#scandal by Sarah Ockler
* E-Arc provided by Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss *
Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.
When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.
By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation.
Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.
There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love…(Goodreads)
This was my first read by author Sarah Ockler, but I can assure you it will not be my last! I was very pleased and honestly impressed with #scandal, it really lived up to my hopes and expectations for the story based on the blurb (and yes, the cover too). #scandal for me was reminiscent of Gossip Girl in one aspect: the mysterious and unidentified online personality (and somewhat trouble-maker) Miss Demeanor. However, the similarities , in my opinion, really end there. The online mystery personality is really one simple piece of what I thought was a well-written, engaging book that delves into some pretty deep issues but manages to remain relatively light.
Fans of the author, I'm sure will enjoy this read, as well as fans of both Sarah Dessen and Susane Colansanti. If you find that you enjoy Contemporary Teen books that tackle social issues (while still not seeming to heavy), and feature friendship exploration and elements of romance, then this is probably a great pick for you!
I guess I'll begin by saying, I really loved this book for a number of reasons, so somehow it made this review even harder to write. I have so many things that I think or feel about this book, and I really want to do it justice in this review! Anyway, on a few things, of the many that contributed to my love of the book, that I feel should really be highlighted:
* Lucy - Lucy is the main character of the story, and one who I found very relatable, and believable (which is always a huge selling point in my opinion). Although I didn't share a lot in common with Lucy and wasn't really similar to her in a lot of ways, I still felt I could connect with her. I think that many will be able to find some level to relate to her on, even if you weren't exactly like her. I think most of know someone like Lucy and/or might be able to relate to some of the things she goes through and experiences throughout the story.
* Character Growth - I always love a good coming of age/growth/etc type novel, I think they make for the most relatable because every day we are all growing, changing, and learning. You never stop learning and changing over the course of your life, so really you're always evolving and "coming of age" in a way.
* Secondary Characters - I liked them all, the supporting characters I thought were all pretty entertaining and each added something to the story. I also enjoyed that each character had multiple sides to them (whether we saw that at first or not) and that the author strove to show us (through Lucy's eyes) that no one is bad/good, there are always shades.
* Social Issue Focus: Bullying/Cyber-bullying - This is such a big issue, one that has been going on forever but has recently hit the radar of many. It's also something that seems to have gotten worse over time, the nature of today's technology, the way people treat one another, and the anonymity of using the internet has in many ways made bullying that much easier. I was so happy to see a book that was tackling this murky issue, showing how this technology can have both good and bad consequences. I was also happy that it managed to do this in a light, engaging way still that I could see teens reading, paying attention to, and actually taking in.
*Romance was an element, not the entire plot - While I enjoy a good contemporary romance ( I really do, easily what I read the most of) it was nice to see a book that focused more on the social issues, the main characters growth, and explored the friendships more than romance. This was not exactly what I thought might happen after reading the blurb, and instead of being disappointed I found myself quite content with how it played out.
* Lucy and Cole - Okay, okay... I know I said above that Romance not being the focus was refreshing - however I also said my fave reads are the Contemp Romances. So while I completely enjoyed the novel as it was, I would have loved to see a little more of Lucy and Cole together too. (Sidenote - I also very much wanted more Spike and Night of the Living Dog! Mostly Spike, because I love dachshunds!!)
Overall, I really just love this book. It had so many great things going for it: engaging plot, intriguing mystery, realistic characters, and it even tackles important social issues while retaining some lightness and humor. I can only hope that many of you will pick up this great read and give it a chance! In the meantime, I hope to ease it into the hands of some of the teen girls I know who are currently in high school. I think this read has a lot of valuable lessons embedded in a quick, relatable read - perfect for starting a conversation of some tough topics for sure!
4 out of 5 Doxies - Great read, definitely give this one a try!!
Just Listen - Sarah Dessen
Waiting for You - Susane Colasanti
The Unwritten Rule - Elizabeth Scott
Lock and Key - Sarah Dessen