ARC Review: #Scandal by Sarah Ockler

#ScandalRating: 2/5
Genres: Contemporary, Cyber-bullying, Young Adult
Release Date: June 17th, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source:  Edelweiss
Check out on GOODREADS

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 was a huge disappointment. I read The Book of Broken Hearts last year and fell in love and when I found out that Ockler had a new book coming out, I was so excited and had such high expectations but my expectations weren’t met.

We are dealing with cyberbullying which is such an important issue in today’s world yet I felt so detached from the whole incident. From everything that happened in this book really. I cringed but when you’re reading about a character who is being bullied, you expect to feel a whole lot more and that didn’t happen. Sometimes I felt like the main character herself was detached from the situation because I couldn’t feel her pain or embarrassment. She talked about how she had it coming and yada yada yada but I never felt like she was truly hurt by the incident.

The main character, Lucy, was okay. She seemed like a bit of a cliché at first with her gorgeous best friend and she being the ‘awkward’ friend who stood out because she was interested in something most girls are (apparently) not, zombie games. I was worried about how well that would bode for her character but in all honesty, I never really felt that part of her personality come to life. She wore the t-shirts, made the references, played the games but it didn’t feel real to me. I DID like how she actually tried to tell her best friend the truth. She believed that her best friend deserved it even after her she had been ignoring her and refusing to listen to her explanations. What I didn’t love was how towards the ending she seemed to become a pushover (imo). I felt like instead of standing up for herself, she did what she though other people would approve of and it just didn’t sit well with me. After being bullied like that, she deserved to stand up for herself!

The secondary characters were not that well developed. There were a handful and out of that handful there were a couple who had a lot of potential but it didn’t work out well.

For starters, I don’t completely understand Ellie. I don’t understand why she had to lie to her best friend about her breakup and then ask her to be her ex’s prom date. I understand her anger at what happened. You really shouldn’t be making out with your best friends ex, especially after they recently broke up but I felt like Ellie felt like they had ‘cheated’ on her when they had not. With that said, I’d say she was the most likeable character in the book. Her best friend and her were not getting along, people were being asses but even with their differences she actually stood up for Lucy in spite of everything that had happened.

Her sister again had a lot of potential but I lost all respect for her once the mystery involving her unraveled (well one of them, there are two, one is more subtle). If she actually had any sisterly feelings for her sister she would have expressed some guilt and well taking her on shopping trips and buying her stuff will NOT CUT IT FOR ME! I need some expression of genuine remorse. When they met for the first time after a year, she brushed it off and while I disliked her for it at that point, you cannot imagine how disappointed I was when I learned what had actually happened.

The (e)VIL group was also an interesting addition. I was so glad to see the rolled they played and how they affected the main character. It was really nice to see how the author changed the main character perception of them over time making her realize it isn’t fair to be judgemental.

Franklin was cute. He was also not the love interest and that’s where the problem arises.

I do not care for the actual love interest. He was barely there in the book and he becomes a self-righteous snob near the end of the book. I also didn’t approve of how he thought it was okay to be in love with his girlfriend’s best friend and still continue to date her. If you know you like someone else. BREAK THE HELL UP. You are not married and even if you were, this is the 21st century. There is no need to lead someone on!

You can imagine how much harder that made it for me to enjoy the romance. The romance was barely there and their ILYs seemingly came out of nowhere. I mean they have been friends and ‘in love’ with each other for the past couple years but what about getting to know each other? I kind of expected Cole and her to spend some time trying to work things through after what happened and while that happened, there weren’t nearly enough scenes showing that happening in the book.

The plot could have been a little tied down too. I felt like there were too many mysteries to follow. It wasn’t that they were hard to follow but they were all resolved near the same time and I just felt like the excess of mysteries took away from the main one. Who posted the pictures? It was KIND of obvious who had but at the same time I felt like there were no real clues to suggest that. The reasoning seemed a little over the top to me.

I was also a tad bit disappointed by how cyber-bullying was handled in this book. I was so excited about this book and was so excited to see how the author would actually deal with the issue, but like I mentioned earlier, I felt detached and the main characters actions kind of made it harder for me to admire that aspect of the story. Her constant self-blame started rubbing on me and not in a good way. She said she had it coming because of her actions but no one deserves to have that happen to them. No matter how wrong what you did was, you don’t deserve to have your private laundry aired out like that. You deserve the right to explain yourself.

With all that said, the book had a handful of enjoyable moments and was a quick read, so while I didn’t enjoy it a whole lot, I am sure there are people who will.

Rating Report
Overall: 2.4
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Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).


