Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2 / ★★★★★
Synopsis: Everyone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it’s 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.
Huge thank you to Macmillian and Netgalley for this advance reader copy.
River’s Review (4.5 Stars)
I FLEW through this. Read it in less than 24 hours. I mainly picked it as my end-of-month read because it’s short (and because I was free from my January ARCs to read whatever I wanted) and wow.
This book is told from four different perspectives. If you know me, you know that I do NOT like multiple-first person-POV novels. But this worked really well. The voices were all VERY clear. I never had any question about who was speaking. And I thought that the choice to tell Alice’s story from four other perspectives was what made this book unique.
Overall this is a book about mean girls (and boys). Small town drama. I actually thought this was similar to Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers. Only rather than being told from the POV of the exiled, persecuted ex-mean girl, it’s told from the mean girls (and boys) POV. THAT was fresh and different. Each character has some truth about Alice that they’re keeping to themselves and for the first half of the book I was wondering all kinds of things.
The truth of this book is that people will believe what they want, they’ll do whatever they need to do to stay on top, and they will spin stories to save their own faces. I was SO MAD at how awful these people were (well, Kurt wasn’t too awful, he was probably the only character that I could stomach) but that’s the point. Ugly pretty people. All of them blaming Alice for their own shitty choices, it was just… so awful. And the best part is that they KNOW they’re being awful. Kelsie’s story made me want to punch her. I felt bad for her, but any sympathy I had vanished when she blamed Alice for her own TERRIBLE choices. For her own stupid mistakes. I’m not even sure if Josh knew WHY he was blaming Alice, he was so oblivious to his own confused feelings.
This book is a unique, quick, though-provoking read and I think fans of contemporary YA will really enjoy it. Especially fans of Courtney Summers.
Sam’s Review (5 Stars)
My co-blogger was actually the one who told me I needed to read The Truth About Alice. She knows I have a love for books about crappy and disgusting people who get a comeuppance and what many readers are going to find with this book is a surprisingly engaging, if a touch disturbing mystery that involves a young girl who supposedly slept with two guys at a party, one of them dead shortly after.
The Truth About Alice is one of the best books I’ve seen that deal with bullying and slut-shamming. The characters in this book, each and everyone of them is guilty of this action and since you don’t get Alice’s perspective, your left to your own devices in terms of figuring out who is telling the truth and who is lying. Who is out there to stir the dramalama pot, and who’s genuine. I love the way Mathieu portrays these awful people because I love when naughty teens get a good hard lesson. One which isn’t just solved with a quick apology.
Alice is actually my favourite character because her presence in the story is minimal and almost ghost like. She’s there, but not, and as the novel develops you see more of her and you realize who she truly is is not what she’s painted as. She admits to fault, is brave for not attempting to go to extreme levels because she knows the truth and she knows that all actions have consequence. It doesn’t make it any harder to roam around Healy High, but you get a sense that despite her timid demur she’s quite humble, lovable even.
The interactions with Kurt and Alice were actually my favourite. A lot of the time they played well of of each other and Kurt’s point-of-view always felt the closet to the truth for me. That’s not to say he’s a good person either, because his reveal is one of the more gut-wrenching, but I appreciate Mathieu didn’t just make Kurt the “goodie goodie” because he’s actually anything but if you look at his motives.
The imagery painted in this novel is haunting and disturbing. It’s not a book I recommend with every reader in mind, but I loved it from start to finish. I loved that every action had a consequence, I loved the mystery surrounding Alice and Brandon and I loved that there was no sugarcoating on the subject. Plus the final chapter is really what sold the whole book for me, because having that truth really can make you a whole lot stronger.