contemporary · death · realistic fiction

Review: Tease

Author: Amanda Maciel

Summary from Goodreads:

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.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts



It is interesting to note the inspiration behind this story.
Nine Massachusetts teens were indicted Monday for driving a pretty 15-year-old “new girl” from Ireland to suicide in a case that has become a symbol of high school bullying.

The sweeping charges – which come after months of complaints that the bullies weren’t being punished – include statutory rape, violation of civil rights with bodily injury, criminal harassment and stalking.

Phoebe Prince, a new arrival at South Hadley High School from a tiny seaside hamlet in County Clare, was mercilessly tormented by a cadre of classmates later dubbed the “Mean Girls” by Massachusetts newspapers.
– From NY Daily News, March 2010

This book is a reminder that bullying is real and its effects can be ugly.

I rated this 3 stars because it was a bit lacking. We view the guilty party as shallow and immature but we weren’t really able to see the whole picture. What was this “pain” that Emma had? Why was she always transferring schools? Did the boys really sleep with her or was that just for show? We didn’t really know who Emma was. To what extent really were her faults?

I’m glad the ending was a bit of redemption for the book. I really like how Sara thought about Brielle and what she could have done better to be a good friend. Although she felt sorry in the end, her actions remain unjustified and should serve as a caution for us to be less judgmental of others.

“Don’t add silence to your list of regrets.”

My Rating: ★★★ (3)


3 thoughts on “Review: Tease

  1. While I do agree with you on some levels, I found the book quite satisfying. As far as I see by the end Sara realized that it doesn’t matter what Emma did or didn’t do because no one should endure to be treated that way. Not even someone who is truly evil, and I doubt Emma was that. What I didn’t get was how Emma’s parents were said to be not good parents but in the end I wasn’t sure if that was true or not. I think I gave it four stars but I’m honestly not sure.
    Anyways, lovely review. 🙂

    1. Hi Veronika! Thanks for your wonderful insights! I can’t even begin to imagine how one can endure being bullied for so long. I just wished there was more to it. I had certain questions but didn’t get answers. But I know what you mean about the real focus of the story, including Sara finally being able to realize things and forgiving herself in the process. Thanks for dropping by!

  2. I just stumbled upon your blog via Bloggers Commenting Back, and I was excited to see a review of a book I really liked! I’m glad you appreciated the redemption aspect like I did – I know a lot of reviewers hated the book because the narrator was so awful at the beginning, but I adored watching her learn that what she did was wrong and feel sorry for it.

    I do agree with you, though, that Emma’s side of the story was a little underdeveloped. The author didn’t really SHOW us her pain or what was going on in her life besides the bullying, so I had a hard time buying that she was distraught enough to kill herself. Honestly, the bullying didn’t seem TOO awful, so I wish the author had given Emma more problems at home that could have contributed to her suicide.

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