Author Amanda Maciel
Release Date April 29, 2014
Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault. 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. In 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 own 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.
With its powerful narrative, unconventional point of view, and strong anti-bullying theme, this coming-of-age story offers smart, insightful, and nuanced views on high school society, toxic friendships, and family relationships.
After I finished reading Tease and before writing this review, I read some reviews on Goodreads. I noticed some people say that the reason they didn't enjoy this book was because of Sara being such an unlikeable character. Well... duh! She's selfish and cruel and, frankly, thoughtless. She wasn't supposed to be the likeable best friend character. She was supposed to be the realistic mean girl. And while part of Sara knows that what she's doing to Emma is wrong, it's the part that bullies Emma that she feeds. After all, it's much more enjoyable to give into the things that make us feel better about ourselves than to admit what we're doing is wrong. So, yes. Sara is completely unlikeable, but I think that should be expected. However...
I think Sara was supposed to viewed as repentant at the of the book, but I didn't really buy it. Her remorse felt very surface and unrealistic. Yes, I believe that she was more apologetic about what happened and the role she played in Emma's death than anyone else, but I have a hard time believing she was truly sorry. There was no moment in the book where she really comes to an understanding about the role she played. It was more of a spontaneous "Oops! I did a bad thing!" than a legitimate realization that she had a hand in causing someone to take their own life.
Overall, I think Tease was a good book (even if the ending didn't work for me). I think it provides a realistic and gritty look at how out of hand bullying can become. While it's not a nice and easy read, it was worth it.
4 out of 5 stars