Jealousy, rumors and lies can ruin a teen girl’s life.
In the summer before junior year at Healy High School, Alice Franklin was one of the girls popular enough to be invited to Elaine O’Dea’s party. That night, Alice supposedly slept with both high school quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons and college guy Tommy Cray. Just after homecoming, Brandon dies in a car accident, allegedly while texting with Alice. Debut author Mathieu brings new life to a common mean girls’ narrative through her multiple first-person narrators. Readers first hear Alice’s story from Elaine, the queen bee of the junior class. Then Kelsie Sanders enters as Alice’s best friend, who is willing to cast her aside to maintain her own tenuous place in the social hierarchy. Two boys also get to tell their sides of the story: Josh Waverly, Brandon’s best friend, who has secrets of his own, and Kurt Morelli, nerd extraordinaire, who’s been secretly obsessed with Alice for years. Due to the novel’s short length, the rotating narrators and a few questionable word choices, some characters border on caricatures in places. When readers finally hear directly from Alice in the book’s last chapter, they may wonder why the author took so long to introduce arguably the most interesting voice in the book.
A quick if unoriginal read saved by a realistic ending. (Fiction. 13-18)