Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Length: 199 pages
Source: eGalley via NetGalley
Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party.
But did you know Alice was sexting Brandon when he crashed his car?
It's true. Ask ANYBODY.
Rumor has it that Alice Franklin is a slut. It's written all over the bathroom stall at Healy High for everyone to see. And after star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car accident, the rumors start to spiral out of control.
In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students—the girl who has the infamous party, the car accident survivor, the former best friend, and the boy next door—tell all they know.
But exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there's only one person to ask: Alice herself.
Alice: So if I had to say who the protagonist of this book is, I'd say it's Alice, the funny thing though is that this story isn't told from the perspective of Alice. Everything we learn about Alice is seen through someone else's eyes. Depending on who's telling the story Alice could be a terrible person, or the coolest person in the world. However, it's only by looking at all four perspectives that we see the true Alice. Each character knows "a truth" about Alice, something that when all put together shows a completely different Alice than the one we've seen, well maybe not completely different, but not the same person. All in all I actually liked Alice, she's no where near perfect, she's messed up many times, but I think it's her innate humanity that I'm really drawn to.
Everyone Else: Even though this story revolves around Alice, we also see into the lives of the four people telling the story. The popular girl who threw the infamous party, Alice's former best friend who betrayed her in favor of popularity, the boy who died's best friend who may be holding secrets of his own, and the class weirdo who, despite his low ranking on the school's popularity chart, finds himself involved in many facets of this story. Much like Alice, none of these characters are perfect, they all have their own issues, and while I wouldn't like all of them if they were real people, as characters I'm utterly fascinated by them.
World-Building: Going into this book I didn't know how I would feel about the gimmick of this book, that we would learn about Alice from everyone but Alice, however after I started to get into it I found that I really loved it. This book does a lot to comment on how fast rumors spread in a small town and how one small thing, a few words say, a small action, can set off a chain of events that lead to devastating results. Interestingly this book reminded me a lot of "Easy A" the movie starring Emma Stone, it's obviously not quite the same premise, but the tone and feeling of it is very similar, it's all about how rumors and hearsay can have catastrophic results.
Predictability: So going into this book I thought I had a lot of things figured out. I thought I knew, without any proof or foreshadowing what happened at the infamous party, why Brandon lost control of his car, what happened in that past of a lot of these characters. I really shouldn't have been so confident. I mean, there are similarities to what I thought, but in actuality, things were really different. The foreshadowing in this book is spot on. Sometimes I would discover the truth before it came out, but more often than not I found that what I thought was going to happen, happened differently
Ending: So this book doesn't really have a final climax. In fact things just sort of came to a close. The ending of this book isn't idealistic, it's not a cheesy, fluffy ending that proves that everything will be okay. There are loose ends and things left unsaid. However I don't quite feel a need for these things to be tied up, in fact I like the fact that there are still some things left unsaid.
So I was trying to think about how I would rate this. I mean, it's not like typical YA novels, it has a different format. I'm not giving this book five stars because of the topic that it tackles, I'm giving it five stars because it was an addictive book I couldn't put down until I got to the bottom of everything.