Review: #scandal (Ockler)

AUTHOR: Sarah Ockler
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse
ISBN: 9781481401241
PAGES: 368
GENRE: contemporary

SUMMARY: Lucy goes to Prom with Cole, her best friend’s boyfriend. Lucy and Cole kiss at an after-Prom party. The kiss is photographed and published (by someone else) on Lucy’s FaceBook page. Riotous drama ensues.

IF THIS BOOK WERE A MOVIE, IT WOULD BE: a very irritating and non-clever version of Mean Girls

WHAT I LIKED: I think teens will like this much better than I did. I have had library girls ask me for “books with lots of drama,” and this would be an excellent choice for them. I avoid drama at all costs, so for me, not an excellent choice. Teens would also relate better to the cyber-bullying stuff, which I have never encountered. So, even though I didn’t connect with this book, I do respect its ability to suck in reluctant reader teen girls who may be going through a similar situation.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE: Unsympathetic characters. We’ll start with Lucy. I just didn’t like her. She loves to play the victim and scorn everyone else. Except Cole, of course, who Lucy “loves.” Cole’s character is pretty flat and not all that sympathetic. Even though he was technically single the night of Prom, he knows Lucy and Ellie are best friends when he makes his move on Lucy. Not cool, dude.

Griffin and Ellie are terrible best friends. Ellie won’t even speak to Lucy and give her a chance to tell her side. Griffin is wild and annoying. In one breath, she’s telling Lucy to “go for it” with Cole; the next minute, she is shaming Lucy for doing it, saying she was “just kidding.” Also not cool. We also have absent parents, a famous sister who has serious emotional problems, and a really cute newspaper editor who, sadly, never gets the time of day as a possible romantic interest. Oh! And that principal! Checking her FaceBook page and posting messages while she is lecturing kids about the dangers of social media? WTH?

Drama. Cruel gossip. Immaturity. Social media shenanigans. There’s just a LOT of it. Some teens can handle social media, but the teens in this book are not among them. It’s just too stinkin’ much.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Social media drama queens will relate. Could work for reluctant reader teen girls.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: It’s too mature for middle school. Optional choice for high school.

READALIKES: The Break-Up Artist (Siegel); Red (Cherry)


  • Overall: 1/5–though I was curious as to the identity of Miss Demeanor, I had to force myself to finish. Skimmed the last 100 pages.
  • Creativity: 2/5–The mysteries of Miss Demeanor and Jayla Heart were slightly compelling.
  • Characters: 1/5–I did not like anyone except Franklin–a missed opportunity for a likeable love interest.
  • Engrossing: 1/5–skim, skim, skim
  • Writing: 3/5–nothing awful, but I didn’t connect with the characters at all
  • Appeal to teens: 3/5–reluctant reader teen girls may like
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 2/5–too long


  • Language: pretty high–includes F-bomb, sh**, damn, hell, ass, etc.–most are unnecessary
  • Sexuality: medium–kissing, innuendo, implied sex, slut-shaming
  • Violence: cyber-bullying and mean girls
  • Drugs/Alcohol: medium; teens get drunk at a party
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