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If you gulped through reading or streaming 13 Reasons Why, Tease is the book for you.

Provocative, unforgettable, and inspired by real-life incidents, Amanda Maciel's highly acclaimed debut novel Tease is the story of a teenage girl who faces criminal charges for bullying after a classmate commits suicide. 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.

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.

321 pages, Hardcover

First published April 29, 2014

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About the author

Amanda Maciel

8 books112 followers
Amanda Maciel has worked in book publishing since graduating from Mount Holyoke College and is currently a senior editor at Scholastic. She spends her free time writing, running, or riding the subway with her young son. She lives with him, her husband, and their cat, Ruby, in Brooklyn, New York. Tease is her first novel.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 869 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,964 reviews294k followers
November 22, 2014
Ignore the rating.

This book was almost impossible to rate due to the amount of thoughts - both positive and negative - running through my head when I put it down. I say thoughts and not emotions because I sadly remained rather emotionally detached from the characters despite the strong subject matter. The fact is... Tease is an ambitious book that will likely piss off a lot of people because the author refuses to take sides, even when presenting us with a narrator that is increasingly difficult to like and relate to. But that wasn't a problem for me, I thought it was one of the book's better aspects.

The story is an old one from a new perspective. It's about high school bullies and cliques: the mean girls and their sidekicks, their boyfriends, and "the slut" who attempts to interfere with their reign. Emma Putnam is known as the school slut and this book starts where she has just committed suicide after being repeatedly targeted and harrassed by Brielle and Sara. Sara is our narrator and the sidekick of the meanest girl in school - Brielle. The thing is, she never really understood the consequences of her actions and she never meant for Emma Putnam to die... but at the same time, she isn't apologetic for her own actions either and believe she was justified in attacking Emma because she was a "boyfriend-stealing slut".

This book starts to do something really interesting by painting us a picture of a scene without judgement - I never got the impression that the author was trying to impart a negative view of anyone, and even characters like Brielle had deeper levels and were shown to be victims of school politics and cliquedom, rather than simply evil. It's true that bullies are often scared, lonely and insecure in themselves and this book shows that all teenagers are, but they choose to respond to it differently. Sara was not evil, but acting within the social structure she knew. She is sensitively portrayed as a confused young woman who worries about her image and sex - I think it offers a sad but realistic portrait of what runs through many teen girls' minds when thinking about sex.

There was a lot of potential and power lurking in the shadows of this book. It will anger so many people, I'm sure, because of Sara's unrepentant narrative and the implied message that bullies are not to blame for bullying (something I struggled to accept too). But where the book shines with intent, I think it is also let down by dry storytelling, characters it was hard to give a damn about (not even because they're mean), and a sometimes immature portrayal of the characters. Every now and then, the book would slip into language that felt like what you get when adults write the way they *think* teens speak. "Like, ohmigod, I need to instagram this! And, wow, Twilight!" You get the idea.

I will keep an eye out for more by this author because I like what Maciel was trying to do, but I think I'll wait for the reviews to roll in first.

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Profile Image for Faye, la Patata.
492 reviews2,115 followers
November 22, 2014
"She asked for it."

"It didn't have to happen if she didn't do this... if she didn't do that..."

"We didn't kill her. She did this to herself."

How many times have we seen these excuses being said by bullies and perpetrators, in defense of their horrible actions? How many times have we read these kinds of comments by people on the internet, heavy words easily thrown under the veil of anonymity? Too many times, I bet. Once is already too much. And every time I stumble upon such words, such implications, I feel dark and empty inside, and I wonder if the people in our society are devolving into hideous monsters who have no ounce of compassion in their veins.

So to read a book about bullying, about slut-shaming, from the perspective of a bully and a slut-shamer, was... a different kind of experience. I can't describe it, but let's just say that after reading this book, I felt like showering myself ten times over.

Sara Wharton is about to go on trial. A schoolmate of hers, beautiful Emma Putnam with her fiery red hair, was found dead in the garage of her parents' house. She committed suicide, a tragic end that was the result of months and months of harassing and bullying online and offline from the clutches of Sara, her best friend Queen Bee Brielle, and the rest of their group. Because of her death, Sara believes her life is over. She lost friends. She lost her boyfriend. Her life was ruined. Why does everyone hate her now? She never wanted this to happen. She never wanted Emma to kill herself. All she wanted was for "slutty" Emma to leave her and her boyfriend alone. However, she is about to realize, that maybe, just maybe, things are not that simple.

Tease  was hard to read, especially the first 80-90%. I've read a lot of bullying books before, but it has always been in the perspective of the victim, making the characters easier to sympathize with. This book was different in that sense, as we see the story unfold from the perspective of a bully, someone who showed a complete lack of remorse of what she has done, someone who couldn't see beyond herself. She wanted to please everyone in her circle, especially Brielle,  to the point that she had sex with her boyfriend so they can have something in common, to the point of bullying Emma just to keep up with Queen Bee. For many years, she has stayed in her best friend's shadow as her sidekick. Brielle says "skank!", she echoes it. Brielle says "whore!", she repeats it. Brielle calls someone a "bitch slut", she doesn't hesitate to call that someone the same names, too. And every time she does, she feels powerful. Like she finally has an advantage over someone. Like she can control them through the words she uses, through the actions she does. She gets a thrill out of it. Who knew making someone fear you was so easy? Just say a few things on Facebook, make fake profiles on Twitter, and you can change someone's outlook in life. Just with a click. Just with a few minutes. And then that someone turns up dead the next day.

You can see why I felt dirty while reading Sara's thoughts. She was so hard to like. I hated how for the majority of the book, she kept thinking she wasn't in the wrong. So what if she bullied Emma? Emma started it! It didn't have to happen if Emma didn't steal her boyfriend! Emma didn't have to end her life if she didn't allow what happened to affect her! Excuses after excuses after excuses... her internal monologue was largely disturbing and uncomfortable, and I thought to myself, "is this what bullies think when they get caught? That it's the victim's fault for being bullied?"

And the thing is, it's probably what some of them think. And it's probably encouraged by their peers, and because of that, they find themselves blameless. It illustrates to us the possible reasons why there is so much victim-shaming and slut-shaming up to this day. Everyone knew Emma was being bullied, and yet no one really stopped it. Since Sara and Brielle were at the top of the high school food chain, almost everyone followed their lead. Not to mention, the lack of parental figures to help the teenager's morals also was a factor. If there's no adult to lead you, to help you, to answer your questions, you turn to your peers. It's not always the case, but sometimes, they're the bad influence. 

There was a scene later in the book where Sara's absent father was scolding her for not being accountable for her actions. He reprimanded her for being such a child, and that she should grow up. Sara, hurt, replied with tears (non-verbatim), "Maybe I am a child, have you ever thought of that? There was no one there to help me grow up."

