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I Belong

Early Review: Tease by Amanda Maciel

TeaseTitle: Tease

Author: Amanda Maciel

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction

Series: N/A

Publication Date: April 29, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062305301 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062305305 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin


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.

Quick & Dirty: Tease is a heartbreaking novel that explores friendship, regret, and forgiveness through a teenager’s point of view. This book is perfect for any fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower!

Opening Sentence: “Did you ever have a physical confrontation with Miss Putnam?”

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Sara doesn’t really regret what happened that year- when a depressed teenager took an extension cord and hung herself because of harsh words from her classmates. Sara and her friends have been accused with criminal charges, but in Sara’s eyes it wasn’t her fault. After all, Brielle, her best friend, made up all the scenes that allegedly led to Emma’s suicide: Sara simply followed them through. Emma was selfish to leave such a mess for everyone over just a few jokes, and she deserved all the rumors, after stealing Sara’s boyfriend. But as this novel continues, Sara must learn to accept and appreciate Emma’s struggle and to forgive herself and others.

The chapters switch between the times before and during the incident and after, when Sara is dealing with the lawyers and the stares. I really enjoyed this. It gave me a chance to not only understand what had happened, but why and how. Sara’s feelings were vividly described in a way that all teenagers could understand. Honestly, her whole point of view was comfortable and I could relate to the way she talked and thought. Plus, I got to see how she changed in mentality as the story progressed.

I not only loved the main characters, but also the secondary ones as well. They all had distinct personalities. Brielle was very sharp and rude, Carmichael was insightful, and Dylan was kind and slightly naive. Ah, Carmichael. I absolutely adored his character, so strange and outcast, and yet so lovable and understanding. He was Sara’s love interest and I only wish I had got more time to spend with him.

I still don’t know whether I liked Emma or not. After all, Sara’s early perspective had given her a somewhat less appealing version of Emma than the one you grow to know. The first Emma, the boyfriend stealer, sort of spoiled the kind, insecure Emma that killed herself. Because of that, I have mixed feelings about this character, though by the end I was leaning towards liking her.

Definitely check out this book if you liked The Perks of Being a Wallflower (and honestly, who didn’t?). You won’t regret it. It is also about a troubled teenager, and there are also other similarities that you can’t overlook — try it out! I don’t know about you but I really love the cover, even though it isn’t that fancy. It’s so simple and yet conveys a lot of meaning: it has the “we didn’t mean to hurt anyone” that is bolded, the red girlish “Tease”, and other details. And the content is just as amazing as I believe the cover to be! This is truly a masterpiece that requires your immediate attention… buy it as soon as it is released!

Notable Scene:

But Emma’s the one who got the last word. She’ll always be that face, that pretty school photo in the newspaper. And we’ll always be the monsters who pushed her over the edge.

I can talk to Teresa or Natalie or my mom – well, I can try– but no one really gets it, no one hears me. No one understands how, when Emma went over the edge, she pulled all of us down with her.


FTC Advisory: Balzar + Bray/Harper Collins provided me with a copy of Tease. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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