Published by Hatchette Children's on April 29th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Source: Given From Publisher
*This isn’t really a review, it kind of is, and not. I might write a review afterwards discussing other aspects of the book. It’s more my thoughts on the book and my thoughts on the themes in general. For when I want to go beyond the review into my own personal views and experiences. Thinking of making it into a feature…?*
I was given this book a while ago Hatchette Children’s books, but have only gotten around to discussing it now.
I recently read Tease by Amanda McKiel and it frustrated me in so many ways, but also made me think deeper about suicide and the help given to suicidal people. When I recently went to San Francisco to the Golden Gate Bridge, they had to stop the tour bus momentarily because someone was busy jumping off of it. The tour guide then proceeded to tell us that SF is going to spend thousands on building a net below it to stop this. The stupidity of this annoyed me–people will simply find other ways to kill themselves, like jumping off of the Bay Bridge, which just so happens to be opposite. As my older brother said, why don’t they just use that money for charities to support suicidal people?
Tease was a very eye-opening read for me in a couple of ways. A girl commits suicide after being bullied horrendously for months. The main themes are bullying, slut-shaming and suicide, with a dash of friendship and romance. The book follows Sara, one of the many people who bullied Emma before she killed herself. The book is supposed to ask whether this is Emma’s fault, society’s fault, or Sara and the other bullies fault. With the amount of suicide’s on the rise in general, I can’t help but think it’s beginning to be more of an option in society, especially to young people. Teenagers are known to think that their life is over at things that would ultimately be tiny later in life, and many kill themselves over test results, or an unfortunate topless photo of them being passed around. I don’t ever think it’s the victim’s fault, especially to someone like Emma, who obviously had some self-esteem issues before some utterly horrible girls harassed her. I felt like Sara and her best friend Brielle had absolutely no excuse to bully Emma to the point that they did. They had amazing lives that could have grown into so much more. Even afterwards, Emma barely even resembled an emotion such as regret. She blamed Emma a lot at the beginning, and even though I think this was part of her development as a character, it didn’t make me like her much.
One thing that majorly surprised me in the book is slut-shaming. Constantly Sara and Brielle, are calling Emma a ‘slut’, ‘whore’ etc. Emma doesn’t seem like a very nice person I grant you, she steals people’s boyfriends and sleeps with a lot of boys. I understand this isn’t something everyone respects. However no one comments on the guys that sleep with her, they get nary a mention. At all. The fact that girls are judged for sleeping with boys in high school is almost twice as worse because everyone knows about it two seconds after as well.
I think the worst thing about the events in this book – not the book itself – was the fact that the people doing the slut-shaming were girls. That stuns me. Constantly everyday, girls and women are trying to achieve equality and it’s being broken down by that very same gender. Has no one ever heard the phrase ‘us girls have to stick together’? Slut-shaming our own gender is undoing everything we’re trying to achieve and it’s based on such a double standard.
I’m obviously a huge feminist here, I honestly don’t know how you couldn’t be. Who doesn’t want equality? Has anyone else read this book, and what do y’all think?