One thing is for sure, this book made me think a lot about today's social issues. As a culture, as a society, there is still much for us to learn, so much for us that we need to be aware of. From bullying, to victim-shaming, to slut-shaming... these are things that still run rampant up to this day, and it's such a shame that acts of kindness are more the exemption than the rule. But the thing is, this toxic world that we live in, there are many factors that contribute to its being poisonous. It's true that it's up to the person to choose whether or not to make life hell for someone else, but we've to stop and pause for a while and think why such options seem better for certain people. We have to look at the greater picture. We need to stop thinking small and start thinking big. There are societal structures that could be really improved on to make our environment a better place. It also has to start in the family, the basic unit of society. We need to start being more compassionate. We can't assume that everyone is strong enough to take it all in. We need to start putting ourselves in the other person's shoes before we do anything that could potentially emotionally hurt them. We need to start seeing others as humans, not as rocks void of feelings.

All in all, Tease was a hard book for me to read, and even harder to review. So many thoughts are running through my head, both positive and negative, and I'm unsure if I was able to put them across in this review. But I always appreciate it if a book can push me to think critically and philosophize. Difficult this book may seem to read, it definitely opened my eyes to a very bitter and sad reality. I'll conclude this review with this:

Suicide is stupid? You wanna know what is stupid? Hurting someone so much emotionally, that they think suicide is the only answer

— Macklemore (@ItsMacklemore) March 19, 2013
44 reviews1 follower
November 12, 2013
**Spoilers, rambling and profanity** (honesty too)

October 19, 2021

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UGH. What do I even say about this book? Talking about things I love is so hard because I just want to be like, "It's amazing. Read it." Which is obviously not helpful, but I've already expended SO MUCH BRAIN POWER into the feels this book made me feel, and now I have to relive that all over again as I try to explain in coherent words why you should read this blistering emotional mess of a book.

First, I just want to say that I actually was bullied in high school. My bullying was just as intense as Emma's was and like Emma's, it occurred online and offline. The idea of writing from the bully's POV is not exactly novel and I think far too often it comes across as apologist. What I liked about TEASE is that it's pretty clear (well, to everyone except our MC Sara) that what the "heroine" did was wrong. Is she a total cackling villain of a girl? No, but most bullies aren't. There were shades of nuance to her life and being around her meaner friends made her a much worse person. I think that's probably true. It was the case with my own bullies: one of them was much meaner than the other and the less mean one eventually wrote me a (very nice) apology letter years later saying she was sorry for what she did.

The premise of TEASE is simple and complicated all at once. Emma has taken her own life after months of continuous bullying and now the parents are taking the kids involved to court. There are two timelines. One is in the present day, with the approaching court date. The other is in the past, building up to the inciting event. Emma is a pretty girl who hooks up with a lot of boys-- allegedly. There's definitely some unreliable narrator business going on and it's not exactly clear whether some of these boys are just friends who aren't discrediting the salacious rumors, or, you know, the opposite. Sara and Brielle hate Emma straight out of the gate, but when Emma starts getting close to Sara's boyfriend, Dylan, things start getting really bad. Sara, an insecure mess, can't stand the idea of this pretty girl with the bad reputation hanging out with her man. So she starts to make Sara's life a living hell.

This is paced like a thriller, even though it isn't. The characters all behave like real teens and they talk like real teens and they make bad decisions like real teens. Once I got into the book, I read through it in a single day. Even though I didn't like her as a person, I loved how the heroine of the story was a true morally ambiguous character and I liked how complex the author made her as a person. I think that's part of the reason the reviews for this book are pretty low. Most people want a character they can feel comfortable rooting for and Sara, who is the literal villain in her own story, is anything but that.

If you like YA with mature themes that deep-dives into serious issues, I think you'll really like TEASE. The hilarious blurb for this book on Goodreads says, " If you gulped through reading or streaming 13 Reasons Why, Tease is the book for you." What does "if I GULPED" mean? Like, if I swallowed nervously? I actually think that comparison is kind of bad because 13RW is more of a revenge fantasy and the hero of that book is more of a generic nice guy character. TEASE, on the other hand, feels like it's more about exploring serious issues with nuance while also holding people accountable. One is a vigilante story and the other is an analysis of morality and justice. They feel different to me, IDK.

Anyway, this book was awesome and if you can stomach the content, you should read it.

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,450 reviews7,563 followers
January 8, 2015
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

Boy this little book sure sparked some strong opinions. Here’s the deal. It’s not an easy read. For a YA novel, Tease deals with some really serious issues. Suicide, slut shaming, bullying . . . just about everything nasty that can possibly come out of high school. And the kicker? It’s told from the bad guy’s perspective.

In order to lighten the mood and to confirm I’m sick in the head, I will be using the assistance of the Most Popular Girls in School to enhance this review.

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The synopsis of Tease is as follows: Sarah (and a couple of her peers) find themselves pending criminal charges after another classmate (Emma) commits suicide. The reason? THEY ARE HORRIBLE PEOPLE! Seriously.

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They’re awful. Like most high school bullies, Sarah’s hatred for Emma stems from simple jealousy.

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Sarah starts rumors about Emma being a whore because Sarah’s boyfriend opted to date pretty, nice, sweet Emma rather than her bitch-ass. Sarah and her friends do shit to Emma’s house. They play mean girl pranks on her at school. They accost her at parties. They seek her out in order to belittle her. And they have zero remorse while doing it.

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At no time does Emma ever retaliate. As a reader, I wished there would be one moment of self-preservation for Emma where she just came back at these assholes and unleash the fury . . .

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But since the outcome of the situation was given to me at the onset of the story, I was well aware that was not going to be the case.

Sarah assumes Emma’s lifestyle is something like this:

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When in all actuality, it’s probably something a lot more like this:

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And never bothers to give her a chance or find out the truth.

Tease was a powerful debut and one that I would encourage teenaged girls to read. I look forward to what Amanda Maciel delivers next.
Profile Image for Glass.
643 reviews4 followers
May 12, 2014
You have never read a book like this one. I won't lie and tell you how amazing this book is, that you'll feel as if you just have to read it in one sitting and that you will love a main character. But it is a brilliant book. Amanda Maciel speaks up about the things we'd rather push under the mat and not think about them and she does all that from unexpected point of view. That is the reason why Tease is not an easy book to read.

We need more books like this. If you read only to escape from reality, to swoon over fictional romances and not think about anything relevant for few hours, Tease won't give you that. Told form the perspective of Sara, popular high school student and one of the bullies, this tale will make you think and ask yourself a lot of questions. It might even make you feel really uncomfortable, upset or mad. Few will recognize themselves in the characters, but they won't like that feeling at all. That's why they will say how bad this book is, give it a low rating or ignore it completely because we don't like to admit that we are bad persons. Or bullies. Even if we didn't realize how wrong some of our actions were.

No one is perfect. All the characters in this novel are deeply flawed, even Emma, the girl who was bullied. No one is left blameless - parents, kids, teachers, school head master, family... What I liked the most is that author is giving you a lot of facts and snippets about past and present, but not once she makes you pick sides intentionally - she doesn't push you or make obvious remarks about what is right or wrong. Show, don't tell at its best.

Who should read this book? There are no exceptions with this one. Everyone. I really hope it will be translated on a lot of languages, including mine because I plan to make all of my kids read it.

