I had really high expectations for this book. I hadn't read anything by Sarah prior to #scandal, but I'd heard good things about her writing. And when the book opened with a message from Miss Demeanor, I was immediately reminded of Gossip Girl and settled in for a fun, lighthearted read.
#scandal delivered, but there were a few things that really irked me about the story. First, our heroine gets embroiled in a post-prom scandal wherein her phone is stolen and a lot of incriminating photos are posted to Facebook, leading to a lot of scandalized and unhappy classmates. Lucy is hauled into the principal's office, where she is sternly reprimanded by her principal for cyberbullying (ironically, while the principal is also on her own Facebook, responding to pictures of her friends' kids). It seems like Lucy gets raked over the coals for her "behaviour" (even though she didn't do it because her phone was stolen), yet when her classmates start an online hate group dubbed "Juicy Lucy" and start slut-shaming her (at one point, they're even chanting in the hallways and tagging her locker), the administration seems to turn a blind eye. Since cyberbullying is one of the main themes of the story, it really bothered me how the issue was addressed in such an unbalanced manner.
I also found the pacing to be a bit off. I honestly thought this book was about 450 pages; however, when I checked the page count on Goodreads, it's only 368. It felt like a really long book when I was reading it, which just goes to show that it dragged a bit at times. I also found that some of the characters got on my nerves a bit -- I know that it's a young adult novel, but it seemed like they were a bit too teeny-bopper-y for me.
All in all, #scandal isn't a bad read, but it's definitely not taking a spot on my favourites shelf this year. I'd still like to try out another book by Sarah Ockler, as I'm hopeful that some of her backlist titles might surpass this one.