Everyone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether it’s true. The rumors started at a party when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts everyone almost forgets about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car wreck that was allegedly all Alice’s fault. Now the only friend she has is a boy who may be the only other person who knows the truth, but is too afraid to admit it. Told from the perspectives of popular girl Elaine, football star Josh, former outcast Kelsie, and shy genius Kurt, we see how everyone has a motive to bring – and keep – Alice down.Writing
To be honest, the writing isn't something that I paid particular attention to in this book. I find that's a common theme for me in reading and reviewing YA novels, particularly in what I'd consider the "Issues" subgenre. Particularly in a book that's a short as this one, with a clearly defined message to be conveyed, there just isn't room for a lot of the stylistic devices that I'd look for in a longer book that isn't so issue-driven.
That said, there were no flaws in the writing that took me out of the story. I liked the shifting perspectives and thought all of the characters were believable as teenagers. It doesn't have the adultified teen speak that some YA novels fall prey to. Overall, I was satisfied with the writing, even if nothing in particular jumped out at me as exceptional.
This is where books that fall into the "Issues" subgenre really shine for me. It's one of my favorite types of book to read for pleasure. I devoured this one in one sitting. It's heartbreaking to see how things become so twisted for Alice, based purely on the small actions of her classmates. Each characters tells a small untruth or fudges a bit, but Alice pays a huge price for those lies. I was really moved by how easily this horrible thing happens to Alice, whose mother is too busy with her own problems to realize Alice is drowning.
Definitely worth reading, particularly for those who are fans of Contemporary YA books that focus on a specific issue. It's a good look at how easy it is for the small compromises we make can impact people around us - and a great book for teens on the cost to others when you put fitting in or popularity above honestly.
Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy to review.