Author: Amanda Maciel
Genre: YA, Drama
AUS Publication Date: 1st May 2014 (published by Hachette)
Reminds me of: Anything by Sarah Dessen, Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars
I absolutely adored this book. Tease has a unique plot line taking a spin on the cliché. Told from the perspective of the “bully” the audience is forced to acknowledge there are two sides to every story. The story begins with Sara, the protagonist, being questioned by her lawyer regarding the death of Emma Putman. Sara, alongside her friends, are being charged with assault that lead to Emma Putman’s death – or rather suicide. From the beginning we feel obliged to sympathise for the dead girl but Sara makes it so difficult to feel anything but hate for the weak, wreck of a victim. In Sara’s eye’s Emma is nothing more than a “boyfriend-stealing bitch”. At times I found myself deeply despising Emma as Sara’s feelings were so vivid and powerful, but at other times I winced at Sara’s mentality.
Maciel hammers the nail in the head with her high school representation. We get the sense that Sara is a tag-along bully as her relationship with her fiery best friend, Brielle, fuels a lot of the vindication. This relationship adds to the reality captured in the pages of Tease. The second hand awkwardness, embarrassment and overall emotion I felt for her characters were so real that I couldn’t and didn’t put it down till I’d read it cover to cover. You could understand Sara’s desire to prove herself to her friends, her family and to herself. Her emotions were so raw I found myself completely ignoring my own sense of judgement and justifying her actions.
Sara’s character development is questionable. She is so adamantly against the charges pinned against her a majority of the story. She cannot see what she has done wrong, nor does she feel any remorse for her actions that lead to Emma’s suicide. Her development seems quite rushed and forced, there’s almost a problem with pace here. Also the dialogue could be painful at times. That was the only element I considered unreal – sometimes Maciel gets it right, other times I shuddered out of awkwardness for her.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