Friday, April 11, 2014

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

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Title: The Truth About Alice
Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication date: June 3, 2014
Pages: 208
Rating: 5/5 stars
Copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for a review.

Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party. When Healy High star quarterback, Brandon Fitzsimmons, dies in a car crash, it was because he was sexting with Alice. Ask anybody.  Rumor has it Alice Franklin is a slut. It's written all over the "slut stall" in the girls' bathroom: "Alice had sex in exchange for math test answers" and "Alice got an abortion last semester." After Brandon dies, the rumors start to spiral out of control. In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students tell all they "know" about Alice--and in doing so reveal their own secrets and motivations, painting a raw look at the realities of teen life. But in this novel from Jennifer Mathieu, exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there's only one person to ask: Alice herself.

In 208 pages, Jennifer Mathieu was able to pull me into a story of a girl whose life was changed drastically because of a rumor. 208 pages might seem too short but this book does not need more pages. It is beautiful as it is. Additional chapters could change what this book wants its readers to feel. 

For a story set in high school, this book describes well the reality of that time in a teenager's life. It isn't an exaggerated high school story, nor is it a story that hides the sad truths of teen life. It instead exposes the twisted side of high school.

I was impressed by the characters which the author chose to speak. They seem completely normal at first, but there is always something underneath. That made me interested not only with Alice's life, but also with her friends' lives. 

In the book, only Alice's 'friends' talk at first, with Alice speaking only at the last chapter. Elaine, the popular chick, believes everything she hears. She gives the impression of being the villain in the story, but she's actually just a frustrated teenager. Kelsie, Alice's 'best friend', is torn between siding with her friend or siding with the majority. She seems like your average nice girl but she isn't. Josh, friend of Brandon, was there during the car crash. He knows the real story but isn't saying everything. Kurt, the nerdy guy who has a crush on Alice, sees beyond the title everyone has given Alice. He appears to be just a guy who's helping Alice out, but he's more than that. 

I loved how Mathieu gave characters that seemed ordinary, but were actually the exact opposite of that. It made the story darker and not just a popular-girl-spreads-rumor-because-she-just-hates-that-girl kind of story. The unveiling of their real stories eventually lead to the truth about Alice, without Alice even saying anything. The way the different POVs were written also gave uniqueness to each character, making them more realistic.

The Truth About Alice is a beautiful book that everyone, especially teens, should read. It is an eye-opener that could change the lives of everyone suffering from a similar treatment in school. It gives hope, meaning, and truth. Written by such an excellent writer, The Truth About Alice is a book I would read many times.


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