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  1. says

    I’m so sorry you weren’t able to get emotionally invested. Feeling detached from such an important issue (and you’re right, we need to talk about it constantly) must have been very frustrating.
    I’ve never read anything by Ockler but I do own a few of her books.
    I’m sorry you wasted your time.
    Maja (The Nocturnal Library) recently posted…Review: Meridian (Arclight, #2)My Profile

    • Rashika says

      It actually sucks even more because there are not a whole lot of books out there on Cyberbullying which is becoming and increasingly important issue in today’s world and I really wished I had felt the importance of it more in this book.

      Thanks Maja!

  2. says

    We felt very similar about this one, after reading some of her other books for the past two years I fell in love with her writing but this one, was so different. It felt different, even the writing felt different. I was slightly disappointed as well.
    kindlemom1 recently posted…Review: #scandal by Sarah OcklerMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      I’ve read only two books by her and I only absolutely loved one of them but after loving it so much, I had sky high expectations from this one, especially since I thought it would tackle an important issue and tackle it well. It’s why I ended up being so darn disappointed. :/

      (wow that is a confusing sentence. sorry .-.)

  3. says

    i’m totally like you because i was not a fna of this one at all. I read it a few weeks ago and had to practically force myself to fo through it. The whole book was just cringe-worthy too me. I had much of the same issues as you but my biggest one was the TEXT LANGUAGE! No one talks like that! URGH it was just majorly annoying *bangs head on desk*
    lily recently posted…Our Next Read {2}My Profile

    • Rashika says

      I didn’t mind the text-language so much because I’ve seen so much worse and that gives you a good idea about how much worse it can get *shudders*

      I am not kidding when I say I actually googled some of that text language so I knew what the hell was going on! :P

  4. says

    Anything that has a bloody hashtag in the titles tends to piss me off for no reason whatsoever. Talk about trying to get down with the kids!

    Anyway to the review:

    I think when a book poor handles bullying , whether it be on the internet or not, it instantly puts me off! I just think the readers deserve more!

    Also, it is a shame that you could feel invested in this one. I think when you have a sense of detachment while reading it makes the whole read unbearable!

    Thanks for sharing & great review! :D

    Alex @ The Shelf Diaries
    Alex recently posted…Bout of Books 10: The Wrap-up #boutofbooksMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      While I think there was probably some of that ‘talking down’ intended, the title actually is significant in terms of the book which is why it didn’t really bother me.

      I guess the whole deal was about taking the high-road but it just didn’t work out for me, I wanted something else.

      Thanks Alex!! :)

  5. says

    Oh noooo! I listened to The Book of Broken Hearts just a few months ago and I really enjoyed it so I was looking forward to this one. Plus cyberbullying is a topic that’s so important today. Too bad it wasn’t executed better. Lucy sounds like she could have used more dept of believability. And both the sister and love interest sound like complete disappointments. BOO-URNS!!!
    Giselle recently posted…Review: (Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus QuinnMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      If you knew what her sister had done *shakes head*. It was so saddening that it would all be brushed under the rug. That is one thing that should have definitely been dwelled into further but wasn’t *sigh*

    • Rashika says

      Yeah that is a definite risk but at the same time, cyberbullying is such a major issue these days that I think that there should be more books written about it. It’s not something that should be brushed off *sigh*

      Start with The Book of Broken Hearts, it was SO good! :)

    • Rashika says

      you might like it? I know the majority haven’t (or from what I’ve seen) but you might have better luck!

      Thanks Joy!! :)

  6. says

    Now I am more interested with the other Ockler book you mentioned just because you said you fell in love with it. It is really disappointing when the main topic gets lost in the book and an irrelevant and silly topic becomes the center of the story. I have been seeing this in Goodreads and was intrigued by it, but the cheating doesn’t sound really good to me. I recently subjected myself into finishing a really bad read and I’ve learned my lesson when it comes to selecting books to read. Trust the negative reviews, especially if there are lots of them.

    Great review Rashika, very honest.
    Ella recently posted…Review: Blue Notes by Carrie LoftyMy Profile

    • Rashika says


      There wasn’t any physical cheating in this book if you’re still intrigued! :) It was more of this odd situation that is just hard to explain *sigh*

      Thanks, Ella!! :)

  7. says

    When you like one of the non interests more than the one the author wants us to like? Awww-kwarrrd.

