3.54 (1,500 ratings by Goodreads)
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Lizzie wasn't the first student at Verity High School to kill herself this year--but the difference is, she didn't go quietly.

Lizzie's reputation is destroyed when she's caught in bed with her best friend's boyfriend on prom night. With the whole school turned against her, and Angie not speaking to her, she takes her own life. But someone isn't letting her go quietly. As graffiti and photocopies of Lizzie's diary plaster the school, Angie begins a relentless investigation into who, exactly, made Lizzie feel she didn't deserve to keep living. And while she claims she simply wants to punish Lizzie's tormentors, Angie's own anguish over abandoning her best friend will drive her deep into the dark, twisted side of Verity High--and she might not be able to pull herself back out.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 137.16 x 213.36 x 25.4mm | 226.8g
  • Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Original
  • 1451695160
  • 9781451695168
  • 630,683

Review quote

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.-- "Publisher's Weekly"
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Rating details

1,500 ratings
3.54 out of 5 stars
5 25% (379)
4 29% (428)
3 27% (403)
2 14% (204)
1 6% (86)

Our customer reviews

The S-Word was one of those books that is going to stay with me for a long time to come and I'm still trying to gather my wits about me so if my review seems jumbled and vague my apologies. This was such an intricate novel that I don't want to give anything major away. For those of you that have been reading my blog for awhile you know that contemporary YA novels are not my most favourite books so I surprised myself for signing up for this tour in an effort to expose myself to new authors and get into other genres more. The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher was a realistic read that brought me back to my high school days (which are only 5 years behind me). The characters were very life like and some of them had me questioning weather the author had plucked people out of my past but that just goes to show that the high school experience is one that is similar no matter where you grow up. The book was a heavy read and a pretty powerful one at that. The darkness, sadness and cruelty of the story line as well as the characters the author created. I wasn't expecting this one to turn out like it did even though I had seen review of it before and read the summary it still surprised me but I was most surprised by my reaction to it. I really felt for Lizzie and Angie. Lizzie I felt bad for that she turned to suicide as the answer and Angie I felt bad for because she was left reeling from the suicide of her best friend, guilt for turning her back on her as well as the pressure she puts on herself investigating what drove her beloved Lizzie to kill herself. When I finished the book the one thing I thought of was that it reminded me of a spiders-web. There were many seemingly unimportant threads on the outside the worked their way into the center of the web in the for of the overall plot line and I was really surprised by the complexity of it all because I wasn't expecting such a high level of skill from a debut author. Emotional, raw and slightly unforgiving I thought this was a good read with good main characters and an above average plot line. My only issue with it was that it was a little too clichéd at times and I wish that a couple of the side characters had been slightly more developed. Despite the dark subject matter I thought it was a very good read. I would highly recommend this book to fans of the contemporary young adult genre especially if you're in the market for an emotionally gritty novel dealing with teen suicide, the horrors of high school for today's teens and looking for a unique read. *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my free and honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are 100% my own.show more
by Kimberly Roy
First for the characters- There is Angie the one that's left behind with a mountain of unanswered questions, guilt, grief, blame, anger and self loathing. She is like an avenging angel and no one is immune to her vigilante justice. She is out to punish anyone that she thinks was involved in hurting her best friend, Lizzie, and that contributed to her state of mind, making her take her life. And Angie is not in denial. She knows she had a hand in this as well, she just wants some kind of justice. So she goes digging. She's headed down a dark path of self destruction because she can't forgive herself for not forgiving her best friend. Jesse was Lizzie's friend in those final weeks between prom and her death. They had drama together and worked on the costumes for the play that Lizzie had the lead in, a play by Shakespeare. Jesse who is the head of the Gay-Straight Alliance and wears tutus with his pants, is often the victim of bullying, something else he and Lizzie had in common those last few weeks and ends up a reluctant partner in Angie's plans. But he also has a big heart, a big secret and worries over Angie losing herself, becoming worse than "them" or hurting herself. Jesse is a really great character, funny when needed, comforting when needed and surprising in the best way. There are other characters, Kennedy I guess would be the Queen Bee and yeah she's a bitch, but she's got another side to her something very unexpected that Angie stumbles upon and it makes me view her in a much different light. Then there is Mr. Hart, Lizzie's dad. He comes across as broken and frail. Angie has always thought of him as nice. But people aren't always what they seem. Just look at her boyfriend Drake. Drake who participated in betraying Angie but was never branded anything. Only Lizzie. Why is that? Guys get clapped on the back and girls are *****. There's