Hi readers, I know I've been gone this past week--turns out classwork is important! But I'm back today with my blog tour post for Something Happened to Ali Greenleaf. Check out the Tour Schedule here, and thank you to Penguin Teen and TBR & Beyond Tours for sharing a copy!
The Book and its Author
Ali Greenleaf and Blythe Jensen couldn't be more different. Ali is sweet, bitingly funny, and just a little naive. Blythe is beautiful, terrifying, and the most popular girl in school. They've never even talked to each other, until a party when Ali decides she'll finally make her move on Sean Nessel, her longtime crush, and the soccer team's superstar. But Sean pushes Ali farther than she wants to go. When she resists--he rapes her.
Blythe sees Ali when she runs from the party, everyone sees her. And Blythe knows something happened with Sean, she knows how he treats girls. Even so, she's his best friend, his confidant. When he begs her to help him, she can't resist.
So Blythe befriends Ali in her attempt to make things right with Sean, bringing Ali into a circle of ruthless popular girls, and sharing her own dark secrets. Despite the betrayal at the heart of their relationship, they see each other, in a way no one ever has before.
In her searing, empowering debut novel, Hayley Krischer tells the story of what happened that night, and how it shaped Ali and Blythe forever. Both girls are survivors in their own ways, and while their experiences are different, and their friendship might not be built to last, it's one that helps each of them find a way forward on their own terms.
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Hayley Krischer has been an award-winning journalist for over 20+ years. She is a contributing writer for the New York Times, where she has covered feminist roller skaters, Instagram obsessed moms, profiled Gabrielle Union, Tatum O’Neal, and S.E. Hinton. She has also written for many publications about women and teenage girls including Marie Claire, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Lenny Letter, and the Hairpin. Her YA debut, SOMETHING HAPPENED TO ALI GREENLEAF will be released in fall 2020 from Razorbill. Hayley received her MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. Her first newspaper job was as an editorial assistant at the Boston Globe. She reads tarot cards.
Review & Playlist
Something Happened to Ali Greenleaf is dark and crushing, exactly how I like my YA contemporary! It is about fundamental rage, twisted friendships, and misplaced loyalties.
I’ll be upfront and say there are very few likable characters in here. If you told me you thought a single one of them (except perhaps Ali) was admirable or good, I’d give you a side eye. Blythe in particular is interesting to me because she is a terrible friend, a bad person, and for most of the book she’s not even trying to be good. I’m a firm believer in morally grey characters, especially ones with complex motives who wouldn’t usually be allowed to exist in YA. This novel is a necessary departure from the complete forgiveness narrative, the one with little tied up bows on the ending. It simply exists for readers, exists to tell Blythe and Ali’s stories, and that can be enough.
Another thing Krischer did well was addressing sexual assault and rape. Now, there are some aspects of the content that would probably never happen at a high school, and for that I make allowances (I wouldn’t expect the novel to sacrifice good storytelling for moral realism, because frankly I’m not interested in every book having a lesson to teach) but rape is absolutely an issue young adults should address. Krischer’s sensitive response to victim blaming, shame, fear, and all the powerful emotions that Ali experiences after her rape made this an absolute 5 star read for me. It wasn’t just her hurt that bled off the page, it was her absolute uncertainty as to a path forward. I won’t spoil anything for you, but I’ll say that this novel had an incredibly satisfying emotional resolution and I think Hayley Krischer is a debut voice to keep an eye on.
As part of my blog tour post, I’ve also created a little playlist evoking some of the themes of the book! Here’s the link: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6DZILpBvUjVaVQC4bniWaG?si=axINCZE-Sp62yhltASJ9Zw or you can visit https://open.spotify.com/user/bookbaroness to browse my Spotify.
Hey, I'm Shreya! I love to read, write, travel, and drink coffee.
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