Thursday, December 11, 2014

#31DaysofReading Book Review: #scandal by Sarah Ockler

Title: #scandal
Author: Sarah Ockler
Format: ebook
Pub. Date: June 17th 2014
Source: SimonPulse via PulseIt #31daysofreading

Description via Goodreads:

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...


There's a lot of books out there lately that have to deal with the idea of cyberbullying. Understandably so, as it's growing easier, more common, and harder to regulate or discipline. I've read quite a few of them with overall little favor, but I have to admit, this is one of the books of the ones that I have read that I feel best narrates and addresses the problem.

What made the biggest difference to me, in regards to this young adult piece of fiction feeling more authentic, is that these awful pictures of the characters in this book are posted to Facebook. Facebook and Instagram are cited by name. This sounds like it's not a big deal, but it helps so much. I personally find it harder to connect to a book when they try and make up a "hot social networking site". It just sounds silly to me. But Facebook is a site that most of us are so dependent on that using it specifically hits just a bit harder to home.

Another way that this book is set apart from other books on similar topics is the main character: she actually learns something. She grows and she fights back and she changes over the course of the story, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. But she doesn't take this scandal just lying down and she doesn't just shut down about it. She talks about it (at least a little) and she tries to find out the truth to clear her name and to apologize, in a way, to the people who were victimized just as much as she was. I liked this about Lucy tremendously.

There were a lot of plot threads to follow here and a lot going on, but to me that just kept it engaging and made it harder to look away from. I never felt that it got muddled or confused at all. Emotions ran high, and widely varied ones too. I felt anger towards some characters, annoyance at others, sympathy, and support, and hope and vengeance. I felt attached to these characters, like their scandal was somehow at my old high school. I was cheering for Cole and Lucy even at times when I probably shouldn't have been. That's just the mark of good writing and good world building. I also felt that the slang/dialog was really believable. Teenagers totally could have written these conversations.

That being said, this is another book that features well-off students and even ties into a celebrity. I felt a slight disconnect on that level. My high school was on the poorer side, and while the fantasy prom theme of this book sounds absolutely amazing, it's a little bit harder to relate to characters who get shopping sprees from their rich sister or who get the latest technology from out of the country. I feel like in a school where there's horse stables and this elaborate of parties, there'd be a lot more lawyers involved in this scandal. The celebrity plot tied in relatively well to the overall theme of being in the spotlight and being judged constantly, but it felt like a little much.

While I liked this book in the present setting in which I read it (2014), I'm not sure how this book will hold up in the future. When cites are created, hyped, and destroyed so easily and when laws and rules are popping up so frequently. This is neither a positive nor a negative point towards the book, just a personal reflection.

This is a book I'd recommend to fans of realistic YA. Be warned that this book contains some pretty heavy themes, such as sex, drugs, alcohol, and cyberbullying. If you enjoyed Send by Patty Blount, I think you'll enjoy this one too. Thanks to Simon Teen / for the chance to read this during #31daysofreading.


  1. I wish I could remember the name of the book - but I read another really good book about sexting pictures begin released, and the aftermath at school for the girl and the legal issues for the boy.

    This sounds interesting. I'll have to pick it up.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

    1. Oh, let me know if you remember the name of it, please. :)

  2. I loved Send, as you know, and this sounds like another good book to sacrifice my feelings to. The synopsis alone was enough to pique my interest, but as always, your review reels me in further and I end up with a mighty need for a new book lol

    1. I think you'd like it well enough, based on your feelings on Send.