an interesting guest post with Chelsea Pitcher about slang at Mod Podge Bookshelf that talks about the origins of the word "****". It's very interesting. The Story- The story goes back and forth before Lizzie's death and back to the present. Diary pages from Lizzie's diary that are mysteriously appearing at school are interspersed throughout the novel. It sounds random, but it isn't. It's very well put together, you're never lost. You always know where, in time, you are and frankly, you need to know those bits of the past to see what leads Angie to the present state she's in. There are a lot of twists and turns, one thing I thought I had guessed in the very beginning of the story turned out to be true, but the way the story led me, I began to doubt my guess. The final twists make you feel like you're a rock rolling down a hill, no way to stop, they come so fast and each one more hard hitting than the previous one. Thankfully, there is a calm after the storm, and the world rights itself in some ways. Except Lizzie is and always will be gone. And Angie will always miss her. My Opinion- I think the point is, that things aren't always black and white, people aren't what you label them, a person may be one way with you and another with someone else. You can't fit people in one category. We just don't work that way. We present ourselves to the world as we want to be seen. We hide the ugly bits if we can. Even your best friend may not know the truth about you. Your neighbor you've known for years, may be hiding terrible secrets. Angie finds out that she doesn't know anyone like she thought she did. She'd labeled them and there they stayed. She has to change her plans based on what she finds out about people she thought she knew her whole life. And words, whether they are right or wrong, HURT! They can do irreparable damage. Who cares if you're tough and you can take it? Who cares if you think it's funny? In this novel, to a sensitive soul like Lizzie, it was enough to push her over the edge. Exploring what happens when the bullies become the bullied was a very enlightening way to see that everyone has something they want to keep hidden, something they want to make sure no one knows about them. The writing was easy, nothing wasted with a bit of snarky humor from Angie as she talks back to people in her head. It's not enough to lighten this otherwise dark look at high school and the aftermath of Lizzie's death. It's definitely fast and will have you wondering who is behind the "Suicide ****" written in Lizzie's handwriting on the lockers and even in the boy's bathroom. I had no suspects in mind so was very surprised to find out who the culprit was. This is a great contemporary novel with a dark edge to it and a bit of romance.show more
by Heather Rosdol
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Gallery Books and Edelweiss.) Lizzie is dead. She killed herself because everyone branded her a **** after she was caught having sex with her best friend Angie's boyfriend the night of the prom. Now Angie is taking it upon herself to work out who led the bullying towards Lizzie, and who is therefore to blame for her death. When photocopies of Lizzie's diary then begin showing up in people's lockers at school, Angie starts collecting them and reading them to try and understand what was going on in Lizzie's head. What really happened prom night though? Why was Lizzie with Angie's boyfriend? And why does Lizzie's betrayal feel like the biggest betrayal of all? I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book. First of all, the first word that comes to my mind when someone says 'the s-word' is something that sounds more like 'shi*' than '****', so it wasn't obvious to me what this book was about just from the title, and the cover doesn't tell you anything either. I very nearly never gave this book a second glance, so to the lovely publishers - you could really do with changing this cover. Angie feels a bit guilty of Lizzie's death, partly because she never stopped the girls who were bullying Lizzie, and partly because, as it was Angie's boyfriend that Lizzie was cheating with, the people were kind of sticking up for her by bullying Lizzie. Angie and Lizzie were also best friends, and Angie doesn't understand why Lizzie never tried to explain her behaviour to her, so the investigation is slightly a way to deal with her own questions. To me this book seemed like a cross between '34 pieces of you' and 'The Super Spies and the cat lady killer'. Angie thought that it was up to her to work out what had happened to Lizzie, and so she started playing detective. I think she knew that Lizzie had committed suicide, so it wasn't a who-done-it sort of situation, but instead it was a 'who drove her to it?' situation. I liked Angie, but I didn't fall in love with her. She came across a little immature, and I also wondered why she hadn't spoken to Lizzie after catching her having sex with her boyfriend. I would have expected her to have had a go at her at least, but it turned out she hadn't even spoken to her between catching her, and her death. If she had, she might not have had to have lost her best friend the way she did. The person I felt sorriest for was Lizzie herself. I really didn't think that she deserved the treatment that she got, but then I guess that's high-school for you. The story itself felt a little disjointed to me, and just didn't seem to flow very well. I did kind-of guess what the twist was at the end, although there were other parts of the plot that I didn't guess. Overall this book was okay, but I think it's probably intended for a slightly younger teen audience. I would probably recommend '34 pieces of you' if you want a book about teen suicide, or 'The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer' if you want a teen mystery. 6 out of 10.show more
by Sarah Elizabeth
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