The S-Word

The S-Word

For Ages: 14 - 99
Lizzie wasn’t the first student at Verity High School to kill herself this year. But the difference is, she didn’t go quietly.

Lizzie’s reputation is destroyed when she’s caught in bed with her best friend’s boyfriend on prom night. With the whole school turned against her, and Angie not speaking to her, she takes her own life. But someone isn’t letting her go quietly. As graffiti and photocopies of Lizzie’s diary plaster the school, Angie begins a relentless investigation into who, exactly, made Lizzie feel she didn’t deserve to keep living. And while she claims she simply wants to punish Lizzie’s tormentors, Angie’s own anguish over abandoning her best friend will drive her deep into the dark, twisted side of Verity High—and she might not be able to pull herself back out.


Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The S-Word includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


In The S-Word, Chelsea Pitcher delivers an unflinchingly acute look at the world of high school students today. Seniors Angie and Lizzie have been friends since they were five, but when Angie walks in on Lizzie and Angie’s boyfriend, Drake, together in a hotel room on prom night, their worlds fall apart. Shattered by betrayal, Angie stops speaking to her once best friend, and it seems the entire school is backing her up when they cast Lizzie as a “slut.” When Lizzie then commits suicide, strange things start happening: incriminating pages from Lizzie’s diary show up in the lockers of the students who harassed her, and the words SUICIDE SLUT show up on Lizzie’s locker—in her own handwriting. Angie decides to punish the guilty parties and will stop at nothing, even when her vendetta threatens to consume her. With razor-sharp wit and keen sensibilities, Pitcher illuminates and explores some of the most pressing, deeply relevant issues for modern teenagers.  

Topics & Questions for Discussion  see more

About the Author

Chelsea Pitcher
Photograph by Cameron Browne

Chelsea Pitcher

Chelsea Pitcher is a native of Portland, Oregon, where she received her BA in English Literature. The S-Word is her first novel. Follow her on twitter at @Chelsea_Pitcher and visit her website at