The main problem I had with The S Word was that couldn't connect with the main character, and I find if I can't do that then the book is basically a bust. She was boring and two dimensional and a right old drama llama. I would have cheerfully punched her at times. Her internal monologue was awful - cliched and whiny and tedious. And you know how Show-don't-tell is a thing? Well this MC did both. She'd show us how terrified she was and then follow it up by saying 'Wow. I'm totally terrified right now.' I wanted to take a big red pen and scribble whole paragraphs out.
However instead of DNFing I carried on because with a situation as contentious as the one portayed here I thought the author might show some insight or character development or a bit of social critique. This didn't happen. Or if it did, it was buried in acres of dull, unrealistic dialogue.
It's such a shame because the idea behind this book is excellent. Slut shaming is a perennial topic both in fiction and real life and we need more books and people to be calling out this behaviour. The book also deals with ease and sexuality (although both are shoehorned in at the end and not given enough airtime).
This could have been a really important book, but the style of writing let it down. The MC dashes around for the first three quarters thinking she's Dick Tracy, trying to solve the mystery of her best friend's death but it just comes off all wrong. I never got the sense that the two girls were close, there wasn't enough back story to make me care.
This was a big disappointment for me. It read like a first draft and with some decent structural and line editing it could have been a solid book but as it stands it was pretty rubbish.