Review posted at Ja čitam, a ti?

589 reviews1,031 followers
April 18, 2014
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

3.5 stars

I can definitely see where Tease lost it's appeal. It's written from the perspective of a bully--Sara. She's not vaguely sorry about Emma Putnam's suicide. Even though she and her friends are accountable for it according to the public. We have chapters that take us back to the time when Emma Putnam was still alive, but in between we get to see Sara's current life. One that is falling apart fast. It's like she cannot go anywhere without getting a dirty look from a passing stranger. Like she go a day without having to see her lawyers and therapists.
Emma was a boyfriend-stealing bitch right up until the day in March when she killed herself. I didn't do anything wrong, but she totally ruined my life.

Like most people who have read Tease already, I wasn't a huge fan of Sara. She's melodramatic, has a cold heart and is a bitch. She's part of the reason why a girl is dead but Sara doesn't care at all. But, I liked how we got to look into the head of a bully. This was an extremely refreshing premise and I found myself up late trying to see how the book would wrap up in the end. Sara's got a typical teenage personality. She tries whatever she can to climb to the top of the high school food chain and fit in. Heck, she had sex with her boyfriend just so she could be even closer friends with Brielle. Brielle is the Queen Bee. Their friendship is toxic, but also very fascinating in the sense that there are only a few books that have toxic friendships.
"Skank." I think it's Brielle hissing the word for a minute, and then I realise it was me who just said it. It feels good. I say it again. "What a total skank!"

There is a hell lot of slut-shaming in Tease. And a hell lot of carelessness/impulsiveness in the main character. These were probably the main factors that made me cringe. But it's reality. Words like skank, bitch, slut--they get thrown around all the time at most high schools. In Tease, those words are almost on every page. If you really hate it, then this book isn't for you. But I believe that it's important to read about the view of bullying from the bully's mind. And this was exactly that. There are real people in high school who are just like the ones in this novel. And I really appreciate the author for giving this topic a try. In fact, she did a darn awesome job!

A realistic take on bullying and how it effects the victim and the bully, and how careless actions can lead to big problems, Tease is a brilliant novel that needs to be read.

~Thank you Balzer & Bray for sending me this copy!~

Profile Image for Hannah (jellicoereads).
792 reviews152 followers
May 20, 2014
I remember when I was 6, and was in the swimming pool with my cousin and another girl who was on a playdate with us. I dared her to go into the deep end without her armbands on, even though I knew she was a poor swimmer, but I kept taunting her until she did it. My cousin and I got distracted my other things, and when we turned around, the girl was drowning. The adults noticed in time, and rushed her to the hospital.

I still remember it to this day. I also remember that sense of power I had over someone else, even then, even though I was 6 years old.

Fast forward to junior school, and I remember spending lunch hiding in the bathroom. I remember being low on the totem pole of social popularity because I was super pale and clever and didn't have a cellphone like everyone else. I remember that sense of relief when someone else lower than me on the aforementioned poll was picked on. I remember joining in to deflect attention of myself.

Fast forward to high school, and I remember counting down the days until I was out of there. I had some kind of stoic super inner strength, where I just plodded through whatever was thrown at me (figuratively, luckily) and got through it.

Point is, we all have our experiences with bullying, whether it be as victim, bystander or perpetrator, and more often, a combination of both.


The characters in this book are not likeable. In fact, our MC is repugnant. She is vicious, self-righteous, and absolutely blinded to the consequences of her actions. There is slut-shaming and bullying galore. This is not a fun book to read. The MC, Sara, will infuriate you. I see a number of people DNF'd this book for that very reason - an unlikeable, remorseless character.

I'm not sorry. Emma was a boyfriend-stealing bitch right up until the day in March when she killed herself.
I didn't do anything wrong, but she totally ruined my life.

NEVERTHELESS, I think this is an important book to read.

I think it was interesting to see the story told from the bully's perspective, which is quite rare. Obviously, I know that even though most bullies have issues of some sort, that is NEVER a justification for hurting other people.

The depths that Sara and her best friend Brielle go to in order to shame Emma are utterly deplorable.

"Of course he loves you. But boys don't know how to deal with sluts like Emma Putnam. He's used to nice girls like you!"

Female sexuality features front and centre in this novel. Emma is bullied relentlessly by Brielle and Sara for having (or supposedly having) sex with a number of boys, and then "going after" Sara's boyfriend, Dylan. It's the age-old double standard - boys can have sex and be the boss, boys are never the guilty party when cheating, but girls are either sluts or teases, and are hounded for "stealing" boyfriends. FFS. It's 2014, and sadly, we still haven't moved past it.

Although I think it's so important to reframe the narrative of female sexuality - to stop shaming girls - I can't help but think those included to bully would find something else to focus on.

"She was one of those girls, you know, who are always hanging out with guys, who don't have any friends who aren't guys. Because all the other girls at school new she'd steal their boyfriends."

As much as we may dislike Sara, it's important to keep in mind that she's not, as another reviewer pointed out, evil. We see her toxic friendship with Brielle, her desperation to keep everything together, her tenuous grip on her social status, her insecurity. None of this justifies her actions, but it does make them understandable, as unpalatable as we may find it.

This is a hard book to read, but I highly recommend it. And I know it sounds so silly, but I just wish we could all be a little nicer to each other. I wish I could have gone back and told that to my high school self.
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,084 reviews17.5k followers
September 2, 2017
I've decided Amanda Maciel might be one of the most underrated authors ever. After adoring this book and Lucky Girl, I'm beginning to sense a trend; Maciel writes incredibly unlikable protagonists, readers hate them, brilliant books get middling ratings. But man, I wish that weren't the case.

If you've read the blurb, you'll know that this book follows a girl who teased another girl to suicide. I feel like it should be obvious why the main character is unlikable. But wow, I empathized with her so much.

Amanda Maciel gets you so far into Sara's mind. Sara isn't exactly a likable character. Yet by the end, it's hard not to sympathize with her, despite all the despicable things she's done. The real success here is the fact that Sara has believable motivation. Every character here is a victim of a social structure meant to hold girls back. Maciel refuses to either decide Sara was right OR renounce Sara as a fundamentally evil person. This will anger many, but Maciel's ability to present truth without bias is what drew me into this book so much.

I absolutely understand why some will take issue with the slutshaming. It litters this book, and many won't be able to get past that. But I did not get the impression that Maciel agrees with any of the horrible content in this book. This book is about how slutshaming can lead someone to commit suicide.

VERDICT: This may be a super hard book to read, but it's absolutely worth the read.
Profile Image for Molly.
456 reviews128 followers
May 10, 2015
Huge thank you to the publisher for letting me read an advanced copy of this. I'm writing this honest review to say thank you

You're going to either love this or hate this. I've seen A LOT of DNFs and 1-star ratings because people don't like the narrator. She feels no remorse, she's not sorry, she's self-centered. I feel like that's the point of this book though. The narrator, Sara, is part of a group of popular kids who bullied a girl until she killed herself. Sara doesn't understand why she's to blame. She didn't make Emma kill herself. She didn't KILL Emma. She doesn't know why she has to be sorry, why she's the one being attacked now. In her eyes, she's blameless.

