The S-Word

Chelsea Pitcher. S&S/Gallery, $10.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-4516-9516-8
Debut author Pitcher explores the consequences of bullying and social stigmatizing with swagger in this noirish mystery. When Angie's boyfriend cheats on her with her best friend Lizzie, Angie is devastated and ends their friendship—never expecting that Lizzie will be branded a slut (someone repeatedly writes the word on her car and locker) and driven to suicide. Following Lizzie's death, the graffiti reemerges; eerily, the handwriting mimics Lizzie's and reads, "suicide slut." Pages stolen from Lizzie's diary also find their way into students' lockers (and into sections of the book). Angie launches a covert investigation, and her interrogations of her suspects—including a femme fatale who reclines on pianos in the drama department when she's not running the newspaper, a misogynistic math geek, and a hard-drinking cheerleader—put a playful spin on the detective genre. When Angie is immersed in her role as sleuth, her cynicism and blasé attitude toward school can come across as phony, but the vulnerability shown when she falls for a cross-dressing outsider and her reflections on her friendship with Lizzie soften the hardboiled edges. Ages 14–up. Agent: Sandy Lu, L. Perkins Agency. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/13/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
Genre: Children's
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4516-9517-5
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