Review: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

June 21, 2014 Book 8 ★★★

Review: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer MathieuThe Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Published by Hardie Grant Egmont on June 1st, 2014
Source: Netgalley, Provided by Publisher
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There are a lot of rumours about Alice Franklin, and it's stopped mattering whether any of them are true. 

It all started at a party, when Alice was supposedly with two guys in one night.

Soon everyone at Healy High has picked a side in this game of he said/she said. Do they believe Brandon Fitzsimmons, the most popular guy at school and the football hero of Healy? Or do they believe Alice, the girl who wears too-tight T-shirts and was caught kissing Brandon in a closet a couple years before?

When Brandon dies in a car crash, there are serious allegations that his death was Alice's fault. As the rumour mill spins into overdrive, Alice's small town becomes suffocating. And when the truth becomes a matter of opinion, something's got to give.

Marianne’s Thoughts:

The Truth About Alice is such a difficult book to review.

This story is told in POV’s from everyone except Alice. It’s unusual, yet I loved it because we could really understand the real motivations behind bullying Alice. Her reputation was shattered. And even if we didn’t know what Alice was feeling, we knew that she still held her head high. We know that Alice is strong (even if she is suffering some pretty bad things). But we get more insight as to why everything is happening, because Alice isn’t actually in the loop.

The Points of View in this book were:

Elaine: the school’s Queen Bee
Kelsey: Alice’s “best friend”
Josh: a football player; Brandon’s best friend
Kurt: school nerd (the only nice person in this whole book).

They all have a different story to tell, and we get to see why they all (except Kurt) contributed to Alice’s downfall.

Out of all of the characters, the one that hurt me the most was Kelsey. Kelsey was supposed to be Alice’s best friend! She was supposed to be there for her! Yet, she decided she loved popularity more. It makes my blood boil. Kelsey was immature, naïve and childish. I genuinely hated her.

The writing accommodated to each character that was narrating. With Elaine, the writing was very juvenile and overly simplistic; Kelsey had an overall feel of desperation (to be popular, to fit in); with Josh it had kind of like a frat boy feel, like a boy who hadn’t yet matured; with Kurt the writing was actually wonderful and fluid. He expressed himself appropriately, and his thoughts were really poetic and thought provoking. I probably enjoyed his chapters the most because he’s the one who we got the most character insight from.

However the only unfavorable thing about the multiple POVs was the fact that each character seemed kind of… unbelievable. They felt like typical high school special clichés, and it didn’t click for me. I didn’t need them to have a soap opera worthy reason for betraying (or helping) Alice. We’re all human and it is human nature to lie and deceive and gossip, so I thought maybe all the drama was unnecessary.

Nevertheless I think the most painful part of this book was how everyone was so okay with bullying. Saying “oh, she deserves it” was their justification. They didn’t care that they were basically destroying and dehumanizing a person. They didn’t care, because it was Alice, and Alice was a ho.

[…] There is one thing I’ve learned about people: they don’t get that mean and nasty overnight. It’s not human nature. But if you give people enough time, eventually they’ll do the most heartbreaking stuff in the world.

Overall, despite my problems with this book, I can’t not recommend it. It’s a very short read that tackles an incredibly hard topic and is different than most books out there right now. It shows us that it is definitely not okay to bully someone. It doesn’t give us a happy ending, but an ending that’ll leave you thinking.

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I'm Marianne. Professional Fangirl, part-time Blogger. Full-time college student. GIFs are a natural part of my posts, so be warned. I LOVE reading, so definitely feel free to discuss books with me. Opinions are welcome.
  • Why is it that the nerds are always the nice ones? Although I am glad they are! Sometimes the term nerd is used as a term of endearment 🙂

  • Really lovely review Marianne, I loved the different perspectives even though the characters were kind of cliche. To be honest with Kurt, I thought whether his obsession with Alice was a little unhealthy/scary but I’m so glad it didn’t turn out that way. Kelsey was definitely the most appalling character for her terrible decisions.

    • I thought Kurt at first was just fixated on Alice and nothing more, but it was cute seeing them interact together and see how he truly cared for her. The slut stall definitely did a number on me. Still can’t believe she stopped that low.

  • I freaking hated Kelsey so much. She was so horrible to Alice and I just can’t even. I get all ragey just thinking about it. I liked this book, but didn’t love it. It was kind of an uncomfortable read for me because I went to a small town high school and was a victim more than once of the rumor mill (everyone pretty much is in a small town hs). So at times I could relate to Alice so much that it hurt. But I did think it was pretty well done and very realistic. Alice impressed me. She was so strong, yet so broken at the same time. I thought the author did a great job of conveying that.

  • I thought this was a thought-provoking and interesting read as well, and the author did a good job with what she set out to do. I rated it somewhere in the middle like you, though, because although I was interested in what I was reading, I didn’t feel very strongly about it, you know? But it’s worthwhile reading for sure.

    • I understand completely. This book felt more about human nature than about bullying. Thanks for stopping by, Wendy!