After falling in love with The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, Sarah Ockler was calling out to me again. I had to read another book of hers, and so, #Scandal it is. A bit scandalous, as the title suggests, a bit contemporary, as you all won’t be surprised. But, just like in The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, if I didn’t fall in love, I still found profound and deep issues, showing us once again that contemporaries can be more, way more than just fluffy books.
A LITTLE BIT OF #SCANDAL
“You can’t help who you love,”he says,”even if the timing is horrendous.”
Girl has forever been in love with her best friends’ boyfriend. I know, bad news already. When best friend asks the girl in question to go to the prom (REALLY?) with her boyfriend because she can’t go, she goes anyway. AS A FRIEND. Of course, we all believe that’s what going to happen. I’m sad to say that first and foremost, but, yes, what you think will happen, does happen. They kiss, and someone steals the girl’s cellphone, takes a picture of THE KISS, and post it on the girl’s Facebook page. #scandal, obviously. This is a very social media-centered book, in case you haven’t noticed. If the book’s synopsis probably makes not-used-to-or-bothered-contemporary reader frown, well, don’t stop reading. Because it’s all way more than just a love triangle story –there isn’t a love triangle. Seriously, there isn’t. It’s way more than just a contemporary about best friends, boyfriends, feeling guilty, and a #scandal. It’s about slut-shaming. It’s about the power of friendship. The power of social media. The power of sisterhood, and family. Guilt and regret. It’s a story about a load of things, and that’s why it’s way more than just an average contemporary, and that’s why I loved it.
A VERONICA MARS CREW AND A POTENTIAL BOOK BOYFRIEND
Franklin laughs. “Looks like we’ve got ourselves an investigation, Veronica.”
Okay, time to stop this suspense. The girl’s name is Lucy, and she was a fantastic main character. Not because she’d rather fight off zombies than go to the prom, even if you’ll admit, that’s quite cool. But because she was oh, so relatable. She loves video games and being alone, yet she still likes to be, well, a girl. She makes mistakes, she has regrets, gets mad, holds grudges, and she has probably a lot of other flaws, but that just made her so much more real. There’s a great set of secondary characters as well, even if we didn’t get to see or hear the best friend enough for my taste. I really loved how Lucy came together with other people she didn’t expect, found friends in unexpected places in the name of Franklin, with a delicious English accent and a talent for scheming that will make us Veronica Mars a fan of him. And the boyfriend. Oh, his name’s Cole, and he’s just, well, definitely book boyfriend worthy. If his romance with Lucy (this isn’t a spoiler, I mean, did you read the synopsis of the book?) felt a bit rushed and well, there wasn’t the falling in love part included, it was still a very great, swoon-worthy relationship.
SIBLINGS! POP CULTURE! BULLYING! SOCIAL MEDIA! SO MANY THINGS.
““Here’s some advice, horses.” I rise from the stool. In their stalls along the wall, the animals prick their ears, swat invisible flies with their tails. “Don’t ever get on Facebook.”
I especially loved the fact that there was a big focus on the relationship between Lucy and her sister. As a subplot, it didn’t overshadow the main purpose of the story, but definitely served it well. Lucy has a hard relationship with her sister, which I wouldn’t know about because that’s not the case for me, BUT it was really great. I love books with siblings, and I loved seeing the resentment, the anger, just, the whole relationship between the sisters previously destroyed, being built up again.
#Scandal is a book, words living in their own time, in our world. There are a lot of pop culture references, from Veronica Mars to The Hunger Games, and obviously, there’s the big role of social media underlined here. Can’t deny it, they are a part of our lives, and I loved how the story not only took a step, but jumped straight, with two feet, into the deep pool of darkness that social media can be. How can something become so viral? How a rumor is so quickly spread without foundations, are those pretended friends really friends, why is the role of social media sometimes just to put information out there without references or shame, at all? Moreover, the fact that there’s a picture of a GIRL kissing a BOY, and the BOY is taken, well, that calls for the whole slut-shaming drama. I mean, why does it have to be different when it comes to boys, or girls? There are so many questions, questions that we ask ourselves nowadays. Despite being an entertaining contemporary read, #scandal is also a call out to all of these issues that we ought to think about.
Another strong contemporary by Sarah Ockler. I wasn’t as blown away as I was with The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, but I still loved her voice, her characters, and the issues we’re dealing with. If you love a great contemporary with relatable characters, pop culture references, a swoony romance and an interesting take on social media, then do read it. You should love it.
Final rating: 4 drops!
Did you read #Scandal? WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT? Do you want to read it?
Are you on Facebook, Twitter, etc? Do YOU think TOO MUCH social media is just…well, this has GOT TO STOP sometimes? Share your thoughts in comments!
Sarah Ockler, #Scandal, Published by Simon Pulse, June 17th 2014.
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…