Book Talk: Tease by Amanda Maciel


Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”


Okay so Tease is told from the perspective of a girl who, along with her best friend and others, bullied another girl who ended up killing herself. It goes back and forth between what started the bullying/led to the suicide and then also is in the present where she’s fighting a case against her and the others for their responsibility in the girl’s death as well as trying to live life after this event.


a4What a compelling book! There was a lot of good and then there were some little details that would have made for a BETTER experience for me. I think, altogether, it is a powerful read (albeit a frustrating one at times) that will stir up a good conversation. I absolutely couldn’t put it down because it made my stomach all in knots.

Here’s what I liked about it:

1. Being in the head of the BULLY  made for an interesting experience:  Okay, so I’m just putting it out there. YOU ARE GOING TO BE FRUSTRATED. We are in the head of a girl who bullied a girl with her friends (though her bff was the mastermind) and was AWFUL… and for most of the books can’t see that she did anything wrong. But the thing there was constantly a war waging war in my head because we really get to know her — the good and the bad and what makes her tick — and it made it hard for me to HATE her despite the fact I wanted to strangle her half the time. We see her side of the story and, though I disagree with a lot that she did OBVIOUSLY, I really was able to understand in some ways where she was coming from — NOT that bullying is the answer. The girl who was bullied, Emma, from what we see actually DID things to warrant some of the feelings that she had towards her and was not innocent in the beginning situation. Stealing her boyfriend? Yeah no. Not cool. I GET that rage. I was mad FOR her. (Mad at the boyfriend too). I get the wanting revenge (not the actual carrying out of). I get that sometimes jealousy and fear and insecurities can manifest and it’s not pretty. I GET IT.  As humans we are capable of these ugly emotions and feel them intensely. But the actual letting those feelings manifest into action like THAT? That’s where it was hard to stomach for me and I would feel so angry as 28 year old reader Jamie like, “NO! WHY! STOP!” But then I would feel compassion for her because, as a reader, we know she’s not just a 100% evil person despite what an AWFUL thing she was part of (and as an old lady I was like…ahh so many years to learn and grow from this).

It’s not black and white and I LOVED THAT because people rarely are so easy to put into a box. We never know the whole story — sometimes we just see the tip of the iceberg and we don’t know what is going on underneath. This story really captured that on all sides — especially Sara and a bit with Emma. There was obvious wrong and right but there was A LOT of grey for the reader to wade through.

2. It’s so, so relevant with all the bullying cases making headlines: There’s so many questions this novel brings up and I love that the author did not answer them but posed them through this story. There’s a lot to navigate — especially with online bullying. Emma’s bullying takes place in school, harassment outside of school and there is some vicious bullying on social media. During the whole book there’s the questions of: who is responsible? Should the bullies be held responsible and to what degree? What constitutes bullying and what is just catty teen stuff? It was just a really thought-provoking and compelling read because it’s so realistic and relevant.

Now despite the gripping and page-turning aspects and all the GOOD there were some things I needed to make it better:

1. At certain points it would linger and I found myself bored: Some of the timeline kind of would drag out and I’d just kind of be like OKAY LET’S GET ON WITH THIS.

2. I felt like a lot of the other characters fell a bit flat: I felt like our main character was really pretty fleshed out but some of the other characters just had nothing to them at all which frustrated me. Even with the one moment of vulnerability we see with Brielle, I still felt she just felt like a standard mean girl with nothing really to her. Carmichael was the most fully realized character, I thought, besides Sara but I still felt like he didn’t JUMP out at me. I liked him alright but I felt like I was missing something in his development. And even Emma was just like this sort of person to me. We know she steals Sara’s boyfriend and clearly has some things going on in her own life but other than that she just IS the person Sara is fighting against. I wish we could have learned more about her in the end. OR oh my gosh I would love an Emma novella or something to learn more about her!



factors+ the complexity of the main character, the unique way this story is told, how much it made me think & the conversation that can happen because of this book
bad pacing at times despite me furiously turning pages for most of it, a lot of flat characters

Re-readability: Probably not. It was a one time read kind of deal.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? No but I want to buy it for every teen I know! And I want to make sure all the teachers and libraries have it on their shelves (I wish I could fund that).

a5people who don’t mind really difficult characters, people who are interested in books about bullying or slut-shaming that isn’t preachy and shows different sides, people who are looking for a good conversation starter or book club read (MAN I wish my book club read this), lovers of contemporary YA that deal with tough issues, people who liked Speechless by Hannah Harrington

a8What a uniquely crafted story dealing with bullying and slut-shaming that manages to NOT be preachy or make everything black and white. I was so intrigued by the POV of the bully and loved the switching of the story in the past and the present. I love a book that I REALLY have to engage with and think about and this book was certainly that. While it wasn’t a technically WOW book for me for a couple reasons, it really did absolutely pull me in and I do recommend it!


review-on-post-it tease-amanda-maciel

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
* If you haven’t read it, is it something on your radar or that you think you will read?
* If you read, HOW FRUSTRATED WERE YOU WITH SARA ON A SCALE OF 1-10?? Did it impact your rating of the book or no? (It did not impact my rating personally).
* Does anyone else need an Emma novella?? LIKE I NEED IT.

