The Truth About Alice – Jennifer Mathieu

The Truth About Alice – Jennifer MathieuTitle: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
Publishing Info: June 3, 2014 by Macmillan
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 21, 2014
Related Posts: Devoted

    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.

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THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE was a really interesting story. Instead of being told from the title character’s POV, the book is told by four different characters, each with a unique point of view regarding Alice’s personal character and the events that occurred the night of the big party — or basically, the beginning of the end of Alice’s reputation.

Immediately when I started reading, I knew there was more to the story. Wild rumors were flying all around school (and even the community) about Alice Franklin and immediately I felt sorry for the girl. I wasn’t exactly sure yet what had happened myself but it was clear that the rumors had escalated to a horrific level and poor Alice was somehow not only responsible for sleeping with two guys in one night, but also for the death of popular football player Brandon after he died in a car accident, supposedly because Alice was texting him something inappropriate.

Books like these just make me sad because I think of all of the people whose reputations have been destroyed by rumors either spreading with no credibility whatsoever or because of partial truths that somehow escalate out of control. Although it’s left to the reader to figure out exactly what happened between her and Brandon and what went down at the party, the characters also reveal that Alice didn’t have the most innocent reputation (though not terrible) which led to the mild credibility of those rumors once they got going… and I think that’s what upset me the most. Yes, it’s awful no matter who it happens to but it’s also so sad that people will readily assume worse things about someone if they already know some less than favorite facts beforehand. It’s almost a sort of prejudice or stereotype and people get one idea stuck in their head and allow new ideas along the same path of what they already know — whether true or not — to blend into on giant assumption. Unfortunately I think this is something that happens to almost all of us. It’s so hard not to operate on what we already know and allow our brains to fill in the gaps to “logical” explanations once a situation is presented.

I think it was a fantastic idea for Jennifer Mathieu to write this book from every perspective except for Alice’s (which actually does appear at the very end). I feel like the norm is to see books like this from the rumor victim’s point of view and I think for me, that tugged at the heartstrings even more. Each person essentially knew the rumors weren’t true — at least, if they assumed part of the rumors were true, they knew that the truth wasn’t as exaggerated as what had been flying around the school and neighborhood and THAT was the worst thing to witness. No one wanted to stand up for Alice and the “oh well, she probably deserves it anyway” attitude from some absolutely killed me.

THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE was a really good read. I think it really opened my eyes to situations like these — not necessarily specifically involving rumors but just standing up for someone or speaking up in situations that you know are wrong. It’s hard to take the risk and possible put yourself in the line of fire as well, but hopefully books like these will continue to keep that reminder in the back of people’s minds and may end up influencing someone to speak up the next time they’re in a situation like this.

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“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Kurt // Character Obsessions: School, facts, keeping to himself, Alice. 
I really liked Kurt a lot. He was the character that felt the most real to me where all of the other kids felt entirely too shallow. Kurt showed real depth, real feelings, range of emotion. His was definitely the POV I enjoyed the most and I also think he offered one of the most unique POVs. I just really enjoyed everything his character offered for the book.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Books about bullying. I’ve read a few of these recently! They’re not usually something I pick up, I think in part because I didn’t witness a lot of bullying in my high school so it wasn’t something that was in the forefront of my mind… But hearing about everything that actually DOES go on outside of my little bubble? It’s a terrible thing and it’s a good thing to read about situations like this to make myself more aware of what actually goes on and influence me to speak up if I do come across it.
Left Me Wanting More: Character depth. I actually DID feel like the characters were fairly well-rounded. As I read, I found out all of the little secrets that most of this kids kept from their classmates and even sometimes from their best friends! But at the same time, I still wanted a bit more from a few more of them and I just really wanted to dig into their stories.

Addiction Rating
Read it

THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE was a really good read for me. It was quick, it was interesting, and it was something that opened my eyes to things that may be going on around me that I’m just not even noticing. I’m not usually one to speak up in uncomfortable situations but it really has me re-evaluating potential scenarios and what I would do in these types of situations.

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4 thoughts on “The Truth About Alice – Jennifer Mathieu

  1. Tina

    I’ve heard really good things about this book and its on my TBR list! These types of books make me sad too, but I still love reading them (: Glad you liked it!

  2. Nicole @ The Quiet Concert

    I really like that Jennifer Mathieu chose to write this from the perspective of others. But I think this book would make me sad or really frustrate me. I seriously detest bullying and the rumor mill. Thank god High School is in the past.

  3. Alexa S.

    I really liked that The Truth about Alice took on an interesting perspective in a situation like this. I grew up in a small town where rumors could get just as vicious and hurtful as this one did, so it was interesting to see it portrayed in this book.

  4. Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books

    I agree that Mathieu’s choice of narrators actually works really well for this book. It not only is an unusual authorial choice, but I think a lot of readers can better related to those looking in on scandals, rather than those mixed in the middle of them. Or I know that’s what helped me better relate to this novel.
    I am glad, though, that Alice did have a chance to finally “speak” at the end. It made the novel even more powerful!

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