Monday, April 28, 2014

Tease Blog Tour: Review

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.
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, really enjoyed Tease. In my opinion the #1 sign of a good book is one that leaves you thinking long after you finish the final page. Tease is one such novel. 

The interesting thing about Tease is that it isn't written from the victim perspective. More interesting, is the fact that it's written from the bully's perspective and most of what we know about the victim is from the bully. 

Sara is a very complex character and I found myself struggling to figure out who she really was. What motivated her actions? Was she truly an awful person or just a girl that was easily led? Was she simply jealous of Emma or angry that Emma was trying to steal her boyfriend? Did it matter what motivated her? Was she redeemable? Did Sara truly think she did nothing wrong? Did Sara really blame Emma for ruining her life or was it herself she was angry at? All of these are questions I faced when thinking about Sara. 

Emma is described by Sara as being a beautiful girl that shows up and starts sleeping with everyone's boyfriend. I mean, really, if you start a new school and automatically start sleeping with other people's boyfriend you can't really expect a big welcoming party. They are in high school and let's face it high school girls don't like for people to sleep with their boyfriend. Heck, adult women don't like for women to sleep with their boyfriend. HOWEVER, and that is a very big all caps however, that doesn't excuse what Sara and Brielle did. Plus, you begin to see that maybe, Sara's opinion of Emma isn't as true as you once thought. 

Still, despite everything, I did like Sara. She wasn't unredeemable. She was young and a teenager and throughout the novel you see Sara change. The changes are small at first but by the end of the novel it is obvious that Sara did learn from her mistakes. 

As for the other characters in this story, I wasn't a fan of either Dylan or Brielle. Dylan was a crappy boyfriend, in my opinion, and Brielle was a complete mean girl. Carmichael was a breath of fresh air and I was thankful for his presence. He sees the good in Sara even when Sara didn't.

Overall, I thought Tease was a thought-provoking novel that casts a new light on bullying. It shows bullying from the other side of the table.  My takeaways from this book are that sometimes things aren't cut and dry. You can't just label someone as bad and someone as good. You can't label someone a slut or a bully. We aren't ever just one thing. We are a bunch of different things rolled up into one and I think a lot of times we forget that. Tease is a book that will make you question everything and will stay with you long after you are finished.

Amanda Maciel has worked in book publishing since graduating from Mount Holyoke College and is currently a senior editor at Scholastic. She spends her free time writing, running, or riding the subway with her young son. She lives with him, her husband, and their cat, Ruby, in Brooklyn, New York. Tease is her first novel.


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