I Kissed Alice by Anna Birch is the story of Rhodes Ingram and Iliana Vrionides, two girls at the Alabama Conservatory of the Arts, who are both competing for the Capstone Award. Iliana needs it to pay for college, and because she needs to prove she is better than Rhodes; Rhodes, on the other hand, is having a huge creative block, affecting her chances of winning the award, which will make her mother upset. Rhodes and Iliana have another reason for their mutual hatred: they both have the same best friend, Sarah. Despite their real life hatred, the two are actually best friends online and collaborating on a comic; they just don’t know each other’s real identities.
I would recommend this book. It is a cute enemies to lovers’ story, but also touches on more serious topics, like inequality and dealing with toxic friends and family members. The characters felt realistic and had good character development. The book does a very good job of detailing relationships and reconciling real life versus online personalities.
Five trivia questions (and answers):
1. Where do Iliana and Sarah work? Sylvia’s Diner (p. 27)
2. What was Iliana’s original Capstone idea? Alice in Wonderland themed tarot deck (p. 52)
3. Where does Griffin teach after his parents refuse to support his dancing? Dance!Alabama (p. 93)
4. Who replaces June Baker as chairwoman on the Capstone committee? Bootsie Prudhomme (p. 155)
5. What career does Rhodes truly want? Comic artist (p. 197)
Three discussion questions:
1. Do you think Rhodes and Iliana’s relationship can survive after all the fights and secrets?
2. Do you think Iliana had any blame in her and Sarah’s fallout? Was Sarah being manipulative?
3. In general, how do you think a person’s real life identity differs from their online presence? Is one more real than the other?