ARC Review – #scandal by Sarah Ockler

18667034Title:  #scandal

Author: Sarah Ockler

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: 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.

Huge thank you to Simon Pulse and Edelweiss for this ARC!

River’s Review:

I LOVED this! Going into it I was really worried because of some of the low ratings and meh reviews, but wow. This was SO much fun. #scandal is actually my 2nd Ockler book and I loved it SO much more than the first!

#scandal, with it’s trendy hastag title, is a layered story that touches on a lot of important topics facing many teens today. Not only does it deal with things like friendship, first love, heartbreak, and high school, it also touches on social media, online bullying, and slut shaming. And I thought the way that all of these topics were handled was not only well done and relatable, but really accessible too.

The story starts out with Lucy going to prom with her BFF’s boyfriend, Cole. Only, the problem is…Lucy’s been in love with Cole since he first moved to town. They’re pretty good friends, but she hasn’t done anything about her feelings because, duh, her BFF is dating him. So when BFF, Ellie, ends up with the flu and can’t go to prom, she begs Lucy to go in her place. Lucy isn’t really into things like prom, and she’d rather be playing video games on her computer or watching zombie movies. 

After prom Lucy goes to a party with Cole and ends up kissing him. Someone takes a photo of her doing it and then the next day a whole bunch of photos from the party wind up on Lucy’s Facebook… and it looks like she posted them. Lucy didn’t though, and soon finds that her phone is missing. This starts a chain of events that leads to a few mysteries… who stole her phone, who uploaded the photos, who TOOK the photos and… who’s Miss Demeanor.

Miss Demeanor? Think Gossip Girl on Facebook, focusing solely on Lucy’s high school, Lav-Oaks. Miss Demeanor posts about the Lav-Oaks’ gossip and even has a #scandal contest. Lucy’s photos are tagged for the contest, which causes them to go even more viral.

The photos not only cause Ellie to find out that Lucy kissed Cole, but it also causes a lot of kids to get into trouble with the school and their parents. And in good old high school bullying fashion Lucy is labeled a slut and a narc and everyone starts to do and say horrible things to her.

So I can’t say too much more without spoiling the rest of the book but I was actually surprised at the culprit. I had a few guesses, and none of them were right. I mean, I didn’t think it was who they thought it was, but once someone handed over the phone I figured it out. I was disappointed in that person, but could see why they did it. We also find out who Miss Demeanor is and I found the true identity to be HILARIOUS. 

The characters in this were great. Lucy’s voice was so spot on. She’s not perfect, can be judgy herself, and she’s super sarcastic and witty. I loved the banter that happened between her and ANYONE. Franklin was my next favorite, and he came out of literally nowhere. His interactions and the friendship that grew between him and Lucy was the best. I really really loved him. And then Mr. Freckles, the horse, the whole story about him was just too precious. Next I really liked (e)VIL (the school’s anti-technology/ conspiracy theory club). All of the members were so funny. Cole was really sweet and caring and I liked how he felt awful for hurting Ellie, but how he wanted to stand by Lucy’s side and stay true to himself as well. And Jayla Heart… I wont say anything about her, but the whole storyline that followed her was really well done too. 

Another thing I liked about this book was the writing. It doesn’t do much with the telling and there’s A LOT of showing and sometimes skimps on the backstory and a lot of things are presented to the reader like they already KNOW the backstory. At first I found this a bit jarring, and it does walk a VERY find line between giving you enough backstory and just letting you feel like you already know it. I personally love the feeling when I’m so into a story that I feel like it’s already familiar and this… had that feeling. I never felt that I had to ‘learn’ the world, but I never felt that I didn’t understand it. The beginning does just throw you into the mix though, so if you don’t like that kind of writing it might be difficult to really get into this book.

I really just had so much fun reading this. The blurb doesn’t really do it any justice, and if anything, kinda leads the reader to make assumptions that might not be met in the story and I don’t think that’s fair. So try not to put too much stock in the blurb and just read this and enjoy the hilarity that ensues.



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