The Perpetual Page-Turner


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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I felt pretty much the same about this. Part of me hated it. Because part of me hated the main character so much. But then the other part of me did understand her feelings, even though her actions were wrong. It was a very tough book to read I think. I pretty much said the same thing you did about getting this book into the hands of teens everywhere in my review. Lol. But they need to read this and realize how severe the consequences of bullying can be! Kids are awful these days. It’s really sad. 🙁

    • I definitely didn’t feel like I hated the book but OMG I HATED HER SO OFTEN. But then, like I said, I’d like GET HER and understand her. And my head was going all crazy haha. I really do think it’s an important book for teens because it kind of shows it from different angles even though she is our MC. You see how even being a bystander is just as bad. There’s a lot to talk about with this one for sure!

  2. This was such an interesting read, agreed the frustration part was quite upfront but this story is not light & fluffy and a lot of people will not like it because of the controversy of the MC. It was definitely an interesting read and you’ve explained your thoughts perfectly Jamie. I felt I was the only one who actually liked it and I’m rather relieved I’m not the only one now.

    • Yes I know a lot of people didn’t like it because they didn’t like the MC. That sort of thing isn’t a deal-breaker for me necessarily. If I can understand the MC and feel like she is REAL, I can still like the book no matter how AWFUL the MC is.

      I’m so happy you commented because I felt in the minority too!

  3. Sounds like an interesting read – I like books that make me think, even if I don’t agree with it, so I’ll definitely pick this one up.

    • Yes I love those kind of books too! I love books that make me think and that challenge me as a reader. I don’t have to like what is going on in the story to like the book..if that makes sense.

      Do you have any other recs for books like that?

      • The Gone series by Michael Grant comes to mind (it’s long and can be gorey, yet I couldn’t stop reading until I finished the series!), Hate List by Jennifer Brown, Machine Man & Syrup by Max Berry.

        • I actually just read Gone a couple of weeks ago! Interested to see how the rest of the series will go. LOVED Hate List — DEFINITELY a tough one like this. Must check out Machine Man and Syrup. Thanks! 🙂

  4. Heather says:

    I’m so glad you reviewed this one. I’ve been interested but I wasn’t sure how it would sit with me. Based on your review I’m hoping my library gets a copy. I’m interested but not enough to buy it.

    • It’s definitely a tough one to swallow but I thought it was well-done and realistic! I’m hoping your library gets it in too! You can always call/email them to inquire about ordering it. Good book to have on their shelves because it deals with bullying and slut-shaming — all topics relevant to teens on either side of it! Sometimes they will listen and order it! 🙂 (I have a friend who is a librarian and tells me this)

      • Heather says:

        It turns out they do have a copy already 🙂 I’ve suggested numerous books for my library to order – I’m starting to think they’ve had enough of me lol. Now on my holds list!

  5. Seems that this one is a one time read which makes me think Library Book! I do want to read this but as you said I feel I would be frustrated with it because it is hard to read from the perspective of the bully instead of the victim which we are use to reading about.
    Thanks for the great review though!

  6. Yay! That’s lovely to hear! Even if there are a few flaws at least you enjoyed it. I love the idea of the POV belonging to the bully. It has an interesting concept…I jus bought the hardcover and it is so pretty! I hope it’s a def worthy buy, I think I’ll enjoy Tease since you liked it hihi lovely review!

  7. Wow, this one sounds like it’s a bit of a tough read because of the dislikeable protagonist, but also a really worthwhile one. Great to hear that it’s a complex situation that the reader is presented with, and that the author does justice to that by not painting things in a black-and-white way. Sounds like ultimately it provides the reader with a lot of food for thought (although I can understand not wanting to re-read it!). It’s a shame, though, that not all the characters were as fleshed-out as the main one, as I’m sure that would have made it feel even more realistic and added more layers.

  8. I 100% loved this book!! So glad you were into it as well! I’ve seen a lot of people have a disconnect with it and that made me a little sad because I felt SO passionate about this when I finished it. I LOVED that the author made me relate to this complicated sometimes unlikeable girl. I loved that I felt uncomfortable relating to her. And I loved that she made me have complicated feelings toward Emma. I wasn’t all “poor Emma” throughout the book. I actually was pissed at her for some of the things she did as well. It’s definitely an important book. And like you said it leaves you with a lot of questions and things to talk about!


  1. […] Feel like there are real and believable motivations behind them. I need it to feel real. I read Tease by Amanda Maciel recently and it’s from the POV of a bully who doesn’t think she’s to blame at all […]