Monday, 28 April 2014

Review: Tease


Publication Date: May 1st, 2014      

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.


I knew Tease was going to be a hard one to review as soon as I read the synopsis. I usually avoid books with these topics, I think the only other strong one I've read was Thirteen Reasons Why. Bullying in general is more of a taboo subject, and no matter how much campaigning and bringing things to light on bullying, I honestly don't think it makes a difference. Bullying isn't an issue. It's a human issue. It's not just a thing that kids don't understand, it's not just kids on a playground or teenagers in high school, it's adults and work places just alike. But, I do think all that campaigning and bringing to life highlights the fine line between what we think is teasing to bullying. And Tease highlights that perfectly.

It's not just surface, there is other issues brought to light,  along with consistent bullying, it's not just about that. Tease isn't from the perspective of the person being bullied- it's from one of the people being blamed and charged for the bullying that lead the a death. Which, I am so glad for because it shows you that behind the bully, the tease, behind the person being bullied there is also a lot of crap going on in their lives.

Like I said, it's a hard one to review, so I tried to stay a little detached from Tease, and from this review so could write an honest opinion and not a clouded one. Because at some point in all of this I felt sorry for Sara, and I also hated Sara. At some point in all of this I also felt sorry for Emma, but because of Sara's perspective and some of the things Emma did to her too- and you can't exactly dismiss that either, I also hated Emma. The thing is, this is all about perspectives and the roles they play. But, Sara can't all be portrayed the evil and Emma the innocent. Neither were both or either. High schools hard, and it's all about circumstance and the roles you play. Everyone has to take responsibility for that. Maybe it's harsh- maybe it's cruel. Everyone has to take responsibility for what they did- even Emma. There are different sides to the same story, the way things played out, the way things were portrayed, there are always different sides to the same story.
It's easy to say who was right and who was wrong, or who was the poor innocent and who was just plain evil. The thing is this is high school. We've all been there, and let's be honest, a lot of girls are bitches- to put it bluntly. But, it's true. We can all be bitches, and sometimes some more than others, and that's the thing with Tease, the only true hateful bitch in all of it was Brielle. Yeah, Sara didn't help things, and she kind of get led astray- and still towards the end she is extremely hard to like because she sees what she's done is justified and therefore justifies her actions. And that Emma killing herself was on Emma alone. I'm not going to get into the whole suicide debate, so I'll leave that there, but I do think that part of the story could've been handled way differently if we had a better sense of Emma than the perceptions from Sara and Brielle and some of the other characters.

Sara has a warped sense of what she's done, but you can't blame that all on her either because the thing that Tease shows best is the other side of things, Sara's life wasn't perfect. But she wanted it to be, she thought it was but again- that was warped. Because she doesn't have an example. Her father left and created a new family and hardly sees his first lot of children apart from random visits. Her mother is always working and relies on Sara way too much, and I think the way this is shown isn't taking sides but more of a way of understanding. Parents set an example, to teach you wrong from right, to help you become a version of yourself you like, Sara never had that, so she doesn't see what she done was wrong. Get it? I'm not trying to justify Sara's actions- because I continually got frustrated with her and just wanted to shake her and tell her to wake the fuck up. And this s exactly what makes Tease controversial. It doesn't take sides, it's simply showing the other half of the story.
Though Tease is central to bullying it's way more than that. It's telling a story that should be told. It's telling a story that young adults need to read because this is the outcome of  what careless actions can do- what another human beings actions can strive a person to do.

~A proof copy was provided by Hachette Childrens in exchange for an honest review~

 Rating: 4.5/5