February 3, 2014

#scandal by Sarah Ockler (eARC)

Title: #scandal
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publish Date: June 17, 2014
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4/5 Stars

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...

#scandal is very different from Sarah Ockler’s other books. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why, but there are a few main reasons, the first being the subject matter. Most of Sarah Ockler’s books are more fluffy and light, though they aren’t exactly Sarah Dessen light. They run more along the lines of books you read if you want to be in a good mood, but also deal with some real issues. Well, this one is the realest (is that a word?) issue she’s dealt with yet.

#scandal follows a girl named Lucy who attends prom with her best friend’s boyfriend, Cole, while her friend stays home sick. But we find out later that Ellie – Lucy’s best friend – wasn’t really sick. In addition to this, Lucy’s feelings for Cole can’t be ignored. Unbeknownst to her, Cole may feel the same way.

And so follows a disaster full of scandalous photos, broken friendships, and taunting high schoolers. Lucy struggles to face her friendship with Ellie and her feelings for Cole that seem impossible to ignore.

One aspect of this book I really liked was the characters. They were all so unique and the different personalities really worked together (or clashed, depending on who we’re talking about here). Lucy bothered me at some points, but in the way she was supposed to. A good kind of frustrating.

When we finally find out the culprit, it is surprising – or, at least, it was for me. I did like the way it all came together at the end.

However, some parts of the ending were a bit unsatisfying. The whole situation with Cole and Lucy‘s relationship with him did have a conclusion, but there was the whole aspect of him going away that’s tied throughout the entire story. This part isn’t really addressed. The same can be said for Lucy’s relationship with Ellie. Yes, it was tied up, but there was still something missing.

The final thing that bothered me a bit was the whole absent-parent thing. This time we do have an actual excuse for it, instead of them just being mysteriously gone – they were on vacation. But still, even after they return there isn’t much involvement there, and this is one of my YA pet peeves that drives me crazy.

On the contrary, the messages that Sarah Ockler sent with this book were good, and I loved the way she portrayed them. The plot was pretty steady – it wasn’t exactly fast but there weren’t any lulls, either.

Overall, I’d say that this book is balanced in every way. It has just the right amount of character development, good plot, and strong conflict. Fans of Sarah Dessen and Morgan Matson will enjoy this book, as well as any of Sarah Ockler’s other books.


  1. I can't wait to read #scandal, I've generally liked all of Sarah Ockler's and I can't wait to get my own copy of it.

    Aly @ My Heart Hearts Books

    1. It was an excellent book! A bit different from her other books but just as good.

  2. I've never seen a title with a hashtag before...it's kind of cool, I guess! I like characters. I like characters a lot. So it's particularly awesome if they're well developed. :)

  3. I would love to read this book. It sounds pretty interesting! I have never read any book by the author before, though.