Special thanks to NetGalley and Wattpad Books for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Goodreads: Revenge of the Sluts
Publisher: Wattpad Books
Publish Date: 02 February 2021
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Mystery
Double standards are about to get singled out.
In this stunning debut, author Natalie Walton tackles privacy and relationships in the digital age.
As a lead reporter for The Warrior Weekly, Eden has covered her fair share of stories at St. Joseph’s High School. And when intimate pictures of seven female students are anonymously emailed to the entire school, Eden is determined to get to the bottom of it.
In tracking down leads, Eden is shocked to discover not everyone agrees the students are victims. Some people feel the girls “brought it on themselves.” Even worse, the school’s administration seems more concerned about protecting its reputation than its students.
With the anonymous sender threatening more emails, Eden finds an unlikely ally: the seven young women themselves. Banding together to find the perpetrator, the tables are about to be turned. The Slut Squad is fighting back!
BUY A COPY:
TL;DR: Revenge of the sluts was an interesting YA contemporary mixed with a bit of a mystery that takes place in a prestigious private school. I liked the investigative journalism angle that the story took and I think it covers important topics that can foster good discussions, especially amongst the intended young adult audience. I did have issues with the main character being Asian with very surface level stereotypical representation, and the overly descriptive writing did bog the story down, but overall, it was a very easy read that I finished in one sitting!
Revenge of the sluts is not a fast-paced book but it was engaging enough and the writing simple enough for me to quickly work through the pages. While I don’t normally mind descriptive writing, I felt in this instance that the story didn’t benefit from it because it completely dragged the pace down. The mystery of who sent the email was also a bit predictable and I was able to deduce who did it fairly easily, but I did enjoy the investigative journalism angle to the book and it’s what kept me pushing on. I loved learning about the work that actually goes into creating these articles and news items—it’s a lot!—and I could tell that the journalism aspect was something the author is passionate about, and that came through in the writing.
Our main character is Eden Jeong, a Korean-American young woman and one of the few POC that attends St. Joe’s private school (and one of the few POC in the book). I tend to dislike it when white authors write POC main characters because they tend to botch the representation by sticking to stereotypes and that is what happened here. I will say though that I found most of the main (side) characters to be generally indistinguishable as many of them didn’t have strong characteristics that set them apart. Had it not been explicitly mentioned that Eden was Korean-American, I honestly would’ve thought she was another white character in the story and because of that, it feels like the choice to make her Asian was just to have a checkmark beside the diversity box. Aside from that, I thought the high-schoolers were well represented and the various reactions they had to the ‘Nudegate’ scandal were realistic. Eden’s drive to investigate and report on the truth of the situation was also very admirable and it wasn’t hard to root for their success, especially when they worked so hard to give voice to the young women who were exposed. I did expect a bigger revenge role for the sluts, as that’s what the title indicates, but sadly that also didn’t really come through strongly—there is a revenge aspect, it just wasn’t as satisfying or as big as I expected it to be.
Overall, while I had some issues with the writing and characterisations, I think this book has the potential to create some good dialogue—especially amongst its intended YA audience—about slut-shaming, toxic masculinity, cyberbullying, revenge porn and society’s double standards. Young women being shamed for embracing their sexuality while young men are celebrated for it is an old story, but add the revenge porn and cyberbullying aspects and you get something that’s easier for younger audiences, who live the majority of their life online, to connect to.
Have you read Revenge of the Sluts or is it on your TBR?