Sunday, 22 June 2014

#scandal by Sarah Ockler: Review

#scandalTitle: #scandal
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Buy This Book: Amazon / Book Depository

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 summary)

I had been pretty excited to get to #scandal, the synopsis sounded interesting and all the praise I had heard for Sarah Ockler's books made me confident that this would be a good read. Unfortunately, this book just didn't work for me at all. I've recently read a few different books that concentrated on bullying and slut-shaming and this just didn't measure up to those at all. Maybe it isn't fair to compare it, but when you just read a 5/5 star read like The Truth About Alice, #scandal just doesn't feel like it even scratches the surface when it comes to the big issues.

My main problem with the book is that it's supposed to deal with serious issues and yet, most of the time, it feels like a very young read. I think some contemporaries I have read recently have lacked the kind of maturity I have come to expect from my YA. I recently read My Last Kiss and felt that had the exact same issue. We're reading about characters that are sixteen or seventeen but they seem to act like they are about four years younger. It just instantly seems to make me disconnect to the story and the characters when they talk and act like they are twelve. I end up feeling like I want to shake them all and tell them to grow up.

I expected this book to deal with and really explore the issue of bullying, slut-shaming and the differences in which men and women are viewed when it comes to sex. But, it doesn't. The main character is more bothered about finding out who set her up than she is about the fact she is being horrifically bullied by her whole school for something she didn't do. I feel like the book brushes aside the big issues and concentrates on the silly drama that's not really that important.

One thing that really bugged me about this book was that Lucy's sister is a star on a TV show but nobody knows. Seriously, she has lived in the same town her whole life and no one connects those dots. I know she would have been at school before Lucy but people would still know who her sister was. That part of the story was just so stupid that I couldn't even go there. How did no one know, how?

Another issue is that the romance in this is completely lacking... well, everything. There's just nothing to it at all. The characters tell each other they love each other but it's never believable because we never see it. The romance is all talk and no show. Lucy talks about how much she likes Cole and how long she has liked him but it never feels very real at all. I feel like we needed to actually feel something between the two, whether that be chemistry, love or any feelings at all. I felt nada, nothing, zilch.

This was a book that just didn't really make me feel much of anything. I don't have a huge dislike for it, I don't want to rant about it but I definitely don't have much praise for it either. It just didn't really bring out any emotion in me at all, I didn't care about the characters or anything else. I can always tells when I didn't really feel any emotion for a book because I barely take any notes when reading, I just have nothing to comment on. My notes for this took up barely a page in my notebook, where as The Truth About Alice, which is quite a short book, has six whole pages of notes. Never a good sign.


2/5 Butterflies


If I'm being completely honest, and you all know I always am, this feels like a read that really young teens might enjoy. It's a book that would be enjoyed more by younger readers who are young and naive enough to feel like Facebook drama is the be all and end all of everything. I really wanted a book that would look at the serious issue of bullying and slut-shaming in a mature way, and it doesn't. My recommendation would be to steer clear of this and go pick up The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu, that book is fantastic.


*I received a copy of this novel from the author/publisher/publicist via Edelweiss in exchange for a free and honest review and received no monetary compensation for this review.

22 comments:

  1. This was definitely one of her more..I don't know, not good books? I would try another one though, I promise her books are great! This one was just seriously lacking for some reason.

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    1. Maybe, I hate that this has put me off the author but it has. I might try something else by her but not any time soon.

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  2. I'm sorry you didn't like this. I think I'm going to pass on it because the idea seems somewhat childish and I haven't heard the best things. But I do really want to pick up The Truth About Alice, so I'm glad you liked that read!

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    1. The Truth About Alice is a truly amazing book, I highly recommend it. Yup, the whole idea was really childish and it isn't handled very maturely in the book. Even though it could have touched on some really serious issues... it just does'n't.

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  3. It seemed interesting, but now I'm not sure if I want to read it. Might give it a chance at a later point.

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    1. I thought it sounded interesting but it was just a bit too immature for me.

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  4. Hm, this sounds like something that you didn't like much in the end. I don't think I am going to read this anymore >.> The idea kind of reminds me of a movie I've seen, called Easy A, and I think that did a good job of showing the shaming, bullying and different aspects of it while still making a pretty fun movie. But this doesn't sound so up to cut. Thanks for the pre-warning about it!

    Check out my book review of Seraphina: http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2014/06/seraphina-book-review.html

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    1. Nope, not very much at all. Easy A!!!! I love that film. Yes, that handled it a lot better and did it in a really funny way, whilst also trying to deal with the issues. This one just didn't do any of that, it was pretty bad.

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  5. Damn I was looking forward to this one. Maybe I'll read it before I read The Truth About Alice haha. The thing about Lucy having a famous sounds ridiculous. I have people who know me at my job because they know one of my brothers, so that doesn't sound great. Thanks for the honest review :)

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    1. It just seemed so silly to me that they had lived in one town the whole time and yet no one had figured out they were related. It was ridiculous. I'd just recommend reading The Truth About Alice, haha ;)

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  6. It's been bugging me just how many YA books have weirdly young protags now, it's like, I understand that YA is from basically 15 to to skies, but really, some maturity when you're dealing with wide spread bullying, social media, sex and such, just a little, just something more than 'OMG!!!1!!' and naivety. Sorry, rant over. But yes, I actually *selfishly* like these review of books you disliked, because I think you're extremely honest with books like these, you're to the point and that's great. Allows me to make a good choice, and I did well avoiding this one, so thank you! :)

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    1. The protags aren't even young in this, they just act young! That feels even worse to me, if they were actually 12 then I would understand. But nope, they are about 17 I think and it irritated me how young they seemed.

      I am really glad you like my negative reviews. I try my hardest not to be too harsh but I feel like I need to properly explain why I didn't like it, otherwise I'd feel bad giving it a low rating.

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  7. Oh, darn. I'm sorry this one didn't do much for you. I've heard that from others as well, so I've kind of put a hold on reading it myself. I hope your next read works better for you. :)

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    1. Me too, I need some good reads to get me out of my slump.

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  8. I love the way this incorporates modern technology into the story! You don't see that very often these days.

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    1. I feel a lot more young adult novels are incorporating technology. A lot are using Twitter as a big part of the story as well. It's good but it bugs me a little and I can't work out why.

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  9. Sorry this book failed for you. Sarah's a good writer, so maybe another of hers will do it for you. Hope so.

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    1. I hope so too, I hear amazing things about her books. This has put me off a little but I will try her books again one day.

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  10. The only book I've read by Sarah Ockler is the Book of Broken Hearts, which I really liked so I was planning on reading this one, but now I'm rethinking it. Thanks for the honest review! ~Pam

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    1. That's okay. Everyone raves about the author so I feel I should give one of her other books ago. I just couldn't enjoy this one at all.

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  11. In all honesty, seeing the title #scandal turned me away the minute I saw it. #. Seriously? I hate # with a passion. Then again, you said this novel sounded really young and immature. So I guess it works!

    Thanks for your honest review. I won't be reading this one...

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    1. Haha, exactly. The # thing seems to be getting a lot more common in books now, but I find it a little irritating. This was very young and immature, the characters were impossible to relate too.

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