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.
This is a very quick read, coming in at only 199 pages long, and I was able to speed through it, since it was also engaging. This book has an important message about slut shaming, and how it is wrong, as well as showing how people's versions of the truth can vary so much. And, of course, the only person who can truly know the truth about Alice is Alice herself.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD
This book alternates in POV, and we do not get to read the POV of Alice herself until the very last chapter of the book. That chapter was so perfect, because it really showcased the pain that she had been going through because of the way everyone was treating her. Her character is well developed. She definitely did not do everything that she accused of through rumors, but she certainly has slept with some guys before. That doesn't mean she deserves any of what is happening to her, though.
Kelsie is a very complicated character, and quite flawed. She does some awful things, but she's also been through some really awful things too. She mentions the Really Awful Thing a few times, and while I don't want to spoil what that is, it was pretty bad, and I can see why Kelsie is still struggling with the aftermath of it. That doesn't excuse her from what she did. She spread lies, and started a "Slut Stall," about her former best friend Alice. Alice, who would have still been her best friend if Kelsie hadn't decided to dump her. Kelsie is the kind of person who cares more about her popularity than about sticking with her friend and believing her instead of the rumors. So, I cannot say that I liked Kelsie, but she was a fascinating character.
Kurt was certainly my favorite character of the entire book. He was a sweet genius who had never really fit in with the kids at school, but he was also secretly in love with Alice. I love how he falls for her as a person. He never wants to be with her just because he thinks she will sleep with him. In fact, he doesn't try to make any moves on her. He is just there for her as a friend, which is something that she really needs.
Elaine and Josh didn't seem as dimensional. I didn't like Josh because of some of the things he thought. He used Alice as the scapegoat for the accident, and he seemed to think that if Alice had texted Brandon than it was obviously Alice's fault that he was distracted. I didn't like Brandon either because he seemed like a jerk. Elaine seemed like she was into her popularity, and she didn't really care about people's feelings like Alice. Her relationship with Brandon seemed rather superficial as well.
If you like YA emotional contemporary, read this book.