The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Posted February 15, 2015 in Book Review / 0 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 16 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug use, alcohol use, language, and/or violence.
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer MathieuThe Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
Published by Roaring Brook Press on June 3rd 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 199
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed
Buy on Amazon

Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party.

But did you know Alice was sexting Brandon when he crashed his car?

It's true. Ask ANYBODY.

Rumor has it that Alice Franklin is a slut. It's written all over the bathroom stall at Healy High for everyone to see. And after star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car accident, the rumors start to spiral out of control.

In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students—the girl who has the infamous party, the car accident survivor, the former best friend, and the boy next door—tell all they know.

But exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there's only one person to ask: Alice herself.

Main Points
Writing Style:
I liked how we saw 4 people’s POV and we didn’t see Alice’s until the end. I feel like we still got to know her. However, I feel like it also contributed to the indecision I felt about all the rumors. I wasn’t certain they were false and that made it all the more interesting.
I feel like most of the issues in this book arose because the kids were all afraid. I think they were the most worried about seeming different. Even if they were, it wouldn’t be cool to appear that way. Brandon didn’t want to admit that he could consider Kurt a friend or that he had been rejected by a girl. Kurt didn’t want to stick up for Alice. Alice couldn’t defend herself. Kelsey didn’t want to go back to being unpopular even if it meant losing friendships. Elaine wanted to keep her status as well, and was just generally a jerk. Josh didn’t want to admit what he was guilty of, so he shifted the blame. Basically everyone was hiding something.
And was there a resolution? A happy ending between just two characters doesn’t really close a story. A lot of it was just like…okay it’s gone on long enough let’s forget about it. There wasn’t any realization like ‘oh! Maybe we were wrong!’ None of that at all. And maybe that would have been too good of an ending and not realistic, but anything other than that is somewhat disappointing. One thing I think the characters did well enough was own their feelings (but not their actions), at least internally. Elaine realized she was a jerk, Kelsey realized she was not the best person and made a lot of mistakes, Josh owned that he wasn’t very smart but he had needed Brandon, and Kurt…well, he knew he was taking risks but he did well. The only problem with this is that while they owned everything internally, they didn’t really act like they felt. It seemed to me that they were all afraid of admitting to anything so they looked to shift the blame. They were all experts at that. And when you’re reputation isn’t the best to begin with, how can you deny anything?
Almost all the characters were weak, generally, yet I could see myself in most of them. I liked Kurt the best because although he had a few secrets, they weren’t necessarily bad and he managed to be the most genuine. Didn’t hurt that he was a genius. I always go for the shy, nerdy type, haha.
Also my grandma is named Alice, so it’s really funny when one of the girls makes the comment about it being a grandma name in the beginning.

“It’s like when we read The Diary of Anne Frank in seventh grade, and I had the sneaking suspicion that I would have been a Nazi back then because I wouldn’t have had the guts to be anything else. Because I would have been too scared to not go along with the majority. Like, I would have been a passive sort of Nazi, but I still would have been a Nazi.”
-Kelsey, page 11
I think this is an unusually realistic mentality. What Kelsey realized in herself is something I’m sure would be true of most people, but they would never admit it. Herd mentality is extremely prevalent in society, especially in younger people. In fact, I agree with her completely. I would probably do the same. But it goes back to the main theme here- the fear of seeming different. And that is a fear that runs through high school and probably into later years as well (I can’t know from experience). But that’s why they always encourage you to be the change you want to see in the world- if no one starts it, no progress will ever be made. People are sheep.
Good vs. Bad
  • plot
  • characters
  • writing
  • ending
Less than perfect:
  • ending
Bottom Line
All in all I liked this book. While I wasn’t a huge fan of the characters, I could identify with them and I feel like the whole scenario was mostly realistic. It presented a few good relevant themes in young society that deserve consideration. Would I read more by this author? Yes. Would I recommend this to others? Probably. 

About Jennifer Mathieu

I’m an English teacher, writer, wife, and mom who writes books for and about young adults. My debut novel, THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE, was published by Roaring Brook Press on June 3, and my second book, DEVOTED, will be out June 2, 2015.

My favorite things include chocolate, pepperoni pizza, and this super hilarious 1980s sitcom about four retired women called The Golden Girls. I can basically quote every episode.

I live with my husband, son, one rescue dog, one fat cat, and another cat that is even fatter than the fat cat.

When it comes to what I read, I love realistic young adult fiction (duh), creative nonfiction, super scandalous tell-all memoirs and unauthorized biographies, and basically anything that hooks me on the first page.

Overall: four-stars


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