Publisher: Simon Pulse on June 17, 2014
Reading Challenges: 2014 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2014 Review Pile Reading Challenge, 2014 Standalone Reading Challenge, 2014 YA Contemporary Challenge
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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...
The premise of this novel is pretty straight-forward. Someone uploads compromising pictures from an after-prom party to the main character, Lucy’s, Facebook, framing her as the perpetrator. Everyone in her school turns against her including her best friend Ellie after she sees pictures of Lucy kissing her ex-boyfriend, Cole. So Lucy sets out on a quest to find out who exactly framed her while avoiding the watchful eye of her principal and avoiding all the negativity that comes from her peers.
#scandal was unlike anything that I’ve ever read before. For one, I have never read a novel that social media and networking were such a large part of. This alone made the novel very unique for me. In addition to this, the novel had a mystery vibe to it as Lucy tried to track down the person who stole her phone and uploaded those pictures. And there was a subplot of a social media gossip columnist, Miss Demeanor, and finding out their identity. For the most part, the things that happened in this novel were unexpected. I was able to figure out the Miss Demeanor identity, but the other one? Total shock. Unfortunately, the beginning of this novel was rather dull for me. It took a few chapters to get the ball rolling and the drama flaring but after that point it was steady sailing.
Lucy was the main character. She was faced basically with slut-shaming after the big Facebook blowout. She was unbelievably strong in my eyes to be able to put up with the things that she did. I didn’t believe she was a bad person. Sure, she kissed her best friend’s ex-boyfriend, breaking the best friend code, but to be honest, I think it was pretty justified. But she was relentless in finding out who started the mess. Sure, she had her faults like judging people on contact, but this allowed room for personal growth throughout the novel. And this definitely occurred.
Cole was the love interest in this novel. We didn’t see too much of him as all of the negativity was focused on Lucy, even though it takes two to tango. Regardless, he was very supportive of Lucy and you could see the realness of his feelings for Lucy and the fact that he did not want to hurt Ellie. I liked the little that we saw of him and I wish we could have seen more.
“I’m still staring at Cole, and he’s staring back at me too. Franklin must notice it, because he leans close and offers a supportive smile. ‘You can’t help who you love,’ he says, ‘even if the timing is horrendous.’ ‘Even if people you care about get hurt?’ I ask. I don’t really mean for him to answer, but he does. ‘It’s not like you can switch off your feelings. Repression never helped anyone.’ ‘That needs to be on a bumper sticker.’ ‘You’re in love with him,’ Franklin says mater-of-factly. ‘Don’t try to outrun it. You can’t.’”
This novel wasn’t so much about romance as it was friendships and the adverse affects of social media. Therefore, we saw very little romance. But of what we saw, it was sweet. Real. Authentic. I wish we had seen more.
The supporting characters in this novel were numerous and all had their different purposes and importance.
Ellie was Lucy’s former best friend who was hurt by Lucy’s actions regarding Cole. But to be honest, I felt no sympathy for her. She refused to hear Lucy out, her supposed best friend, and believed a social media site over her. That doesn’t scream good best friend to me.
“He swivels his chair toward me, our knees almost touching. ‘I know it’s difficult,’ he says softly. ‘But we’ve got to review the evidence. Notes, photographs, Facebook comments. It’s embarrassing for you. But I mean it, love. No judgments.’”
Franklin was a character that I enjoyed. He was British and the valedictorian and really wanted to help Lucy figure out the case. Although he had his shady moments, I felt that he was really authentic in his involvement in Lucy’s case. He was a really good friend to her in her moments of need.
Then you had the (e)VILS. They were members of an anti-vanity social media group. They were weird and quirky and pretty much shunned and made fun of, but they had Lucy’s back. Once we saw more of their characters, I saw that they were really great people versus the annoying archaic people that I first thought they would be.
And finally, you had Jayla, Lucy’s older sister. She was a movie star suffering from some problems and trying to make up a mistake that happened the year prior. She was kind of air-headish but she also grew immensely over the course of the novel. I think the sisterly bond that forms in this novel was a fantastic touch to the novel overall.
This novel heavily refers to social media and the negativity that it can bring to people. So in addition to a thoroughly entertaining novel, Ockler also teaches readers a lesson: always think before you post something. Things that you do in the heat of the moment can ruin lives—others and your own. So be cautious of the things that you put on the internet: you never know how they will affect you and others.
#scandal was a one-of-a-kind novel with a mystery-filled plot that doubles as a life lesson. I don’t think you can get any better than that.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a picture tagged on Miss Demeanor’s Scandal of the Month page is worth about a million. Especially when the story all those words tell is an absolute lie.
Well, mostly a lie.
The part about falling asleep in his arms is sort of true. I don’t remember the details about the horse, or how it got into the living room exactly, but judging from the smell that morning, that part’s true too. And yes, the Harvard-bound debate team captain definitely cannonballed into the pond wearing only tuxedo socks and silver fairy wings. Everyone got shots of that.
But there’s no way the other stuff happened.
Not like the pictures are saying it did.