Novel: Tease by Amanda Maciel | Goodreads
Release Date: April 29th, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: BookPeople Teen Reviewing
From debut author Amanda Maciel comes a provocative and unforgettable novel, inspired by real-life incidents, about a teenage girl who faces criminal charges for bullying after a classmate commits suicide.
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.
The interesting thing about this book is that it’s a hard book to love.
As much as I want to love it, and profess my undying love for not only the message but also the book itself, I can’t. And I think that’s because Sara is such a hard character to like. I wanted to yell at her about 100 times while reading this. But, I think as hard as it is to read about a character like that, it’s also a good thing to do, because guess what? There’s people like them in our world. There are people like Sara who bullying others and don’t understand that they did anything wrong.
Tease focuses on Sara’s life after Emma kills herself, which for the most part consists of lawyers, therapy, and being bound to her house. The book flips between the present and the past, with all of the past moments being ones that would eventually lead to either Sara making decisions to bully Emma or the actual bullying in action. (I actually have a real problem with books that flip to the past and present so I struggled with this part of the book.) Through this parallel storyline though, you get to know the entirety of Sara’s character, and also see her motivation in action. As the reader you can see the horrible things Sara did from a more neutral point of view rather than just Sara’s description of the events.
The importance of Tease is that it happens. This book is based on true events, and I think that is what is both so difficult and also what is so important about it. Bullying stories like this happen everyday, but we also see the people who bully as these monsters, and in Tease you see them as people. You understand them, as painful as it is. And that is what is so important about this book, and why you should read it.
*Teachers/Librarians: I highly recommend incorporating this into your curriculum and/or purchasing it for your library when it is released. I read Speak for an English class, and I would choose this book over Speak because it is more relevant.*