I am thrilled to be today’s stop on Amanda Maciel’s TEASE Blog Tour hosted by Book Nerd Tours. I love, love, loved this book – so much so that I read it in one sitting on my iPhone’s Kindle App.
I was so certain I would detest the main character and love the story, but I actually grew to like Sara as the story progressed, and even understand her and relate to her situation in some ways… which was a complete and total surprise.
TEASE is a refreshingly different approach to the subject of bullying and a story that I think is an absolute must.
If you’d like to know a little bit more about the book, the description follows below. If you’d like to know more about what I thought about it, my review follows after that. And if you’d like to know what Author Amanda Maciel’s Ten Writing “must haves” are, be sure to check out the Guest Post.
While the tour doesn’t include a giveaway, as I think this is such a fantastic book, I am offering up a copy. So if you’d like to enter, just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter.
And if you’d like to see what a few other bloggers have to say about TEASE and read a few guest posts and interviews, be sure to follow the tour. The schedule can be found at the bottom of the post or by visiting Book Nerd Tours.
Release date: April 29, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook
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.
Amanda Maciel’s TEASE is a novel that instantly grabs your attention. From its opening line, to its atypical perspective, to its main character who is far from instantly likable, it’s a story that is at once refreshingly different, intriguing, emotionally charged and thought-provoking.
Sara Wharton has been charged with bullying, which led to the death by suicide of Emma Putnam. She is not immediately remorseful for her actions. She does not see the part she played in Emma’s death. She does not feel she is the wrongdoer. She sees herself as the victim.
Emma Putnam was the girl who stole her boyfriend. It was Emma who called her a tease. It was Emma who was the selfish one who took her life and caused Sara’s world to fall apart. It was all Emma’s fault, not hers.
Told from Sara’s point of view, TEASE moves between the present and the past to reveal just what happened between Emma, Sara, Sara’s boyfriend Dylan, and Sara’s friends, including her mean girl best friend Brielle, to show how Sara’s life has changed, and how Sara herself has eventually changed, because of what had been done and what resulted.
TEASE is not a light story with a happily ever after ending. While the writing has an easy flow, making it a quick read, the core of the story – bullying and suicide – gives it weight and importance. And its underlying messages of consequences and responsibility and understanding and sympathy give it depth.
Sara is not a likely choice for narrator, as she isn’t instantly relatable, sympathetic or even likable. On first glance she appears cold and selfish. And it is only as the story progresses that readers will begin to see that she’s not the self-absorbed, cruel person she pretends to be. She is flawed and insecure and jealous. She desperately wants to fit in, to not be the outsider. And as the tables turn we get to see that she is not so different from Emma.
Author Amanda Maciel does a masterful job of telling this story from the bully’s perspective without making her too sympathetic or losing sight of the real, if not the only, victim, Emma Putnam. With TEASE, she creates a story that feels very realistic – the bullies aren’t one hundred percent evil and the victim isn’t entirely pure and innocent. Her characters aren’t excused for their behavior but readers are given reasons why they act as they do.
And she does this all in a way that is utterly compelling.
Reviewer gives this book…
On a personal note…
I did not expect to be able to devour this book in a single sitting. But I was instantly caught up in the story and made an immediate emotional connection with it, which kept me turning the pages and made it an unputdownable read.
I did not expect to ever like Sara. My first impression of her was less than stellar. But as I got to know her I was able to first understand, if not forgive, some of her behavior, and then empathize with some of what she was going through. By the story’s end I suppose I was even sympathetic.
Sara wasn’t the worst of the bullies and Emma wasn’t the most innocent of victims, which I suppose helped me keep an open mind. Brielle on the other hand, was completely unlikable and unrelatable. And even though, given her circumstances, her behavior may have been understandable, it wasn’t forgivable and she wasn’t sympathetic at all.
I could point a lot of fingers at a lot of the characters. I could point out moments I thought could have been handled better or differently. I could identify each of their flaws and mistakes and weaknesses. I could be angry or sad, or angry and sad.
I could do all of this because I really connected with the story the author delivered in TEASE. I saw its different sides. I saw its tragedy, a tragedy that could have been averted “if only….”
I love when a story makes me have all sorts of opinions and thoughts and emotions. I love when it makes me think about it long after I’ve read it. I love when it’s obvious that an author put a lot of thought into not only the plot, but the characters and the dialogue so that everything comes together, and works together, perfectly.
And I especially love when an author takes a risk, tackles a tough subject, approaches it from a different angle, makes their readers have to work past their initial judgments and prejudices.
TEASE definitely checked all of those boxes for me.
Note: This review is based on an eARC received by the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.
The Guest Post
Top Ten Must Haves When Writing
1. Quiet. Just a tiny bit. Just, like, keep it down to a dull roar, as your cranky uncle would say.
2. My laptop. This should’ve been #1.
3. 30 to 45 minutes. Any less is too little to even bother trying—any more time is intimidating. If I can keep writing, great, but please don’t give me a big, open, plan-free day. I will write nothing.
4. Reasonable level of caffeine in my bloodstream. Minimum 6 oz.
5. An idea. Any idea.
6. Google. Some people have to block the internet while they write, but I need to check character names, random spellings, maps … basically I have no idea how anyone finished a novel before the internet.
7. A little more coffee, thanks.
8. And a deadline! Self-imposed or editor-recommended, either way—a sense of urgency.
9. The word-count function. Small goals like hitting 1,000 or 1,500 words can work wonders with me. In my darker days, I’ll aim for just 500, or split the day into two chunks of 750.
10. Privacy. Maybe this should be #2, after my laptop. I don’t have to literally be alone—I can write okay in a café or whatever—but I don’t want to talk about what I’m writing until it’s well underway, or even finished. It’s too personal, too fragile. I might ask you a random question like, “Say someone accuses you of punching them, but no one saw it happen. Would you get arrested?” Please just answer me. Don’t ask why I’m asking. I’ll tell you when I’m ready—or, worse, I’ll make you read the draft of my manuscript.
About Amanda Maciel
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.
A hardcover copy of TEASE by Amanda Maciel to ONE winner – to be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository
- Must be 13 or older to enter
- Giveaway is International
- Book will be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository depending upon location
- Giveaway ends on April 30th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific
- Winner will be chosen by Random via Rafflecopter
- Winner will be announced in the Rafflecopter and contacted by email
- Winner will have 48 hours to respond
Enter in the Rafflecopter below…
The Tour Schedule
April 21st – Me, My Shelf and I – Review
April 22nd – Fiktshun – Review + Tens List
April 23rd – Jean Book Nerd – Review + Interview
April 24th – A Glass of Wine – Review + Author Interview
April 25th – Such a Novel Idea – Review + 10 Random Things
April 26th – Once Upon a Twilight – Review
April 27th – Gone with the Words – Review
April 28th – Wholly Books – Review
April 29th – Fictitious Delicious – Review + Guest Post
April 30th – Maji Bookshelf – Review