Book Review: Tease

By: Amanda Maciel
Published By: Balzer & Bray
Publication Date: April 29, 2014
Page Count: 336
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary

Tease is a difficult novel to read, but one that is extremely important. Bullying in schools has always been an issue, but it seems to be more prevalent with the age of social media. Social media allows many teens to hide behind their computer screens while they spout hurtful things they probably wouldn't say in person. Novels that provide commentary on bullying are relevant and necessary.

Tease focuses on Sara Wharton and how she deals with the aftermath of a classmate's suicide. The loss of Emma Putnam isn't merely a tragedy, but one that was caused by the treatment she received by many at her new high school. Emma chooses to end her life rather than continue to deal with the constant harassment and rumors. My heart broke for Emma and her parents.

I found this to be difficult to read at first because I didn't like Sara at all. Like many of the people around her, I was judging her based on her spiteful actions. As the novel progressed, I learned to understand Sara a bit more. She had been hurt by Emma,  but that didn't give her the right to be so hateful. I did appreciate that Sara does grow throughout this novel and I feel like she comes out of everything a better person in spite of the horrendous road that leads her to her new sense of self.

I can recall how mean some of the girls were in high school. I wish that this trend didn't exist anymore, but sadly it continues to thrive. The feminist in me grew angrier every time one of the female characters would put Emma down. The words they use to describe her are never acceptable. Why are women judged to be the vixens in every situation? I didn't see very many people blaming the male characters in this novel. For example, one character cheats on his significant other multiple times in the novel, and everyone still thinks he's a great guy while the girls involved are branded with hateful names. This double standard, while realistic, turns my stomach. 

I can only hope this novel will teach people to think about their words and actions; we all need to consider how we can impact the lives of those around us. Tease is one of those novels that will be on your mind long after you have read the last sentence.

One Last Gripe: Sara frustrated me for a large portion of the novel. I wanted her to stand up to her friends and do what was right. I also had trouble feeling sorry for her.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: I liked that the novel bounced between the past and present.

First Sentence: "Did you ever have a physical confrontation with Miss Putnam?"

Favorite Character: Carmichael

Least Favorite Characters: There were so many who angered me, but Dylan irked me the most in many ways. Brielle was also one I found distasteful.

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.

During 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 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.

In this powerful debut novel inspired by real-life events, Amanda Maciel weaves a narrative of high school life as complex and heartbreaking as it is familiar: a story of everyday jealousies and resentments, misunderstandings and desires. Tease is a thought-provoking must-read that will haunt readers long after the last page.


  1. Seems, like a powerful book-- I'll definitely be checking it out. Great review.

    1. It was powerful. I think teenage girls should have this on their required reading list.


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