Book Review: I Kissed Alice by Anna Birch

PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book by an author with flora or fauna in their name Other PS 2020 reading prompts this w...

PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book by an author with flora or fauna in their name

Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisfy: A book that's published in 2020, A bildungsroman, A book that passes the Bechdel test, A book with a three-word title

TW: Classism

Wow, I really loved I Kissed Alice more than I ever could have expected. It was truly the epitome of charming. And spoiler, there's actually no character in the book name Alice. Who knew?

Iliana's best friend is Sarah, and Sarah's roommate is Rhodes. All three attend the Alabama's Conservatory of the Arts, and while Sarah finds herself to be friends with both, Rhodes and Iliana are sworn enemies. It makes things awkward when they all try to hang out, and both Rhodes and Iliana are constantly pulling Sarah in opposite directions. Rhodes and Iliana are both talented artists working towards the sought after Capstone scholarship, and both are struggling with their art and more personal conflicts. Little known to either of them, they're both avid users of a fanfic website called Slash/Spot. And while they can't stand each other in real-life, they may be falling in love on the interwebs. Will the truth come to light? And if it does, will it destroy their chances at winning the Capstone?

I've been jumping into some new YA titles lately and finding myself disappointed by the conflicting ideals and values. Many books I've picked up recently will claim a specific opinion but then my perception will be totally different (see: The Mall). I was worried I would find I Kissed Alice to be one of the same. And while there is definitely a girl-versus-girl theme, it's actually a queer enemies-to-lovers trope, and I. love. it.

I truly appreciated that, as a reader,  I got to know both Iliana and Rhodes separately so I could root for both of them, though I did find myself strictly rooting for Iliana at first. I think that may just be because the first chapter was her's, so I knew her longer. Haha.

I truly felt like this charming and sweet YA novel really did a fantastic job making a point that you never truly know what folks are going through, and how some people may be privileged in one way they may be lacking somewhere else, and vice versa.

There was a heavy presence of Alice in Wonderland and while I'm familiar (seen the cartoons and live action movies), I'm not super into Alice, but that didn't impact my love for the book. So if that was a fear going into this story, I'd recommend not letting it deter you.

"Women are continuously victims of sexual violence in Western culture, so much so that it has permeated our patterns of speaking and even the way we curse." - I Kissed Alice, Anna Birch

Seriously, this book was so precious. I enjoyed both listening and reading it concurrently. I think doing both really helped me connect with the characters much more because I could really hear their emotions and how they were handling things. I love rooting for love, and if you do too, this book's for you.

Goodreads rating: ★★★★☆

*I received a digital review copy of this book from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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