I think the biggest reason Sara doesn't feel that she holds any blame is because she was essentially following her best friend through all of the bullying. Sara's the side kick and her best friend is the mean girl. Sara does a lot of shit to keep up with Brielle, from sleeping with her boyfriend to bulling Emma both online and offline. Sara gets a kick out of being powerful, and essentially, anyone who is the bully does. That's why people do it. They want to feel powerful, it makes them feel powerful. And with the internet these days... it's just even easier.

The lack of empathy and remorse Sara and her friends show really highlights a huge problem that has cropped up these past 10 years with young people using facebook and twitter. I remember being harassed on livejournal when I was in college by my roommate and a group of her friends. I've seen my fair-share of online bullying. It makes me sad and sick. But it's just so EASY. And it seems to be getting worse as time goes on.

I liked that this book showed the flip side of the bullying. Most books show what it's like to be the bullied. I've read a lot of mean girl books where the popular girl loses her popularity and gets crushed. The fact that this story led to suicide and was shown from a different perspective made me think a lot. It's hard to think about who is wrong, who is to blame, how should this be handled and fixed.

I liked the ending when Sara does start to feel sorry and remorseful. People make mistakes, teenagers especially. There are no excuses, and she doesn't make a full recovery, she doesn't suddenly become a saint. She essentially learns from her mistakes. And I guess that's all we can hope for, really.

This story is told in first person with alternating chapters taking place in the past and the present. I LOVED this. The winter is when all of the bullying took place and the summer is when the deposition and aftermath took place. I loved the juxtaposition of the two seasons.

The only thing that I would have liked would have been more information about Emma. I never really felt like I had any sense of who she was and how she was feeling. We're told a lot of information, but she's surprisingly absent from the book (no pun intended). I would have liked more characterization for her.

This is another powerful mean girl story that I think fans of Courtney Summers would really enjoy. It also reminds me quite a bit of The Truth About Alice (coming out later this year, which I've already reviewed).
Profile Image for Sarah Churchill.
470 reviews1,174 followers
November 26, 2014
I'd heard great things about this book, and was really looking forward to finally reading it, but I have to say I was a little disappointed. I knew that the main character was likely to be un-likeable, being the bully, but I was also curious to see the story from her perspective.

The problem I had with the character wasn't the fact that she's blind to the damage she's caused, mainly because 'everyone did it', but more her constant whining and childish attitude towards EVERYTHING. The idea of being sued by the family of a girl who committed suicide because of your bullying seems ridiculous to me, but that could be a cultural thing (I've never met anyone who's ever sued a person or company, it's just not a thing in the UK). It does say something about it being based on true events though, so as I said it's more of a cultural difference I think.

My main issues with the book come down to two things; characters and writing. I didn't care about any of the characters. Not a single one. And the writing felt so slow that, more than once, I wasn't even sure I'd be able to finish.

As I said, I know many people who love this book, but it just didn't work for me.
Profile Image for Jeann (Happy Indulgence) .
1,006 reviews3,621 followers
February 5, 2015
Yeah, no. When a book uses the following terms and phrases, I am NOT going to waste any time on it:

"Fat Beyotch."

"He obviously won't be texting Emma Sluts-a-Lot if he's getting the good stuff from you".

"You know they're in Language Arts together...and you know she keeps hooking up with Jacob and Tyler, and you know she's a dirty skank. Don't assume she's not creeping up on your man."

Slut shaming to the nth degree.

"The debate, more like, over whether I should lose my virginity to Dylan at the part - or, like, after the party, I guess, possibly in Brielle's guest room - or not".

When all a character worries about is kissing guys, losing her virginity and stupid high school drama, and it's written in such a painful, juvenile and self-obssessed manner, I just don't want to care.

Oh, wait, I don't have to.

DNF'd at 5%.
Profile Image for Elle G. Reads.
1,557 reviews740 followers
January 3, 2017
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Fiction

I find myself at a loss for words when reviewing this book because it is extremely unconventional. The subject matter of bullying is the main theme of this book of course, but rather than focusing on how the victim feels and lives through the torment, we are taken into the mind of the teenage bully herself, Sara. This is very clever on the authors part however, readers are going to find it very hard to relate and connect with the character simply because it was her actions (along with her friends) that lead to the suicide of a classmate whose name is Emma. There were many points in this book where I shook my head and even moments when I wanted to stop reading it because Sara is such an unlikeable character, but I kept reading anyway to see where everything would go. Was I disappointed? Yes and no. Yes because I felt like the ending was kind of a letdown – I wanted more justice than what was served - and no because it was so interesting to be able to get into the mind of the tormentor (which is rarely done in any books) and see how and why things progressed as they did.

With that being said, this book really does a great job at diving into the minds of teenagers. Sure, many of us were not bullies in high school, but seeing the driving force behind everything in this novel made sense for the age. Adolescence after all, is a really hard time for many people, and when someone is stealing your boyfriend and screwing with your clique you are bound to do something unimaginable. Right? In high school, this is common. Everything seems more grandiose and life threatening at this age, and the author does a wonderful job of bringing this to life. Just be aware that if you do read this book that there is a lot of “slut shaming” and nastiness that will ooze from these characters. It may not be pretty, but think back to high school. I am sure some of you will remember exactly what that was like and how teenagers acted and ran off their mouths whether it be true or not. The author doesn’t seem to be condoning this behavior but she sure writes it as if she lived it herself to and I commend her for that.

Overall, this is not an easy read and I am sure you will either love it or hate it. There really is no in between. But, because I am a reviewer I wanted to make sure that I understood the point of the story and where the author was going when she wrote it, so I remained partial to the story until I could come to grips with what I was reading. Now, for me this could have been a 5 star review because of its uniqueness and the message the author was portraying, but because the characters came off a little dry and immature (yes, I know this is normal for the age) I had to go down a star. But believe me when I say this, the story is very good ESPECIALLY because it’s so unlikable. This may not make sense to you, but when you read it you will know what I mean.

Rating: 4 stars
Profile Image for Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Books).
505 reviews345 followers
April 28, 2014
I. Loved. This. Book.

Sara, her BFF Brielle, and three boys that they are friendly with are all in big trouble. Emma Putnam committed suicide and the blame is being placed solely on them. They are all being charged with bullying, harassment, stalking, and/or assault. Sure Sara didn't like Emma. Yes she maybe said and did some mean things to her. Yes it was her goal in life to get Emma to transfer out of their school. But did she force the girl to kill herself?? Did she put the rope around the girl's neck? And why doesn't everyone see that Emma isn't exactly the angelic martyr that the media is making her out to be? She had flaws too. She did some things that were not so nice herself.

As the trial nears, Sara is finding out that being branded a bully and a villian is a lonely existance. Her whole life exists in a lawyer's office, visits to her therapist, summer school, and the agonizing wait to see exactly what sort of consequences her actions will have.

