The Truth About Alice
By: Jennifer Mathieu
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
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.
The Truth About Alice is unlike any book I’ve ever read. I had been wanting to read this book for a long time because I had heard so many good things about it. To be honest though, I felt underwhelmed by this book. The writing was beautiful but I think my main problem with this book was that I couldn’t connect to Alice and I didn’t like her as a character. I just felt that Alice was cold, which is realistic in the situation of the novel, but I couldn’t get into the story from her perspective. I found the four characters different perspectives much more interesting and relatable to read about. Overall, I was more interested in their personal journeys than Alice’s story. Each character had such deep personal struggles in their life and the way Jennifer Mathieu wrote about them was beautiful. Not only were their struggles handled beautifully and relatable but they were also real and raw. The author didn’t try to sugar coat anything. While reading it I could feel their raw emotions of pain and confusion. Sometimes in books authors have a tendency to make their characters overdramatic that leads the reader to think there is no way that a real person would react this way but this was NOT the case with this book. I think readers will appreciate how real and in-depth this novel goes.
Brandon was one of the most intriguing characters. It was interesting to see how each person viewed him differently. He had so many layers to him but don’t get me wrong, he was not a great guy. He treated girls horribly and took almost everything for granted. Throughout the entire book I was waiting for him to have more redeeming qualities but it turned out he had very few. The one thing that really stood out to me about Brandon was his friendship with Josh. He seemed like a great friend to Josh and was always supportive of him. His relationship towards Josh showed me in my opinion that he had potential to be a good person, he just didn’t want to be that way to the rest of the world. Josh himself is an interesting character as he hints to his own possible secret but the author never comes out and fully confirms it.
One of the greatest things about this book is that it addresses the huge issue of “slut-shaming” in this generation. It is not rare for a girl to be slut-shamed even for acts that she didn’t do. However, having sex is not something to be ashamed about anyway. This book specially addresses the fact that the guy is never treated the same way as the girl in the situation and is praised for his actions unlike the girl who gets bullied for it. Jennifer Mathieu handled this topic better than any other author I have read about which is a good thing because it provides a valuable lesson to people that “slut-shaming” should not be tolerated. This book has the potential to change people’s actions and make people stop having the double standard. I applaud the author for bringing this topic to light in this way in the YA world because it is a very fragile topic but she was able to do it justice.
What I Liked About This Book:
- Every character has their own in-depth issues
- Real characters
- Different perspectives
- Thought provoking topics
Overall, this book will leave you thinking about it and its characters long after you have finished reading it. It strikes your heart and makes you question and contemplate life. While I did not absolutely love this book, I did like it. It touched upon tough topics and issues in society that are becoming a huge problem while also beautifully describing the grief and loss of a friend. It is a powerful novel that covers so much is so few pages. The characters are dynamic as there is more to them than what meets the eye. If you liked Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang you may like this book as they both have a similar tone and deal with more serious subject matters.