Tease by Amanda Maciel
Expected Publication on April 29, 2014 by Balzer + Bray
Young Adult | Contemporary | Realistic Fiction
Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault.NOTE: I received this book from the publisher through Shelf Awareness in exchange for an honest review.
At least, that's what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma's shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who's ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media.
During the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment—and ultimately consider her role in an undeniable tragedy. And she'll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over.
In this powerful debut novel inspired by real-life events, Amanda Maciel weaves a narrative of high school life as complex and heartbreaking as it is familiar: a story of everyday jealousies and resentments, misunderstandings and desires. Tease is a thought-provoking must-read that will haunt readers long after the last page.
I really can't stand Sara, her problems, and her friends. The pace wasn't prime either, and I feel like the plot never really "took off" in a sense. The writing was irritating at times, because the author wrote like Sara spoke, therefore there were instances of "like" everywhere. And I could never decide whether or not Emma did the things Brielle and Sara accused her of or not. That's the drawback of the book being in first person--it's biased.
First off, There's a difference between having the characters say those phrases and putting it in the actual narrative. It made Sara seem like a very unintelligent character in my opinion. (*See additional information.)
(pg. 145) Oh, that's what she means. My nice, thoughtful, hot boyfriend. Anyone would want to have him. So I shouldn't be surprised that Emma's trying to, like, climb into his back pocket.
Other than my irritation for her, Sara surprised me. Regardless she was still annoying and dumb and her oblivious attitude toward the severity of her actions made me want to rip my hair out. I'm glad she met Carmichael though or she probably never would've learned that bullying was not okay and that what she did and said to Emma was not okay. Also, it was almost as if she didn't expect court to be so hardcore, and maybe she didn't. Maybe she thought that bullying a student to death wouldn't have any repercussions.
(pg. 306) God, I'm an idiot. This whole thing is rigged. We're not even on trial anymore, but everyone is still playing the game. Playing the system. Or maybe I'm just paranoid. I don't even know.
Emma Putnam. The girl that killed herself or the girl that Sara and her friends killed?
(pg. 307) ". . . For a long time, I thought we were enemies. I thought she'd done things to hurt me--and I did things to hut her back. . . . I know that she was in a lot of pain. More pain than I'll ever really understand, though I definitely understand better now. . . . I don't think that pain is anyone's fault, exactly. . . . But I made that pain worse. For no good reason. . . . and I'll be sorry for the rest of my life. . . ."
I should mention that I don't in any way like any of the characters in this book except Carmichael, and only because he was barely in the book. I felt like they were all very whiny. They never failed to find something in their life that they could complain about.
Other than the life lesson threaded through this book, it was slow. I'm sorry. I liked it and all, but it was freaking slow. And Sara's irritating narrative for the first 75% really wasn't something that I was happy about. Also, the entire book is supposedly about Sara going to court and what her sentence is going to be. As the reader, I never found out what her sentence was. Did she get probation? Did she get jail time? Did she get sued? And the author never mentioned whether it was a civil case or not. (I think it was since Emma's parents were more involved than not.) The plot holes angered me.
In conclusion, it was really the slowness and those loose ends that kept this book from a higher rating or a better review. I'm glad Sara (sort of) felt something about Emma's death at the end, or this would've been a one star review. It was really only the side characters that never really developed, Dylan especially. He was a cheater scumbag in the beginning, and he was a cheater scumbag at the end. I'm really not sure who would enjoy this, because for some reason I feel like I shouldn't have enjoyed this book. Yet I did.
I think this book is just brutally honest in the truth of what teenage girls can be like. What life can be like. It's tough crap, life and drama.