[eARC Review] The Truth About Alice by Jennifer MathieuMonday, July 21, 2014
Title: The Truth About Alice
Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Genre: YA Contemporary, Social Issues
Format: Hardcover, 199 pages
Release Date: June 3rd 2014
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Source: eARC received from publisher in exchange for honest review
Amazon | Indigo | TBD | Goodreads
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.
I might have surrendered too much to the hype monster on this one. There were many things that I really enjoyed about this book. The way it was written was a breath of fresh air because we don't actually "meet" Alice herself until the end of the book, so we actually get to see Alice through others eyes first. I found this extremely fascinating to read because seeing someone being bullied through eyes of the person bullying is quite revealing. I also loved the different angles we got because there were many different POVs, including a former friend, popular girl, Jock and "nerd". I loved all of these different views on the same situation, but because there were so many different voices, it also hindered my reading experience.
I was not a fan of two of the narrators and by coincidence they were the ones bullying Alice the most. I found them to be very superficial and their reasoning behind the bullying was very naive and young sounding. I am not a fan of characters that are mean for no reason, and I found that one of the character fit that mold quite well, so reading her chapters was quite cringe worthy. In the same note I also felt like I didn't connect with any of the characters on a personal level. I found them to be very two dimensional at times and that hindered my connection with them.
Usually when you read YA you get a love story, in any form, whether it be small and sweet or all encompassing. But in this book I loved that there was not an emphasis on love, it had more of a friendship vibe. although one of the narrators was in love with Alice, it never really went beyond that, and they became good friends instead and honestly I thought that was a great way to end the book. It felt more real for the characters involved.