My Thoughts:
Amazing book!!! I really connected with this book in a big way. It's about mean girls, and the other side of the story. Not the victim's side... the other side. Because every story has 2 sides right? And the thing is, if I read this from the victim's side, I probably would have HATED Brielle and Sara with a passion. But reading it from their side... I didn't hate them at all. I freaking related. I remember being in high school... people were not nice to me at times and I was not nice to them. And yeah it usually was over some guy. I remember feeling exactly like Sara when it came to boys. Like having a boyfriend and being with someone who is considered "cool" meant everything. How my whole freaking day would hinge on whether I got a call or an IM (yeah texting didn't exist back then) from whatever guy I was into. To think about how much energy and emotion I wasted on such dumb relationships honestly exhausts me.

I've seen a lot of bad reviews for this book and mostly it's because people are appalled at Sara not having remorse for what she did to Emma. And I see where they are coming from... but I also think it is unrealistic to believe that everybody in this type of situation would instantly feel responsibility. Sara did not kill Emma. Emma killed herself... and a lot of the reason why Emma killed herself had to do with things she did to make herself a target. If you go after the popular girl's boyfriend and CHEAT with him... you have to expect some backlash. I didn't agree with what Sara and Brielle did to Emma all the time, but I can see why they were pissed at Emma.

A main focus in this book is the friendship between Brielle and Sara. How Brielle is the dominant friend and Sara is always tip-toeing around her. Wanting to still be Brielle's favorite friend, wanting to be in the in-group, wanting Brielle's approval for whatever reason. Holy shit can I relate. I had a friend A LOT like Brielle. She wasn't the queen bee of our school (she didn't even go to my school), but I always felt like I had to be careful around her. And we weren't nice girls. If someone went against us, we held a grudge. I wouldn't say that we were bullies, but we definitely had a few battles with other girls for various reasons (like I said earlier, mostly over some guy).

I loved everything about this book. I loved how it wasn't stereotypical victim-loving. I loved the writing and the dialogue. And I loved how this felt like real high school. Sometimes I felt uncomfortable relating to these "mean girls". And I can't lie, sometimes I really hated Emma as well. She definitely didn't do herself any favors. But I think that's the whole point of the book, to show you that this kind of stuff is complicated. There is no black and white sometimes.

OVERALL: A book about bullying that shows you the flip-side. It's not about the bullying victim, it's about the bullies. It shows how life isn't always black and white, good and bad. I want everyone to read this because I think it shows a really important perspective. It gets a conversation going at the very least.

My Blog:

Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,728 reviews1,279 followers
May 4, 2017
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)
17-year-old Sara didn’t want Emma Putnam to kill herself, she just wanted her to stop sleeping with her boyfriend, but that’s not the way the general public saw things when Emma committed suicide.
Did Sara’s bullying lead to Emma’s death though? And should Sara and her friends be held responsible?

This was an interesting story about bullying, but I could definitely see both sides of the story.

Sara was quiet a hard character. She believed that she was in the right, and while she didn’t want Emma to kill herself, she still thought that Emma had brought the bullying on herself for sleeping with other people’s boyfriends, which to be quite honest, she kind-of did.

The storyline in this was pretty good. I know a lot of other people haven’t liked this book, but I did. I was really interested to find out what exactly had been going on, and how Emma came to commit suicide, and while the bullying was bad at times, I liked how we saw things from the bully’s perspective rather than the victims. At face value it may have seemed that Sara and her friends were just bullying Emma, but for Sara it wasn’t that simple.

This is where I can see both sides of the story; because yes – Sara was calling Emma nasty names on facebook, and pulling mean pranks on her, but also – Emma was flirting with, and having sex with Sara’s boyfriend behind her back. Okay, Sara should maybe have gotten angry with her boyfriend as well as Emma, but when Emma was going around sleeping with as many boys as possible, you can see why Sara was annoyed.
I think a lot of the problems in this book were due to peer pressure, because Sara most likely would not have thought up these pranks on her own, and she wouldn’t have spent an hour calling Emma names on facebook if there was nobody else around encouraging her to go on.

I think this book could have been improved if we’d had access to Emma’s point of view as well. I felt like I was only getting half of the story all the time, as who knows if the information Sara was getting about Emma was really true? Did Emma sleep with Dylan? Who instigated it? Was Emma really going around sleeping with as many boys as possible? Was she doing this for attention? Or was she purposely trying to hurt the girls that the guys were dating? Were there any signs that Emma was suicidal? Could someone have prevented her suicide somehow?

The ending to this was satisfactory, although we didn’t find out 100% what punishment the girls received for their part in driving Emma to suicide. I did enjoy this book though, and I would definitely read another book by this author.
Overall; an interesting story about bullying.
8 out of 10.
Profile Image for Angela Auten.
Author 6 books124 followers
January 1, 2019
Tease Review

Book Rating: 1 star out of 5.

Story Line: 1 star out of 5. I really disliked this book a lot. I'm really annoyed I even invested time in this book. The book goes back and forth between past and present. Before Emma Putnam killed herself and the aftermath. Sara Wharton, Brielle Greggs, and a few other students are responsible for her death. Sara doesn't believe it's her fault. Well, it is.

She didn't know how she as making Emma feel. Her and her stupid best friend, Brielle, were the main ones bullying Emma. I was super angry when they went into the past chapters. You saw what they did to her. They did so many messed up things. They cornered her in the locker room. Sara pushed her up against the locker. They put a poster in her front yard calling her a slut on it. They sent her 50 flowers from a whole bunch of boys they are sure she hooked up with. They made a Facebook page using her picture. They named the page "Fat Beyotch". The night before Emma died...they posted so many hurtful words on her Facebook.

The only reason that they were bullying her was because apparently she was stealing people's boyfriends. I really didn't believe anything that Sara and Brielle said throughout the whole story. I don't think Emma was sleeping with every guy she saw. Dylan, Sara's ex-boyfriend, actually liked her. Dylan did break up with Sara to be with Emma. That's another reason she started bullying her.

The only positive thing I can say about this book is I liked her brothers and Braden Carmichael that's it.

I just really can't with this book. It was horrible.

Never blame the victim for taking their own life. Sometimes it's the actions of others that push them to the edge. You never really know what someone is going through. You should take a moment to walk in their shoes before you do something to harm them.

Characters: 1 star out of 5. I'm not going to go into detail because I really hated almost all the characters in this book.

Writing Style: 1 star. I didn't like the annoying writing style in this book. I'm going to give this author another chance before I drop her work entirely.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for reemi ♡.
43 reviews1 follower
February 27, 2015
This book made me get in a lot of trouble just because of the title of the book. If you don't speak arabic you won't get it. I'm going to tell you my first incident.
So mom asked me what book I was reading and I told her. my older brother was in the room with us and he gave me this "WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU SAY?" look, and i swear to god I almost shit my pants!! I had to explain to him that it was not what he thought it meant. IT WAS FRICKEN HORRIBLE OMG!

