I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.#scandal by Sarah Ockler
Also by this author: Fixing Delilah
Published by Simon and Schuster on 2014-06-17
Genres: Adolescence, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Social Issues, Young Adult
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A private, high school senior gets an unwanted turn in the spotlight when a Facebook scandal goes viral after prom in this comedic, edgy novel from the author of The Book of Broken Hearts and Bittersweet.Lucys learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Hearts all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, dont 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 Coles date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where shed rather stay home shredding online zombies. And especially the one where shes 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, its everything Lucy has ever dreamed of and the biggest BFF dealbreaker ever. But before they get the chance to fess up to Ellie, Lucys own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising photos of her and Cole, along with tons of other students party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral. By Monday morning, Lucys been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal, just weeks before graduation. Lucys been battling undead masses online long enough to know that theres only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Theres just one snagCole. Turns out Lucys not the only one whos been harboring unrequited love
I really wanted to love #scandal by Sarah Ockler. I mean, as a user of the internet, I like books about other users of the internet and books that make a commentary on social media. The description of #scandal made it sound like it would be a total April book. It was not. While the book did not take up too much of my time and while it was not the worst book I’ve ever encountered, I do not find myself won over at all.Granted, I think that there’s an audience for #scandal, I am just not in that audience. I think maybe I must be too old for books like this.
Sarah Ockler’s #scandal opens with Lucy feeling uncomfortable about going to prom with her best friend Ellie’s boyfriend Cole. You see, Ellie is home sick with the flu. To make matters even worse, Lucy has had a crush on Cole for four years. The theme of prom is fantasy and frankly, that echoes Lucy’s experience in that she finally gets her chance with Cole and it’s like a fantasy come true, minus the small detail about her best friend. At an after-prom party, the two hook up and Cole confesses something regarding Ellie. Unfortunately for Lucy though, her hookup along with other scandals that happened at the afterparty become public knowledge when someone uploads photos from her phone to the facebook of Lav-Oaks High’s version of Gossip Girl, Miss Demeanor. Now Lucy is dealing with the fallout of being called a slut and with her friends and pretty much the whole school mad at her. Meanwhile, her celebrity sister comes home to visit and her parents fly off to California for a couple’s retreat. There’s a whole lot of tangled webs in #scandal and while that can occasionally make for an intense storyline, I kind of thought it felt confusing.
It’s hard for me not to get super judgmental about Lucy, like really hard. However, I will stop myself. Ockler does a great job, I will admit, of making me not hate Lucy. That takes skills. I mean, I don’t want to be her best friend, but I also don’t want to like the Juicy Lucy page on facebook. Here’s the thing what she does, hook up with her best friend’s boyfriend is terrible. However, having full knowledge of the situation now, I don’t quite think that she deserves the fallout that has happened from that #scandal and from her phone being hacked. On the whole, while I didn’t find myself loving Lucy, I did find her story to be mostly interesting and a pretty good cautionary tale about cyberbullying and not losing your phone and communicating your feelings and needs.
As for the romantic lead, Cole, I will admit that I also wanted to hate and judge him at first, especially for kissing Lucy. However, at least he has the forethought to end a relationship that is not working for him. He is a musician and a mostly nice guy. He sticks by Lucy’s side when all the drama is going down. He is actually not a terrible human being despite my initial reaction to him. OH and what I liked about #scandal was how Ockler shows that when these dramas happen it’s always girls who get the brunt of the blame and the guys basically seem to get off scot-free.
While I did think there was a lot going on in this story and would have appreciated a tighter focus, there are some things that recommend #scandal by Sarah Ockler. For one, the topic is quite relevant to today’s teens. They all have phones and social media and I know more than a few make social media missteps. There’s a strong thread about not being judgmental and looking beyond a first impression. There is a male-female friendship, well several, that are just that, friendships without the possibility of more. Although there are what I perceive as faults with this book, I really admire the male-female interactions and how it broke away from the whole every interaction with a person of the opposite sex means romance dynamic. That was awesome. Frankly, this wasn’t my favorite book by Ockler, but it was a passable read and I think that people who are actually teenagers and maybe need less focus than I do will end up liking #scandal.