I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This book made me so angry!
First I was angry for Alice and all of the injustice she suffered, but then I found myself getting angry because of how crappy it is to be a kid in this world today. There is just something so unfair about the way teenagers aren’t allowed to grow in a safe environment, and it pisses me off.
This book really highlighted how difficult it is to be a teenager, and deal with peer pressure and try to live up to the expectations that your parents, friends, and teachers have for you.
i guess you could say that Alice was the main character, but we don’t actually get to read from her point of view until the last chapter. Most of the book alternates between four characters.
Elaine is the popular mean girl, Kelsie is the wannabe popular girl, Josh is the second best player on the football team, and Kurt is the nerd. Each of them tell their own story, but we also get to know Alice through their eyes, and I was surprised by how well this type of story telling worked in this book. Each chapter was written as though they were simply telling us about their lives and what was important to them.
Elaine was a bitch, she just was. And she was well aware of her bitchiness, but she wasn’t some horrible monster. I understood what drove her to be someone who could be so jealous and petty. I won’t say I liked her, but she wasn’t presented as the same cliche villain I am used to reading.
Kelsie was the one person I had the hardest time sympathizing with. She had issues, but mostly she was a really mean person. Alice was her best friend before a couple of awful rumors made the entire school turn against her, and I think Kelsie liked the fact that Alice was no longer so well liked. Kelsie had low self esteem, and she took pleasure in watching her former friend suffer. I know that teenagers can be cruel, but it hasn’t been that so long since I was a teenager, and I never would have treated my friend the way she treated Alice. It is one thing to ignore someone because you don’t want to become unpopular by associating with them, but Kelsie actively kicked Alice while she was already down. When I finally found out why Kelsie justified treating her so badly, it just cemented my dislike of this character. Not only was the reason stupid, but Kelsie was also a hypocrite because she did the exact same thing to Alice several times. I just didn’t like this girl.
I don’t have much to say about Josh. He was grieving the loss of someone he cared a lot about, and he did some stupid things that he regretted, but he wasn’t a bad guy. He wasn’t good, but he wasn’t bad either.
Kurt was my favorite character. He was the only person in the book who was truly comfortable with who he was, and I loved him. If you think about it, nerds are a lot more confident than most people. It is one thing to want to be apart of the crowd, attempt to fit in, fail, and end up being considered a loser. But real honest to goodness nerds, decide to be true to themselves no matter what anyone else thinks. Kurt was an honest to goodness nerd. He knew people thought he was weird, but he never considered changing. He also seemed to realize that high school is such a small portion of your life that you shouldn’t waste even one day of it pretending to be someone you are not just because it might make people accept you. I’m not saying that Kurt didn’t have insecurities, because he had plenty, but he liked who he was. And he also liked alice.
Kurt has had a crush on her for a long time. The chapters told from his point of view were when I got to know the real Alice. The other three characters were more wrapped up in themselves, and justifying the way they treated her. Kurt and Alice form an unlikely friendship because she needs help with math and he just so happens to be a genius. He is also the only person in school who will speak to her.
Kurt and Alice’s relationship was surprisingly adorable. I never a book that contained such heavy subject matter could have such an adorable friendship. They formed a true bond, and it eased some of the pain Alice was going through and kept the book from being too dark.
I told myself that if this book had an ending that I liked, I would give it four stars, and I was surprised by how perfect the ending was so I gave it five stars instead. This book was well written, thought provoking, and entertaining at the same time. It deserves five stars.
Because of language and sexual content, I would recommend this book for ages 16 and up. There are no detailed sex scenes.