Back to my review, it took me seven days to finish this crappy book. I'm not gonna lie but I hate this book (sorry), i fricken hate it. Sara doesn't change after what she had done, not enough. Throughout the entire book she doesnt get it and remains clueless. I was very disappointed by the ending. In all honesty, I wish I hadn't picked this book up at all. There isn't much at all to redeem it.
Profile Image for rachel.
751 reviews146 followers
July 6, 2014
Welp, this is a timely read considering that parts of the internet are upset over that Slate article about why adults reading YA should be ashamed of themselves. The author's main argument is that YA lit is simplistic, often wraps up neatly, and is not representative of real life. Generally I agree with that assessment for widely popular YA (though it hasn't occurred to me since I was probably 20 to assign a value judgment on what other people like to read, so way to give a good impression of "literary" "mature" 30-44 year olds, Ruth Graham, ffs).

But then here comes Tease with an unlikeable main character in Sara, who swears to the end that even though she is sorry that the girl she bullied committed suicide, she won't accept responsibility for the death. Sara has moments of supreme selfishness -- for example, her first sadness upon hearing of Emma Putnam's suicide is that her ex-boyfriend Dylan will never talk to her again. She rationalizes her bullying because she feels that Emma made her suffer THE MOST so it's only natural for her and her best friend to write SLUT on Emma's locker and put a nasty Valentine heart on her front lawn and absolutely spam her Facebook wall with hateful shit.

I can't agree with general consensus that Sara "should have been" sorry or likeable. Sara's moments of selfishness reflect a very real teenager. I take public transport in the city, where I see and hear groups of teenage girls all the time. They can be mean, talking about who's ugly but trying to look hot or who is "gross" or "fat" or what have you. I respect that Amanda Maciel didn't write an obvious, simplistic story about a selfish-by-nature teen acting truly awful until there are consequences and then insta-repenting. It happens sometimes I'm sure, but let's be real: it's unrealistic. Portraying it for what it is to be a selfish teenager should (hopefully) raise questions for the book's teenage audience, help them reflect on how their behavior affects others.

So yeah...Sara's being unlikeable is not why Tease gets only two stars from me. It's only an OKread because Sara's present day life (especially with her family) seemed unremarkable and like many other things I have read and been bored by before. There is also a tepid half-romance with another social pariah, a Breakfast Club turn that has been done many times before and probably didn't need ~75 pages of the book dedicated to its development. All of the characters except Sara and Emma run a little flat or cliched, and Emma's depression is not really explored in as much detail as I would have liked. And, the structure of the book in alternating present day consequence chapters and chronological past chapters didn't work for me, since the climactic event of the book (being Emma's suicide) and its immediate after-effects are dashed off anti-climatically in a small chunk of the book's final 30 pages.

Those are all boring reasons to just not be that into a book, but I'm finding that when I'm not into a YA read one or all of these reasons are usually why. For as annoying as that Ruth Graham/Slate article is, I think she's summed up the potential flaws of YA lit to adult readers pretty accurately. It's not always the case that YA is simplistic, underdeveloped and happy, though. Sometimes, a book is just one of those things. Sometimes it's none.

When I saw what Tease was doing in the opening pages, when I read Sara's sullenness from the start, I got excited because this one had the potential to really be different. But meh, there is too much that is flat and cliched and unexciting in the part of this book that isn't its mean girl.
Profile Image for Michelle.
111 reviews7 followers
January 25, 2014
I was not sure that I was going to like this book. It was about bullying and sometimes I fined that all the Anti Bulling books become full of useless platitudes about doping unto other etc.

This is not that book.

I want to say it again.

This is not THAT BOOK.

Tease is written from the view point of one of the girls who did the bullying and the person she bullied commits suicide. Now she is being sued by the dead girls parents.

This book draws you into the world of a 16 year old girl who is trying to fit in and desperately trying to be what she thinks will make her popular...special. Amanda Maciel has created with this book one of the best books on bullying I have ever read. I unhesitatingly give it 5 stars because of how many times I wanted to simultaneously shake and hug the main character Sara.

High School is such a time of change, growth and insecurity. All of that is captured beautifully and unflinchingly. Sara is not your cookie cutter teen girl. She is not the "every girl" but she is in all of us. Some of us resisted the desire to behave the way she did. And some of us did not. But the feelings and and anger and frustration she feels in this book are real and moving.

If you have a teenager or preteen, make them read this book. I have no doubt it will change them. It certainly changed me. And I think that it can change the conversation we have about bullying. And that might just be the biggest change of all.
Profile Image for Cassie.
320 reviews
December 4, 2015
This book really stuck with me, as I imagine for many other people who have experienced bullying and read this book can share as well. I could relate both to Emma and to Sara. I personally view that every person at one time in their life or another have been both the bully and the victim. I think everyone should read this book, because of the fact that it is a book much needed in this day and age, specifically for my age group. This will most likely stick with me throughout the rest of my high school years. Tragic how much though that it's a reality.
Profile Image for Saoirse.
177 reviews31 followers
April 24, 2014
There is something wrong here.

I don't know what exactly but Tease has this certain ring to it that is inevitable. I tried so hard to refrain myself from reading reviews--positive-wise and negative-wise, knowing that other people's opinions matter to me and might possibly affect my reading experience. This book is not actually that bad (I've read far worse) and it did have a message I believe should be sent out to everyone.

But being inside a mind of a bully is something of a new experience for me. I never knew it can get really tough and callous to the point where their pranks are not that funny anymore. The idea for this book isn't entirely unfamiliar, as it had been revisited by a lot of authors from time to time. Let's just say that this book opens up the idea of knowing what it feels like to have the story turned around and see how it goes on from there.

Sara Wharton is about to go on trial after Emma Putnam decided to commit suicide. Sara, along with her best friend Brielle, were actually the "bullies" that sort of pushed Emma into making that decision, allegedly thinking that Emma was a "slut" and should be punished for it. Every guy was so just into Emma that Brielle and Sara felt so insecure about themselves that they really tried to ruin Emma's life, stooping so low as to her personal connections and even confronting Emma's mom that her daughter has been having sex with an adult. Sara was so convinced that Emma is off stealing other people's boyfriends (even her own) that she even tried to push some sense into Emma by slamming her by the lockers and threatened her.

Told from Sara's perspective (with a series of flashbacks), she doesn't actually feel a sense of remorse over the death of Emma with the thought that it wasn't her who made the decision and it's especially not her who killed Emma.

Clearly, there is a lot to expect about bullying with Tease. There are a lot of slut-shaming and calling names that have really gone too far, even to as making fake Facebook and Twitter accounts (for Emma) with nasty posts and convincing lies about her which is just plain horrible to me. I never would've figured out how to deal with all that hurtful things being said. In public. *shivers* Just the thought of it is mortifying.

But in all my doubts and perplexities, Emma have been indeed a bitch at some point, going far as pulling the strings with Sara and Brielle, knowing all too well who they are and the power they can manipulate. But I also think that Emma doesn't deserve any of that shit. I mean, come on, putting up fake Facebook pages with insulting comments as well as tweets that are surely meant to degrade someone's value and dignity? Man. That is too far and I can see why Emma doesn't have to put up with those anymore.