    Even though it sounds like it had potential, it doesn’t seem like it pulled it off too well. Cyber bullying is such an important issue nowadays, and I wish the MC had of shown how debilitating is really is for teens. Not that it sounds like it makes light of the situation, but it really needed to engage the reader, and it sadly sounds like it didn’t. Great review, I can always rely on the Social Spuds for beautifully honest breakdowns.
    Kelly recently posted…#ThatRatBook GiveawayMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      I know one of my friends felt the same way too which just makes it double awkward :P

      EXACTLY! Like just the other day there was a case of cyberbullying (although a lot of the person’s fans would disagree…. but that’s a lesson to us all that just because you’re a celeb doesn’t mean you’re actually a role model *sigh*)


  8. says

    For some incredibly weird reasons I read “Franklin” as “Frankenstein” and I thought, wheesh didn’t see that coming! Aaaand, then I reread it. -_- Hehe. Obviously my brain is tired. BUT ANYWAY. This doesn’t really sound like my kind of book, actually. *shrugs* Contemporaries can be hit or miss for me, and that disconnect with the characters is a worry! :(
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…The Minnow by Diana Sweeny (fish are friends, not food)My Profile

    • Rashika says

      Frankenstein?? :P

      Same here! Contemporaries are always a hit or miss for me but then again, so are so many books. I think the one genre where I am always bound to be lucky is fantasy but I haven’t read any fantasy in a while, I might need to stop being such a scardy cat.

  9. says

    It’s weird (or not as you are my long lost twin sister) that this is one of those things I cannot connect with. Yes cyber bulling is a serious things, but it’s also one of those things I believe won’t happen to me. I have no idea why. Sorry you couldn’t connect with it. Great review, Rashika :))
    Tanja recently posted…ARC Review – The Lost by Sarah Beth DurstMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      Ah cyberbullying is just such a scary issue which is why it saddens me that this book didn’t bring it to life as much as it could have *sigh*

      Thanks Tanja!! :)

    • Rashika says

      EXACTLY! Cyber-bullying is becoming so important in today’s world and it deserves to be handled with a lot more delicacy IMO. :/

  10. says

    Sorry, Dollface. I will indeed be passing on this one. I pretty much knew I would be passing on this one when you pointed out what an important issue cyberbullying is, and yet felt NOTHING. But with flat characters, I can’t be surprised, and you are correct–whatever chicky-poo did in regards to her sister, I will never view bribes in the form buying things as genuine remorse either. Just . . . yuck. Wonderful review though, Rashika ;)
    Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Review: Dead Witch Walking by Kim HarrisonMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      You say yuck to that, wait till you find out what her sister actually did. Even if someone don’t share a close relationship with their sister(which they did at one point), they wouldn’t do that.. they would at least take blame at some point! (or should at least *sigh* because if they don’t, they shouldn’t be portrayed in a ‘good’ light)

      THANKS JESS! :)

  11. says

    Aaww, sorry this didn’t work out from you Rashika. From your review, everything just seem under developed and a lot of important issues weren’t handled very well, especially cyber bullying which I agree is a big issue today. I also don’t like that the main character seemed to regress into a pushover. It’s good that this was a quick read though, hopefully the author’s next book will be better. Lovely review :)
    Amir recently posted…Review: Clipped Wings by Helena HuntingMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      I really hope so because I am going to ‘over-look’ this one and still have high expectations from the author’s next book.

      Thanks Amir!! :)

    • Rashika says

      Yup :/ Seeing that this is such an important issue, getting that message across is important but it just didn’t happen :/

      Thanks Pili!! :)

  12. says

    This is unfortunate but you are not alone in your disappointment. I just read Keertana’s review and she had issues with this story, too. To be honest I had no desire to pick this up because it sounded like way to much drama, and I liked The Book of Broken Hearts, but didn’t love it. Great honest review, Rashika! :)
    Rachel recently posted…Mini Review & Giveaway: Parasite by Mira GrantMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      Yeah, I read her review too so I was glad to see that someone felt that way too. .-.

      aww I am sorry to hear you didn’t love The Book of Broken Hearts .-. it was definitely one of my favs :P But perhaps you’ll have more luck with Okler’s other books, I’ve heard great things about them!!

      Thanks Rachel!! :)

  13. says

    Aw, NO. Two stars?! I’m not reading your review yet because I’m hoping to read this soon, but I really liked BITTERSWEET and was hoping for another great Sarah book. Booo. I’m sorry you were disappointed by it.

    • Rashika says

      I really liked A Book of Broken Hearts so I had such high expectations and was let down :/ I haven’t read Bittersweet though so I am wondering if I should give it a shot! I know people love Ockler’s earlier works (I’ve only read two of hers and loved one and liked the other).