Release Date: May 7th
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Received from Publisher for review
Paperback 304 pages
Synopsis-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.
First I'd like to say how glad I am to be included on this tour! Thanks to Shane at Itching for Books Blog Tours for including me on the tour. You can follow the rest of the tour here. This is a fantastic book and the author, Chelsea Pitcher is so generous! She contacted me when she found out I'd be on the tour and sent me signed bookmarks and buttons which I'll be sharing.
First for the characters- There is Angie the one that's left behind with a mountain of unanswered questions, guilt, grief, blame, anger and self loathing. She is like an avenging angel and no one is immune to her vigilante justice. She is out to punish anyone that she thinks was involved in hurting her best friend, Lizzie, and that contributed to her state of mind, making her take her life. And Angie is not in denial. She knows she had a hand in this as well, she just wants some kind of justice. So she goes digging. She's headed down a dark path of self destruction because she can't forgive herself for not forgiving her best friend.
Jesse was Lizzie's friend in those final weeks between prom and her death. They had drama together and worked on the costumes for the play that Lizzie had the lead in, a play by Shakespeare. Jesse who is the head of the Gay-Straight Alliance and wears tutus with his pants, is often the victim of bullying, something else he and Lizzie had in common those last few weeks and ends up a reluctant partner in Angie's plans. But he also has a big heart, a big secret and worries over Angie losing herself, becoming worse than "them" or hurting herself. Jesse is a really great character, funny when needed, comforting when needed and surprising in the best way.
There are other characters, Kennedy I guess would be the Queen Bee and yeah she's a bitch, but she's got another side to her something very unexpected that Angie stumbles upon and it makes me view her in a much different light. Then there is Mr. Hart, Lizzie's dad. He comes across as broken and frail. Angie has always thought of him as nice. But people aren't always what they seem. Just look at her boyfriend Drake. Drake who participated in betraying Angie but was never branded anything. Only Lizzie. Why is that? Guys get clapped on the back and girls are sluts. There's an interesting guest post with Chelsea Pitcher about slang at Mod Podge Bookshelf that talks about the origins of the word "slut". It's very interesting.
The story goes back and forth before Lizzie's death and back to the present. Diary pages from Lizzie's diary that are mysteriously appearing at school are interspersed throughout the novel. It sounds random, but it isn't. It's very well put together, you're never lost. You always know where, in time, you are and frankly, you need to know those bits of the past to see what leads Angie to the present state she's in.
There are a lot of twists and turns, one thing I thought I had guessed in the very beginning of the story turned out to be true, but the way the story led me, I began to doubt my guess. The final twists make you feel like you're a rock rolling down a hill, no way to stop, they come so fast and each one more hard hitting than the previous one. Thankfully, there is a calm after the storm, and the world rights itself in some ways. Except Lizzie is and always will be gone. And Angie will always miss her.
I think the point is, that things aren't always black and white, people aren't what you label them, a person may be one way with you and another with someone else. You can't fit people in one category. We just don't work that way. We present ourselves to the world as we want to be seen. We hide the ugly bits if we can. Even your best friend may not know the truth about you. Your neighbor you've known for years, may be hiding terrible secrets. Angie finds out that she doesn't know anyone like she thought she did. She'd labeled them and there they stayed. She has to change her plans based on what she finds out about people she thought she knew her whole life. And words, whether they are right or wrong, HURT! They can do irreparable damage. Who cares if you're tough and you can take it? Who cares if you think it's funny? In this novel, to a sensitive soul like Lizzie, it was enough to push her over the edge. Exploring what happens when the bullies become the bullied was a very enlightening way to see that everyone has something they want to keep hidden, something they want to make sure no one knows about them.
The writing was easy, nothing wasted with a bit of snarky humor from Angie as she talks back to people in her head. It's not enough to lighten this otherwise dark look at high school and the aftermath of Lizzie's death.
It's definitely fast and will have you wondering who is behind the "Suicide Slut" written in Lizzie's handwriting on the lockers and even in the boy's bathroom. I had no suspects in mind so was very surprised to find out who the culprit was. This is a great contemporary novel with a dark edge to it and a bit of romance.
Chelsea Pitcher is a native of Portland, OR where she received her BA in English Literature. Fascinated by all things literary, she began gobbling up stories as soon as she could read, and especially enjoys delving into the darker places to see if she can draw out some light.
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