Review: #scandal by Sarah Ockler

June 18, 2014 Raquel Romero 0 ½

#scandal by Sarah Ockler
Publication Date: June 17th 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: Edelwiess, Simon Pulse

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...

I received this ARC for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

My Thoughts

Ive been a fan of Sarah Ockler ever since her 2009 debut of Twenty Boy Summer, so I was extremely excited to get my hands of an eARC of #scandal. Yet, as excited as I was, I had a hard time focusing on this bookit practically took me a whole week to finish it! Nevertheless, here I am, with some mixed feelings in tow.

#scandal picks up at prom, just before Lucys life blows up. Never one to crave the limelight, Lucy reluctantly agrees to go to prom with her best friends boyfriend, when said best friend falls sick. Even though Lucy would rather spend the night fighting zombies and such, she agrees, never imagining how the night would turn out. Lucys been in love with Cole, her best friends boyfriend, since she met him four years ago, but as the loyal best friend, shes never crossed the line. However, when Lucy finds out about Cole and Ellies breakup, she cant help but to start hoping, and with a kiss between her and Cole, everything changes.

Filled with guilt, Lucy flees the scene the morning after, not realizing what awaits her. Next thing she knows, Lucys being labeled a slut and a narc for posting incriminating pictures of various of her classmates, as well as of herselfwith Cole, in bed. Now, her best friend is refusing to speak to her, the whole school has a vendetta against her, and despite Coles support with everything that is happening, Lucy refuses to fall into his arms and damage her relationship with Ellie even more.

Technology plays a huge role in #scandalfrom the online gossip columns to emails shown throughout the book, to the actual role Facebook plays in making the events of that night public to everyone. Furthermore, without even having to delve too much into the actual book, the message Ockler delivers is painstakingly clear: despite its many advantages, technology can be a grave and dangerous tool, particularly for the use of cyberbullying.

One of the things I liked the most about this book was the fact that in the end, everything is not all peachy between Lucy and Elliewhich is exactly as it should be. Often authors tie everything up with a neat bow for the sole purpose of making readers happy, and the reality is that life is anything but neat. Yes, technically Cole and Ellie were already broken up when Lucy and Cole kissed, but it was still a recent break up and it would still hurt Ellie. Another thing I liked: the relationship between Lucy and Jayla. Family is messy, and even though its evident throughout the book that the sisters relationship is a little rocky, Ockler still manages to show us that Lucy and Jayla truly love each other despite their differences.

With the scandal those pictures bring forth, Lucy sets out to clear her name, and along the way, comes out of her shell. During her sleuthing, she finds allies and friends with the members of (e)VIL. Its so easy to get caught up in ones own clique in high school, never venturing out of ones own comfort zone, and thats an issue that Ockler explores in #scandal. On another topic, I have to admit that a lot of the technology lingo confused me. There were times where I just had to stop and think, and while I admire an authors ability to make the reader contemplate, I dont think thats exactly what Ockler had in mind for those scenes.

We do see Lucys character develop over the course of the novel. However, there were a couple of relationships that I felt where underdeveloped: Lucy and Ellies and Lucy and Coles. First, there was not enough interaction between Lucy and Ellie to really get a feel for their friendship, and without that bond, I found it difficult to feel bad about Lucy making a move towards Cole. At the same time, I felt like Lucy and Coles relationship also lacked something. Cole doesnt make many appearances in the book and if I couldnt get to know him, then how could I root for him? And to be honest, I actually felt like there was  something between Lucy and Franklin. Lucy and Cole do get their happily ever after (as far as we know) but that just seemed a bit redundant to me.

Regardless of the lackluster romance, #scandal makes for an interesting read. I didnt see the perpetrator coming, and thats always a plus in my book. Furthermore, even if #scandal isnt one of my favorites from Ockler, Id still recommend it.

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