I mean, I get why they bully Emma. I understood and felt their anger towards her, like when Emma actually does something bitchy that she's truthfully called for. But honestly, for the most part, I think Emma was just this ordinary girl who tried to fit in with everybody else but nobody is allowing her to. Everyone, but the boys, shut her out and it I think it's not her fault if she wants to have friends. Hanging out with boys does not technically make you a slut than a friend who can get things easily with other people. What makes the book so hard to read is the shallowness of Brielle's opinions (and all other bullies in their school) on this and how Sara quickly agrees to it by jumping into conclusions with that being said. Going through a rough time may be a slight, possible excuse to go shaming other people in Brielle's case but with Sara, she knows she can do better than that but still remains to be nonchalant about it. It's REALLY painful to be inside her head when she stays like a lapdog for Brielle to sit on.

Sara, by all means, is a character that doesn't need to be liked. Everyone sure as hell knows Sara's insulting. She's climbing up the food chain in high school but that's because she's with Brielle (who is another story for me but let's not go with it). And without Brielle, she'll be nothing but a piece of hay on a haystack, always there but never fully acknowledged. I think it's mostly peer pressure on her part to make her succumb into doing things she knows that could get her into trouble. She feels this sudden rush of energy within her when she actually does it but it's like this other side of her showing. But I know that bitchy appeal is mostly for the acceptance of Brielle's friendship with her, . But Sara's issues can be quickly guided into a closure that mostly involved anger management. OKAY, okay, it's actually an inside joke of mine. It's just that most of Sara's bully-ness comes when she's really angry at Emma for doing this and doing that. I don't even think she's actually a bully than a sidekick for Brielle. She can't even say sex and fuck and condoms out loud!

At the end, I don't know if Sara saw some divine intervention (the book didn't say so otherwise) but she did apologize and feel sorry for what happened. She realizes that she's wrong and should have done something while she could. I don't know exactly how she sees this or when she sees this hope for a miracle thing but she did make it past and is now trying to live normally. People still hate her and occasionally calls her stuff when they think she's not listening but Sara knows better than to go down that road again.

While I really liked the idea of the book and the message the author implies, I however feel like not being able to relate well to the overall theme. It disturbed me a lot, most especially in Brielle's scenes with Sara and the lack thereof of parental guidance, it shook things up quite a bit. I was frustrated and I wanted to scream at Sara. I enjoyed the book and managed to read it breezily in a day but it's not really my cup of tea right now.
Profile Image for Yarie ☆.
326 reviews25 followers
March 18, 2020
Such a strong book, deals with bully but from the side of those who did it, a new take of an old story. I'd like to see a little more guilt about what she done, i didn't feel she was feeling bad as she sould. But i really liked it.

Rating: 4 Stars.
Steam: 0 out of 10.
Love Triangle:
Profile Image for Marga .
290 reviews319 followers
June 25, 2014
"My knees are still pale after this long, long summer spent inside, talking about my feelings, talking about a girl I barely knew who didn't want to live. Didn't want to live in the world that had me in it. And I'm still here, in this crappy world. Fighting her ghost."

The story started when Sara, Brielle, and other guys were sued because Emma Putnam killed herself. It's because of the grounds that they somehow affected her to came up with a decision like that. But what really happened that made Emma give up her own life? What was really the roles that these teens played?

/ /Everybody in the story is not entirely blameless. I think everyone did their fair share of mistakes and wrong decisions. You know what really happened to them? LIFE happened.

I did not really know how to write a review of this one. To make this review more comprehensible, I'll talk about the things that I didn't like first.

**THERE'S A LOT OF SLUT-SHAMING. Do not read this book of you can't stand that and see past it because I'm totally sure that you would hate the book. There's so much hate in every page.

**I didn't like Brielle. Yeah maybe she helped Sara stood up for her own, made her brave in her own way but honestly, she was never a good friend. So is Sara. She shouldn't have let Brielle influenced her like that. People should really know that when a person is bad for you, he/she will not carry or cheer you up. Instead, when they fall, they will bring you down with them.

**There's a lot of pathetic-ness happening. Like trying to win a cheating boyfriend back. Like coming up with new ways to shame someone. Like feeling powerful while you bullied other people. Like being not, even a little bit, sorry about the things the you, even though not intentionally, did wrong.

**It also feels wrong that I didn't get to see Emma's side of the story. I would really like to know what she felt and what she was thinking in those moments.

Things I liked about this book:

**I liked Sara's relationship with her siblings. She took great care of them and I actually felt sorry for her for acting as a co-parent with her mother.

**I liked Carmichael. I realized that I'm reading his name on my mind like "Carmi-Michael". Lol. I liked how he, at some point, was able to make Sara feel that she's not alone in what she's going through.

**I liked how this book talked about this topic. Bullying is such a great issue right now. It made me more aware actually.


I was also bullied in high school but not up to this extent. This was so extreme compared to my experience. But certainly, that doesn't mean I don't know how being bullied feels like. It made you lose your confidence in yourself. You start doubting everything you do, always thinking that you're not doing any good. And the worst effect of bullying there is? It makes you a bully, too.

Everybody is a victim of this cruel society and it's standards. EVERYBODY. No one is exempted. But everybody could also choose not to make others feel like shit. Not everybody is strong. We don't know what people are going through, if they are in pain or in a great amount of sadness. We just have to assume that people always, always need your care. We all want to feel loved, feel like we belong somewhere.

This was actually the first book (or not, I don't know) I've read about committing suicide and dealing with the consequences after. At the middle of the book, I actually decided to give this book only 1 star because everything is so bad. There's just so much hate. But at the end, I figured out that I will totally recommend this book to anyone.

Final Rating: 4/5 stars

*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange of a honest review.
Profile Image for Khristina Chess.
Author 9 books98 followers
July 20, 2018
In Tease, readers get a chance to take the bully’s journey and explore the escalation of events through a different set of eyes. How did things go so far? Why? This book does something important in showing that children do evil things, but that doesn’t make them evil. They take actions without thinking of consequences, and in their world they have tools to do tremendous harm—even push others to kill themselves.

The protagonist Sara demonstrates the most beautiful change through the story, and the last few scenes brought tears to my eyes because her speech was very powerful and honest. The fact that she was often quite unlikeable was real, even if difficult to read. Her friend Brielle was horrible and even a bit over-the-top, but I still thought that the story itself was very resonant and thought-provoking. This is an important book.
Profile Image for Julie.
1,841 reviews138 followers
August 23, 2017
*More of a 3.5*

Okay so this is the first ARC I've ever gotten and it's been sitting on my shelf waiting to be read for 3 yearssss. I never unhauled it cause it sounded interesting and I'm sentimental af, which is probably the same reason why I didn't dnf it.

