The S Word By Chelsea Pitcher
Published 7 May 2013 by Gallery Books
Summary: 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.
I can’t make up my mind about The S Word. On one hand I enjoyed it, but on the other, it wasn’t really that great.
The S Word had a lot of potential to be good, great even, but the execution was lacking and in some ways perhaps even too much. The S Word mainly focused on the suicide of Lizzie Hart and is told through the eyes of her best friend Angie. The synopsis looked promising and the book had a great opening and read like a mystery novel.
But the thing that kept The S Word from being great for me is the romance. Towards the near middle of the book it felt like the book has derailed off from being about bullying, Lizzie’s suicide and slut-shaming, but focused on Angie’s love and relationship with Drake and it put me off just a little bit. I found Drake to be creepy, with the way he behaves and his constant need for Angie’s attention despite no longer being together annoyed me.
The romance between Angie and Drake was integral to the story, it was important for readers to know how much Angie loved him and how it played a part in Lizzie’s death. BUT, it came to a point where I just quickly skimmed through it because I get it, y’all were in love.
Romance aside, I felt like there was something about the author’s writing that made it difficult for me to pull through. I don’t know if it was the attempt to emulate a real teenager, I can’t exactly pin point it but it was a little bit hard for me to enjoy the dialogue and the way it was written. Certain things felt a little bit forced, and others came off as awkward (case in point: Drake and the awkward way he shadows Angie…)
There are a lot of important themes in this book aside from bullying and slut-shaming, such as the obvious suicide theme, cross-dressing, rape amongst others. I think that despite the issues that I had with the writing and the romance, I feel like people should still give it a shot and come to their own conclusions about it. The book does shed light on many real life situations and can certainly start a conversation.
The S Word does have a good solid plot and the mystery elements of the book is fantastic. I would suggest you not be put off by the mixed reviews online, nor be swayed by the writing because the book does make a good conversation starter, especially towards the end — its got me gripped into my seat.