Book Review: Tease

During her junior year, Emma Putman transferred to the high school attended by Sara and best friend Brielle, a vicious, rich bitch who enjoyed picking on everyone around her. Due in part to her looks and the way she attracts boys including Sara’s boyfriend Dylan, the girls begin taunting Emma with pointed digs about being a slut, even going so far as putting up a sign to that effect in her yard. Shortly after Sarah, Brielle and others posted a series of nasty-grams on Facebook, Emma committed suicide in her home. With the mountain of bullying evidence against them; Emma’s parents, the legal system and media are holding the girls accountable. Sara and Brielle are not allowed to communicate, Dylan and Sara’s relationship is over and Sara is bitter, holding Emma responsible for everyone hating her.

It is easy to dislike the main characters as they remain shallow, self centered and outright cruel. Told from Sara’s perspective which shifts from present day back to the events leading up to Emma’s death, she continually views sessions with her lawyers, therapist and others as a major inconvenience. Sara feels it is Emma’s fault that her life is now so difficult and everyone hates her. When, as the result of a plea bargain Sara is instructed to write an apology, the task is beyond her as she doesn’t really feel any remorse for Emma taking the “easy way out.” Unaccountably, Sara suddenly realizes the full impact of her words and actions on others and is sorry for her role in Emma’s death, the reasons for this change are not explained to any degree. Given the subject matter, this could have been a much more powerful and moving story if less time had been spent on showing just how despicable and disengaged kids can be and more on what kind of dynamics lead to such toxic behavior.



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