Friday, March 27, 2015

Book Review: The Truth About Alice

Title: The Truth About Alice
Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
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 wall 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 had the infamous party, the car accident survivor, the former best friend, and the boy next door - tell all they know.
But what exactly is the truth about Alice? In the end, there's only one person to ask: Alice herself.

My Review

For a book that’s just under two hundred pages, Jennifer Mathieu’s The Truth About Alice packs a punch and delivers the pain right to the guts. This book is one that readers will wow readers so much that they’ll want to devour in one sitting, but it’s also conflicting because readers will want to savor it and make it last just a little longer. I did the latter, and decided to savor it, and it paid off. The novel is both heartbreaking and healing, though much of the book deals with heartbreaking issues such as bullying, depression, death, and mourning. Other issues, such as sex, drinking, and religion are brought up in the book, so it has a little something for everyone. Matthieu tackles these issues with grace and writes about them beautifully with such a vast array of emotions.

The novel is told from four different perspectives, and each character has his or her own opinion about the infamous Alice Franklin. Rumors are swirling around the small town of Healy, Texas, and teenage residents, Elaine, Kelsie, Josh, and Kurt all have something to say about Alice and what allegedly happened at Elaine’s party and the weeks that followed. The multiple narrator aspect allows for a multifaceted story that perturbs and engages readers as they turn every page. I really liked that this novel was told from the different points of view. As the book progresses, readers are able to put the puzzle pieces together to figure out the truth until Alice finally comes out to tell her side of the story. Each character had his or her own voice, and this springboards Mathieu amongst some of the best contemporary YA authors. I was never confused about who was narrating each chapter, and I loved each character’s unique voice.

I did feel like the four narrators represented the typical high school stereotypes and were clich├ęs but the inclusion of that feature made the book more realistic and believable. No matter where you go to school, there are popular girls, jocks, nerds, and quite possibly, back-stabbing friends. I really enjoyed reading and learning about these characters they all conform to their respective stereotype in certain ways, but they are still able to break the mold and surprise readers by doing unexpected things at unexpected times.

Every teenager (and fan of young adult books) should and must read The Truth About Alice. Even with it’s more mature content, it’s such a powerful and emotionally slaying read because it realistically shows just how vicious teenagers can really be. On the other hand, it also shows that there still is some good in the world, even when it seems like all hope is lost. I would recommend this book for fans of gut-wrenching books and movies like The Breakfast Club and Mean Girls. If you’re looking for something realistic and suspenseful, read this book.

16 comments :

  1. I am so glad you enjoyed this one! I found it to be a very powerful story and one that made me think about the way we treat people, even as an adult who is *well* out of high school. Great review!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

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    1. Thanks, Kate! I'm so glad that I finally read it because it's definitely a book I'd recommend to every teenager and adult. It's got such a powerful message.

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  2. I just wanted to stop in and say hi! I'm a new follower of your blog :)

    I love the look and feel of it.

    I have been wanting to read this one for a while but I never got around to it.


    Michelle @ Book Briefs

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    1. Hi, Michelle! Thanks for following my blog! :)

      I would definitely recommend this book, especially if you're a fan of emotional books that teach a lesson. It's very good. :)

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  3. I remember feeling the exact same thing after I'd finished reading this book (haha, even my review for it last year had a similar title to your first sentence)! It's so short for a contemporary novel, and yet it doesn't fail to bring down ALL THE FEELS on you. Just goes to show that books don't need be thick and full of content to make its readers emotional.

    YES. For once I didn't mind high school stereotypes. Those cliched characters really did bring out the gravity of Alice's situation, and the multiple perspectives worked surprisingly well, too. It's usually a huge turn-off for me for a book to have several POVs, but in this case, it was perfect. Honestly, the characters and their actions were so well fleshed-out and so real that it pretty much had me shaking in rage at what they did.

    I definitely agree that this is one powerful book that all teenagers should read! Perhaps the only complaint I have is that I wish I could have connected to Alice more. If I remember correctly, we only get to read from her POV in the last chapter, so I didn't really feel like that was enough. Still, The Truth About Alice was a great and enjoyable book, and I'm glad you felt the same way too, Erin! Awesome review!

    Thanks for stopping by Adrift on Vulcan! :)

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    1. OMG. That is so freaky, especially because I don't read reviews for books until after I write my own. I just look at the ratings. But some of the best books that I've read are short and to the point, and I love those authors for doing that.

      I was such a huge fan of her using the stereotypes because it just worked, and I remember quite a few people in high school who completely fit into the mold of the stereotype of their choosing. I'm okay with multiple POVs, and this one is the book I've read with the more POVs than anything else I've read.

      I wish that could have happened, too, but then again, I don't because I really liked seeing how other people saw her, and how at the end, Alice just realized that she was the only one who really mattered. It was like the ultimate "f*** off" moment for her.

      Thank you! :)

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  4. Oh this sounds really good. Though I don't like reading about YA characters in schools because they tend to be cliche and annoying characters, but I like the whole theme going on with this book. Adding to my TBR! Thanks for sharing, Erin! :)

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    1. Blessie, I loved it! I usually don't like reading books that are set in schools because they can get so annoying, but this one reminded me of actually being in school and dealing with the real problems that happen, not just some lame plot that an author comes up with to pass off as school drama.

      I hope you like it! :)

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  5. Even though this was short, I thought it was SO powerful! So realistic to high school and what happens and the stereotypes just added to the story. But you're right, sometimes the characters did unexpected things and it was great! I'm pretty sure I devoured this in one whole sitting. It was such an easy read, and so wonderful. It hurt a lot, I hurt for Alice so much. But while that ending was beautiful, I wanted a bit *more* with it and her POV. Still though, such a good book that I hope all teens read!

    Wonderful review, Erin! :)

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    1. It was! Like OMG.

      I wish I could have read it in one sitting, but I did end up finishing it rather quickly. (I read it while subbing, and ended up needing another book by second period. Oops.)

      Wouldn't it be awesome for a sequel or something from Alice's POV? I would totally buy that and praise its existence! lol

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  6. EEP I'M SO HAPPY YOU LOVED THIS! I really need to start onthis one since it's been waiting FOREVER and because the author is a Texas author! MUST. READ.

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    1. Thank you, Nikki! It was one that I waited a long time to read, but I'm so glad that I did because it was amazing! I hope you get to read it soon and experience all of the emotions that come with this one.

      I didn't know she was from Texas, but that makes sense because the book is set in Texas.

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  7. I really liked this book as well - it's something different from the usual romance YA you know? I agree with you, that the characters each represented a stereotype in high school. Thank you for the lovely review & Oh, beautiful blog btw :) <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

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    1. I'm so glad that you liked it. I haven't seen much of it on the blogosphere since its release, but it seems like so many people have enjoyed it. I usually hate when stereotypes are represented, but Mathieu just nailed it with each character, especially showing things that don't fall into their stereotype.

      Thanks, Benish! :)

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