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Tease – Amanda Maciel

“‘Did you ever have a physical confrontation with Miss Putnam?’ 
‘Did what?’ 
‘Did you ever have a -‘ 
‘Oh. Yeah. Um, yeah, I guess there was the one time in the locker room.’ 
The lawyer writes this down, even though the tape recorder is on, has been on the whole time. Also, she already knows the answer to the question. Also, the law firm’s intern is taking notes, too. I shouldn’t notice how hot he is, but he’s the only good thing to look at in here.”

Emma Putnam is dead, and everyone is blaming Sara. Everyone except maybe Sara herself and her best friend Brielle. They, along with three of their classmates are being charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma’s suicide. But Sara can’t help but feel the blame cant all be put onto them, it wasn’t their fault that Emma slept around and stole Sara’s boyfriend, along with many other boyfriends. Surely the lawyers and the parents can see that all the blame cannot lay with the teenagers left behind, that Emma brought on the harassment herself and took her own life. it was her own choice, wasn’t it? 

***
What a thought-provoking, hard to read debut. It takes a lot to make me feel uncomfortable when reading but Tease had me shocked and appalled, and rethinking my own thoughts on right and wrong. It will have you considering who the real victims in the story are and who needs the help that is offered, and why it came too late for some people. 
The story is fantastic, it is really hard to read in places but it is fantastic. Written with flashes between present time and the past, was such a great way to present it. The run up to Emma’s suicide was in the past chapters, with the reasons that the girls started bullying her and harassing her coming out then, and the present showing how much Emma taking her own life has destroyed Sara. It gets you thinking about why the characters did the things they did and the only thing I disliked about it was that we never get Emma’s thoughts at all, just her looking like a deer in the headlights when the insults fly and her getting friendly with a fair few of the guys. 
Tease shows just how much of an effect bullying has on a person, both the bully and the person being bullied, and how there usually is a reason behind it all. In this case it was obvious right from the start, to me at least, that Brielle was the real bully and Sara got swept up into it. Brielle was the poor little rich girl who was so terrified of being alone that she had to make herself queen bee and have a lot of puppy dogs following her. Sara was the one swept up in this and too scared of losing Brielle as a friend to stand up to her. I loved this aspect of the book and just how much you see Sara grow up within the pages of this book. 
There’s a lot of other stuff going on with Sara other than the court case and because of how well you get to know her, it makes it harder to want her to suffer for what she did – she suffers every day anyway. As a mother I would hate to be in the shoes of Emma Putman’s parents during the events of this book, but I would also hate for my child to be treated in the way Sara is treated. I loved that Sara had a tight family to get through everything, but hated her father and his reaction to it all.. There were a lot of feelings stirred up for me when reading this book and I honestly couldn’t go through them all. 
Tease has a scary outlook on teenage life and how a series of small things can effect someone. It shows all the really scary aspects of teenage life, from friendship to bullying to sex and family, I was shocked at just how much was covered without everything feeling like too much and I really enjoyed reading it. I love any book that makes you think about certain topics in a very individual way and I loved the style of writing from the author. As her debut Tease really set Amanda Maciel apart from other, particularly US, YA contemporary writers for me and I really am looking forward to seeing what else she writes. 
Tease was published on May 1st by Hodder Children’s Books. My copy was sent from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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  • I loved this for all the reasons you said, from Sara and Brielle’s friendship to the way they all interact with Emma. And yeah, the before bits made me super uncomfortable because I knew what was coming but I really liked how it showed both sides of the story.