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Tease by Amanda Maciel - review

"We didn't mean to hurt anyone."

Title: Tease
Author: Amanda Maciel

Publisher: Hachette Children's Books
Source: ARC via Netgalley
Available: May 1st 2014
Buy it: Pre-order here

Synopsis

Emma Putnam is dead. She killed herself and now her parents are going to court to accuse the people who they believe are responsible for her death. One of those people is Sara Wharton. However, Sara feels the whole thing is unfair - she isn't a bully, she's actually, in her opinion, the victim in all of this. Or is she?

Review

I have never, in all my years of reading, had such a turn-around of opinion on one book as I did with Tease. I almost didn't finish it. At 10% I was ready to put it down and move on to the next book. I found the main character and protagonist, Sara, completely unlikeable to the point of irritation; she was obstinate, selfish, brash... and then something happened. Every time I told myself I would stop at the end of the paragraph, I would find myself reaching the end of a chapter... and so on, until at about 15/20% I was hooked.

The fact is, character development in Tease soars through the roof. Slowly, I was warming to Sara - and what got me through those first difficult sections was the unflinching storyline. I needed to know what happened. Whether I liked the people telling me or not, I wanted to know how this book ended.

Tease is not a comfortable read. Amanda Maciel places the reader in the mind of a very impressionable girl under some very serious circumstances. Accused of bullying Emma to the point of suicide alongside her high school friendship group, Sara recounts the moments that lead to the day she heard of the news of Emma's death. It is the uncensored, totally believable, decent into peer pressure of a young girl wanting to escape the weight of family life on her shoulders.

Tease won't be for everyone, but I think the unique POV given by Sara is an important look at the causes of bullying, and may help alert some young people to the dangers of how their actions can be interpreted differently by others outside of their "bubble".

Overall

A daring and gripping novel that presents some uncomfortable questions and bristly characters to the reader. I was initially luke-warm to this book but after the 15% mark I was hooked. Maciel may receive a lot of criticism for what she has done with Tease, but I feel this is a book that needs to be read.

Score 
★★★

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