Book Review: “The Truth About Alice” by Jennifer Mathieu

Release date: June 3rd 2014
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Purchase: Amazon
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Everyone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it stopped mattering whether it’s true. 
The rumors started at a party when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts everyone almost forgets about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car wreck that was allegedly all Alice’s fault. 
Now the only friend she has is a boy who may be the only other person who knows the truth, but is too afraid to admit it. Told from the perspectives of popular girl Elaine, football star Josh, former outcast Kelsie, and shy genius Kurt, we see how everyone has a motive to bring – and keep – Alice down.
My Thoughts:
 
There’s always more going on beneath the surface, and this story proves that we should never be too quick to judge or simply take another person’s word for it. 
The Truth About Alice was as realistic as society gets, especially when it comes to today’s youth. What I liked about the story was how it was written, transitioning from the perspective of the key characters involved, with Alice being last. This was a great decision by the author because it gives readers a better idea of what’s going on in that person’s head and where all the issues stem from. Some of them will just blow your mind.
In regards to the actual plot, I knew throughout the story that something wasn’t right about those rumors. That Alice wasn’t as terrible as they made her out to be. Towards the end, not only was I right about the rumors, I had actually predicted her story wrong at the same time. When the first chapter opened up saying she had slept with two guys in one night and in the same hour, I quickly believed she was raped. And my assumption had a lot to do with the person who started the rumor. Brandon. 
Brandon came off to me as the town’s football hero. In fact, it seemed like everyone was concerned with how they were going to excel in the sport after he died. That aside, I wasn’t as big a fan as they were. The way he treated girls disgusted me, and to be honest, I felt his death to be karma for starting those rumors about Alice. But Brandon wasn’t the only despicable character in the story, every single person who lied about Alice and continued spreading nasty rumors on her were just as bad if not worst. Take her supposed-to-be best friend for example, Kelsie. When the reader was given the opportunity to get inside Kelsie’s head, I couldn’t believe some of the petty things she said and thought of. She justified turning her back on Alice and even adding to the already out of control issue because of some really stupid and rather childish thing from a while back. I couldn’t even believe she actually went ahead and blamed Alice for stupid mistake. And you know what, her parents are to blame as well. When you learn about the kind of person Kelsie’s mother was and the hypocritical thing she did, it’ll make you shake your head.
Not only Kelsie’s family had issues though, so did Elaine’s. Elaine was as shallow as they come. Wow! She was all about her so-called “power” in the school due to her popularity. There were many times I wanted to smack her for the conceitedness, but to be honest, her character wasn’t as hard to fathom as Kelsie or Brandon. She was actually tolerable.
As for Josh, to me he was a coward. But aren’t they all? I also felt there was something else going on within him that he needed to work on and even though it wasn’t expressed much in the story, I don’t think it necessarily had to because I easily figured it out on my own without him ever coming to terms with that. 
The most likable characters in the book were Kurt and in fact, Alice. I was happy with the way Kurt dealt with the situation, even though he probably should have said something sooner, but I liked that he showed her so much respect and really liked the person she was. 
Overall, it was a great story. The only thing is I wish those other three characters aside from Kurt and Alice would have come clean about their parts in the mess, especially Josh. And I would have loved to get more of Alice’s POV. I think she’s a strong girl, and not many teens could have held on to that strength with everything happening to her. Admittedly, I was afraid suicide would be the end result of the story but thankfully it wasn’t.The Truth About Alice is a true testament that verbal bullying is just as cruel as the physical, and I believe that parents should be parents, not friends of their kids, and really teach them to be honest, respectable human beings, and teach them about the importance of not conforming but rather hold on to their morals and do the right thing. 
Jennifer Mathieu
About the Author
Jennifer Mathieu is an English teacher, wife, and mom who lives in Texas and writes books for and about young adults. THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE is her debut novel. Jennifer is a native of the East Coast and a former journalist. She enjoys writing contemporary young adult fiction that treats teenagers like real people.

 

Credit: Goodreads
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