Wednesday, 11 June 2014

TEASE

Tease by Amanda Maciel

Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault.

At least, that's what everyone seems to think when 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. But Sara is sure she hasn't done anything wrong, because Emma brought it on herself. Sara is adamant that she was the victim - not Emma.

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Okay, I read this several weeks ago and just didn't have a chance to review it until now, so you'll have to forgive me for being a little vague - I really don't remember it very well. And that probably says a lot about the book itself, it didn't really stand out to me.

The topic really interested me, it's the reason I bought the book without having read a single review of it. (By the way, reading reviews probably wouldn't have helped - the ones I've read since have all been positive.) Sara and her friends are accused of bullying Emma until she commits suicide. They're being prosecuted for that. The thing is, I don't really understand how someone can be prosecuted for that. I mean, what exactly are they being charged with? As the core of the story, I expected to know the answer to that question by the end of the book. I did not.

My problem wasn't so much with the story as it was with the writing. I found it kind of slow and really not very engaging. I didn't warm to Sara - either as a person or a character - or any of the others. Not even Emma, and I always react strongly to characters being bullied. There was no life in any of them, they were like cardboard cutouts of stereotypical teenagers. And they were in an environment you wouldn't necessarily expect, courtrooms and the offices of lawyers and therapists, so there should have been something new and interesting there for me to read.

Speaking of which, I often felt that I was reading the most dull parts of the story, that there were much more interesting scenes I could be reading about. That the author was focusing on the wrong bits. I'm sure that's just a personal preference and that others won't have the same experience - because the book's not badly-written - it just wasn't right for me. The focus was off. Maybe alternating chapters with another character would have helped - hearing from Emma would have been good, I think - but honestly, I just found this read to be a long, hard slog. The courtroom scene at the end was pretty moving, though, a sign of what could have been. The potential that this book could have had. It's a shame, really.



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