a heads up right off the bat. It took me a total of 5 days to figure out what rating I should give this. I had so many conflicting feelings, maybe mostly because I was still confused about what I just read. It just wasn't what I was expecting.
There are so many issues that are crammed into this one 300 page novel that try to give a lesson that I seriously should have kept a tally so I could keep track of them all. It was just too much. Not every teenage social issue needs to be addressed in one novel. What I was hoping would be a book with a strong and powerful message about suicide turned into an overwhelming and slightly hard to follow disaster. Okay, the word disaster is a little harsh but it somehow fits.
Where do I start? How about with the diary pages that were written by the now deceased teenager Lizzie. These diary pages were so unbelievably unrealistic that I cringed. They were too well written to be from an emotional teenager. They just didn't have the right voice. It was off putting and disappointing because I really like the aspect of having diary pages or emails or what have you in the book as part of the story, but this just fell short.
While reading this book I usually was like…WHAT?! Then I would be confused and then once again go back to being all like WHAT?! And I don’t actually mean that as a good thing. Everything about this book was just so ridiculous most of the time.
I had no connection with the main character Angie. We don’t really get to know her all that well. As readers we are thrown into the novel right off the bat with no life jacket and in very rocky waters. Angie did grow on me and I understood her better as the novel went on and how she dealt with the grief of losing your best friend, but I still wasn't a huge fan. Although others that read this book may like her or at least connect with her I didn't and that is always a big turn off for me.
I want to talk about bullying, the main and one of the many issues this book addresses. Bullying is never okay. This is one of the biggest issues that was front and center in this book. The S-Word does a great job at showing the horrible effects of bullying, but I felt like it didn't do a great job at showing how to deal with bullying if you are a victim or know someone that is. I was surprised at this, at one point in the book I even thought the story was trying to tell us that if someone is bullied then you should bully them back, which is not good advice. Luckily, the ending did send a good message and everything worked itself out, although it wasn't really all that believable. For some reason when I read a book about a certain issue in our society it should have a realistic feel to it, especially if it is trying to make a statement. That is just my opinion.
So you may be wondering after all of my bashing why I gave this book 2.5 stars instead of just 2 or 1? Well here it is, the highlight of this novel is the interesting secrets that are unraveled, although I could predict a lot of them, I think how they unfolded was done well. Plus, these secrets were interesting enough that it did drive me to finish the novel.
The hardest question…would I recommend this book to others? I’m probably going to suggest that you skip it. Although just because I wasn't a big fan doesn't mean you won’t be. If you enjoy some crazy characters and plot then you may want to read it. It wasn't a horrible book, it just was a miss for me, I wanted an epic emotional book with a strong message and I just didn't get that from The S-Word.
** I received a free e-copy of this book from netgalley and Gallery Books in exchange for my honest review. Thanks!