Tease by Amanda Maciel was such an interesting perspective, inside the head of the bully. It was a thought-provoking, uncomfortable, and challenging read for sure! It was also unputdownable for me, in the way you can’t make yourself look away from something awful about to happen. It was a good read!
Amanda Maciel writes a character so challenging in Sara because her actions against Emma are just awful, but then you see her at home with her two little brothers and how caring she is with them and you forget for a moment how awful she acted. Sara is also kind of a whiny brat, she’s childish, and for a long time, she refuses to accept any responsibility when it comes to Emma. All these things didn’t make me dislike her as much as I just felt sorry for her. She just seemed so lost and unhappy. Her boyfriend treated her badly too. Those times they were together just broke my heart. And her best friend was THE WORST. Just THE WORST.
There were a lot of things that made me reflect on my time in high school. I think I saw a lot of myself in Sara. Not the bullying parts, but the difficulty in being myself no matter what, and having the bad boyfriends, having those friends that brought me down instead of lifting me up. And I saw myself in Emma too. Her wanting to be friends with the in-crowd but only being able to find an in through the boys in the group. Being called awful names because of boys even though we were just friends. Jealousy in high school can cause so much pain. I definitely felt it, both the jealousy and pain. Thankfully things never escalated beyond the name-calling, which was always behind my back anyway.
Basically, if you’re a girl, you’re most likely to relate to SOMETHING in this book. And if you’re a boy, it will hopefully make you realize how damaging your actions and non-actions can be. This makes it a great read because it can reach many, no matter what side you’re on.
But back to the story…
I thought the ending showed everyone’s true colors. It showed that people can change for the better in the face of tragedy, some more than others, but it certainly makes an impact.
Amanda says in her author’s note that one of the reasons she wrote this book was because she’d like to believe that girls like Sara aren’t vicious enough to bully a peer in hopes they kill themselves. I’d like to believe this too.
I wish bullying would go away altogether. It breaks my heart! And it breaks my heart for my daughter, who already has to deal with mean girls in the 6th grade. Let’s just love and encourage and embrace. And let’s teach our kids to love and encourage and embrace.
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.
Supports the Common Core State Standards.