ARC Book Review: I Kissed Alice
This book was one of the best rivals-to-lovers I have read in awhile!
I Kissed Alice by Anna Birch is a classic high school, drama-filled story about competing for the infamous Capstone Foundation Award, an art-based award that will ultimately lead the winner into the best college. The story is told from two POVs: Iliana and Rhodes. An unfortunate outcome of an event in their past left Iliana absolutely loathing Rhodes, and the two can hardly stand being in the same room as each other; let alone when they both try to hang out with Sarah, their mutual friend. Iliana is all fire, spark, and unapologetically herself as she will do whatever she can to win the award and shove it in Rhodes' face. Rhodes is struggling with anxiety and depression and feels her motivation and desire to continue her art dwindling each day. Both turn to an online forum over the summer where they unknowingly meet, bond, and create an AU Alice in Wonderland comic together.
What I enjoyed most about this book is the rawness of these characters. The girls are simultaneously whole and rough-edged, hopeful and vulnerable, likable and frustrating, aware and afraid. There's also casual LGBTQ and fat representation without either being a negatively represented plot point for the characters to face, scenes of therapy and mental health, and a highlight on financial privileges and opportunities that come with it.
The romance doesn't really spark until near the end, but the book isn't so much a swoon-worthy romance book as it is a book about healing, growing, learning, and ultimately taking responsibility for ones thoughts and actions. There is quite a bit of toxicity between many of the friendships/relationships in the book, but the characters gradually come to an understanding of what they're doing and experiencing and work towards taking a stand and/or attempting to fix it. And it shows while there may be forgiveness and understanding, there's still work in mentally and emotionally overcoming situations people go through.
Plus, adding in strips from their Alice in Wonderland comic was a fun feature to read, as well!
I'm excited to read more from this author as her writing is very raw and realistic, and I'll definitely pre-order a copy of this book!
I received an early copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for the honest review. Thank you!
I Kissed Alice releases July 28th, 2020! Follow the author
Where to purchase:
Check with your local Indie Book Stores!