Genre: YA contemporary
Publication date: April 29th, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins)
Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault.Source: I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.
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.
During 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 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.
In this powerful debut novel inspired by real-life events, Amanda Maciel weaves a narrative of high school life as complex and heartbreaking as it is familiar: a story of everyday jealousies and resentments, misunderstandings and desires. Tease is a thought-provoking must-read that will haunt readers long after the last page.
Tease was a surprise. I wasn't sure what to expect--I just knew the genre and subject matter, really. So, the fact that this book sucked me in, that it made it think, that it made me want to cry a bit, was a complete surprise. I loved this book. It was so well done.
Tease shows us readers that you shouldn't make assumptions about people. It shows us that you can't take back your words. Once they're said, they're said. The biggest message I got was this: if you do terrible things, if you make wrong turns, if you commit acts you regret, you can make things better. You can redeem yourself a little by apologizing (and meaning it). Although it won't make the things you did right or excusable--you still need to live with what you've done--you can take the steps towards making yourself a better person.
I didn't like Sara as a person. She was a bully and did so many horrible things to Emma. She, Brielle, and everyone else that joined her not only went too far, but they went past too far. It was like they had nothing better to do in their lives than to torment the poor girl. It was horrible.
Sara as a character, though . . . she was a very good one. She was not meant to be a likable character. She was meant to go through this experience, learn a lesson, and take the steps towards becoming a better person. Her character was a very well developed one. She was a bully, was also shown to be a lonely person (which factors into the "why" of her bullying).
Sara had a good side--one that emerged when she was around her brothers and Carmichael--and the bad side of her diminished little by little as she neared the end of the book. Her reasons for bullying, the ways she tried to justify her actions, were quite ridiculous. I saw that as an important part, though, because it shows that people will make wrong choice for really stupid reasons.
THE OTHER CHARACTERS
There were quite a few characters, and most of them weren't very likable. I wasn't quite sure what to make of Dylan--he mostly served as an excuse of Sara's to go after Emma. He was kind of the voice of reason, though he made a few wrong decisions as well. Brielle was . . . wow. She was like the devil on Sara's shoulder. The two girls had this crazy, unhealthy, destructive relationship. Neither was a good influence on the other.
Alex and Tommy, the little brothers, were like a zone of innocence. They were kept mostly away from Sara's case, but Tommy was affected quite a bit. I loved the presence of the two in the book. Sara was a better person around them. They motivated her to be a better person.
Carmichael was another person that made Sara want to be better. He was such a good guy and she felt normal around him.
Then there was Emma . . . she didn't actually make a big showing in the book. She was mainly seen, observed, and talked about. In most scenes that she was in, she didn't speak more than a couple sentences. Instead, it was Sara, Brielle, or whoever else bullying her and directing words at her. This helped to show that Sara didn't truly know the person she was hurting. She never took the time to get to know her--she just made assumptions.
As you can tell, it was the characters and the roles they played that drove the book for me. There was more that made the book great, though.
The set up sucked me in. It alternated between the past and the present. Every time the past would switch to the present, I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened next (and vice versa). In the present, there was often hints about the things that Sara had done, so that kept me glued to the book as well.
The writing, also, was pretty good. I had no problem with it, and it helped me really get into the story and feel the emotions of the characters. I also found quite a few quotable moments!
I loved this book! It was what I needed--I had been really enjoying a lot of books around the time I read this, but I hadn't loved most of them. Tease was such an ugly book, but it was ugly in a way that made me think and examine the messages it was sending. I definitely recommend it if you think you could handle the bullying that the main character does.
My questions for you:
Do you ever still like a character when you don't think they're a good person?
Have you ever read a book from the perspective of the bully?