This book was good. It just didn't blow my mind. I've been in a weird reading mood all month and that might be part of it, but also the main character was a bit frustrating. Basically everyone in this entire book is a shitty person. I didn't like a single character. (Except Carmichael. He was the least problematic, but he seemed more like a plot device instead of a person.) Although, I did relate to some aspects of Sara's personality and some of the things she thought regarding boys and friendships were relatable to high school Julie. That being said she was a bitch and she spent the entire book saying things like "Why did Emma have to go and kill herself and ruin my life?" Plus so much slut shaming that was never cleared up or talked about. For most of the book she didn't seem the least bit sorry that she bullied a girl so bad killed herself. She felt sorry for the fact that this girl killed herself and now Sara's life is ruined. By the end she did seem to realize her mistakes, but I felt like it should've been more gradual. I have a lot of thoughts about this book that I just can't seem to put into proper sentences. It's different. This book is definitely one to check out.
Profile Image for Brian.
1,662 reviews41 followers
April 8, 2014
Two girls in high school bully another girl, calling her mean names and eventually driving her to commit suicide. Is it sort of like murder? Or was it the girl's fault. This novel really tried to tell a good story, but instead, the characters were ALL unlikable. The girl who was being bullied didn't come across as being a well developed character with much of a personality, making her seem very one note. And the main character, our narrator who was one of the bullies, did not have a whole lot of redeemable qualities. I did enjoy her interactions with her brothers, but the rest of this novel fell very flat.
Profile Image for kari.
848 reviews
August 14, 2015
After a lot of thought, I ended up somewhat torn on how I'd rate this book. While I understand what the author was going for, I found Sara to be one of the most childish, shrill and unlikeable characters I've come across. And both her lack of growth and her lovely, shining happy ending made me very angry at the author. A quote from the author's note at the back: "But it seems to me that there's always more to the story--at least two sides, if not four or seven or one hundred. And I believe that everyone deserves to be heard." If this is actually her intent, then where is Emma's side? Where are Emma's thoughts? Leaving her out doesn't give balance, it simply gives a book full of excuses from the bully without anything from the other side. I didn't like that.
I had a tough time reading this because THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR BULLYING ANYONE!
Sara was completely in the wrong and she never actually accepts that.
Page 9: "Emma was a boyfriend-stealing bitch right up until the day in March when she killed herself.
I didn't do anything wrong, but she totally ruined my life."
Page 306: "I'm the only one who's actually sorry about all this. Not just about Emma ruining my life. I'm sorry about that, too-- I still wish to God she'd just held on another day, switched schools, tried to just get along like the rest of us have to get along."
Do you get that? She's still blaming the victim. If only Emma had been somehow different, then Sara's life wouldn't have been ruined. Not Sara finally seeing that she screwed up her own life by her cruel actions, but that Emma should have not reacted as she did. It is all about Sara's life and how people don't like her and whine, whine, whine, but I didn't and still don't believe that her remorse was actually over Emma. Her remorse was for how it had affected herself and nothing more. She'll remember because she'll remember how it hurt her, not Emma.
I was actually furious at the end of this book. They have their day in court and that's the last word about any actual legal proceedings. Did she get probation? Did she have to do community service? Did any of them actually pay any price for their cruelty? That is just glossed over and when the framework of the book is this court case, it is a huge disappointment to not have any outcome.
Furthermore, there is no excuse for bullying and, yes, I'm repeating that, but it bears repeating. The author gives the idea that Sara is so put-upon by having to help out with her younger brothers and occasionally help with a meal. Or that Brielle is a lonely rich girl who's parents are too busy with their lifestyle to pay attention to her. Let me just say one thing. Bullies come from broken homes, lonely homes, but they also come from perfectly nice families with two involved and caring parents so I would have liked all of that left out. Some girls can only feel good about themselves when they are tearing down someone else. That's the personality they develop and in many cases, they are formed because they even start preschool, I've seen it and it hasn't anything to do with anything else. It isn't happy family of unhappy family, it's character traits and how they are developed. And, I just didn't like the idea that there is any kind of excuse for bullying.
I think the author was very ambitious with this story and it should have been more even-sided. There was a great opportunity here to actually tell both sides of bullying and we get just the one. I've read other reviews that call Emma names, the very names she is called in the book and then try to defend Sara's behavior, because as they put it, she was a boyfriend-stealing girl. Sadly, without any input from Emma, we don't know if that is true of not. Perhaps the boys didn't tell the truth about what did or didn't happen with her. Or, perhaps they didn't say they had a girlfriend. I'd personally call what Sara has is not a boyfriend. She hangs out after his ballgames and they makeout. There isn't any real dating going on and he seems to be just taking advantage until something better comes along. She is a convenience. Yes, Sara doesn't see it that way, but look between the lines, he isn't her boyfriend. Someone who cares for you doesn't behave the way he does.
This even story-telling bothers me because this book is aimed at a more impressionable audience and the vast majority seem to think Emma had it coming to her and got what she deserved. So, I think the author made major mistakes in the telling or else she thinks bullies deserve sympathy. They do not.
I think what most bothers me about this book is how one-sided it is while the author states she believes there are many sides to a story. This one is only filled with blaming the victim and excuses. It left me feeling very disappointed.
On the other hand, I think this book should be required reading, along with Thirteen Reasons Why for every student entering high school, and then discussed in a group. Maybe that would help.
There is NO excuse for bullying.
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447 reviews71 followers
November 1, 2015
This review was also featured on my blog. Trigger warnings for suicide, bullying, and slut-shaming.

Tease definitely addresses some important issues, namely, bullying, suicide, and our society’s tendency to slut-shame. The story follows Sara Wharton, a high school junior who’s been criminally charged for harassment of a sophomore at her school, Emma Putnam. Sara’s learning what it’s like to be hated by society – she’s jeered at in the grocery store, ostracised by her former friends, and her life seems totally destroyed. Between the meetings with her lawyer and her therapist, we see flashbacks to Sara’s junior year, where it all began. Emma’s status as a ‘slut’ was established soon after she transferred to Sara’s school, and she starts to cosy up to Sara’s boyfriend. Sara and her best friend Brielle are both furious at Emma, and guided mostly by Brielle’s dogged ideas, they start off a chain of events that end in one horrific moment—Emma, found dead in her home.

What’s most important about this book to me is the portrayal of Sara. She’s not exactly an unlikeable protagonist, but more of a realistic one, with selfish actions, a tendency to jealousy, bitterness, and teenage resentment…the whole package. In her ‘war’ with Emma, her own weaknesses and insecurities are exposed. The whole reason she starts picking on Emma in the first place (ignoring all the egging-on that Brielle did) was her insecurities when it came to her boyfriend Dylan. More than any malice, it’s self-doubt and fear that motivated Sara’s actions, and I think that was shown really well. The fact that the book itself is named for Sara’s insecurity just adds on to that. It’s what everyone’s always saying, that the bully only attacks you because you make them feel weak, or you make their own insecurities stand out. But, Sara’s portrayal is also where Tease failed.

Overall, it’s definitely thought-provoking, moving (I cried. No surprises there.), and a really interesting idea, but it built up to nowhere and wound up falling short.

I received this book as a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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