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The Truth About Alice: A Novel

The Truth About Alice: A Novel

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by Jennifer Mathieu
     
 

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Winner of the Children's Choice Book Awards' Teen Choice Debut Author Award

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"

Overview

Winner of the Children's Choice Book Awards' Teen Choice Debut Author Award

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.

Editorial Reviews

EBOOK COMMENTARY

"Debut author Mathieu brings new life to a common girls' narrative through her multiple first-person narrators." - Kirkus Reviews "Each narrator shares elements of culpability for the rumors and mistreatment of Alice, and teens are introduced to the potential damage that rumors and lies bring." - School Library Journal
Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
Pretty much all the students in her high school—perhaps the whole town—brand Alice a slut. She now has only one friend, having been ditched by her best friend. The story is about Alice, but told from the perspectives of other students. The main person to spread the rumors is Brandon, a football star, whom everybody worships. When, presumably as a joke, he says Alice had sex with him and another guy at an “end of summer” party, everyone believes him. Just a month and half later, Brandon dies in a car crash. Josh, Brandon’s best friend, tells the police that Alice was “sexting” Brandon while he was driving. Josh does not tell the truth until the end of the book, when the reader finally hears from Alice herself. The book is a cautionary tale about the dangers of drinking and following the supposed “In Crowd,” who, for the most part, are just trying not to be found out for the frauds they think they are. The characters are well drawn, with different voices and personalities. The story lends itself to discussions about spreading and believing rumors and being yourself, instead of being a sycophant. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan; Ages 14 up.
Publishers Weekly
07/21/2014
Four high-school juniors—Elaine, Kelsie, Josh, and Kurt—narrate the eponymous Alice's story in turns. A callous jock named Brandon starts a rumor that Alice slept with him and another boy at Elaine's party. Shortly afterward, he dies in a car crash, and Josh suggests that texts from Alice distracted Brandon. These rumors take on a life of their own, transforming Alice from a well-liked girl into a cafeteria pariah with a "Slut Stall" dedicated to her in the girls' bathroom. Mathieu's well-crafted debut portrays all the teens sympathetically, revealing the insecurities that motivate their actions; for example, Kelsie thinks the popular girls "could smell my old middle school nerdiness on me like it was some kind of disease," and would rather betray her best friend than lose her newfound popularity. Their accounts unintentionally reveal Alice's decency, emphasizing the cruelty of the ostracism and underscoring the integrity of the one boy who dares to befriend her. Alice gets the final word, yet Mathieu avoids reducing her story to a revenge narrative, instead offering a quietly powerful testament to perspective and personal resilience. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sarah LaPolla, Bradford Literary Agency. (June)
From the Publisher

*"Fans of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Speechless by Hannah Harrington will welcome first time author Mathieu, who has crafted a realistic and hard-hitting debut." - VOYA, STARRED REVIEW
Booklist

A tough, unapologetic look at slut-shaming from a promising new voice.
BCCB

Swift pace and compact size may entice reluctant readers as well as those interested in a juicy yet thoughtful take on human dynamics.
VOYA, August 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 3) - Erin Forson
Readers will recognize this tragic tale played out repeatedly in one of America’s most brutal institutions—high school, a microcosm of the town of Healy where the story is set, and the world at large where, “if you give people enough time, eventually they’ll do the most heartbreaking stuff in the world.” Told in alternating first-person narratives, the text is powerful in its simplicity. Readers will know Alice, the scapegoat who is cast out of the fold when she is accused of having sex with two boys in one night, her reputation effectively sacrificed to jealousy and rage. Readers will know the football star extraordinaire, Brandon, the catalyst for Alice’s banishment, an athlete like many who revels in his fame but is unable to handle rejection. They will have met Elaine, unapologetically popular and self-righteous, and so jealous of Alice that she encourages Alice’s persecution. Even more loathsome are the parasites readers will discover hovering near the elite of the school, individuals who seek to ingratiate themselves by supplementing the slander against Alice with even greater lies. Readers will shake their heads in disgust as they watch Kelsie sell out her best friend rather than sink into obscurity, and they will pity Josh, who lies to ease his own conscience. Perhaps readers will be like Kurt, unconcerned with the trappings of popularity; the guy who reaches out to Alice in her time of need, and reveals what kindness can accomplish in the face of sheer hate. Fans of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1999/Voya December 1999) and Speechless by Hannah Harrington (Harlequin Teen, 2012/Voya October 2012) will welcome first time author Mathieu, who has crafted a realistic and hard-hitting debut. Reviewer: Erin Forson; Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
05/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—Healy, Texas, is a small town where everyone knows each other's business, and the scandals that unfold around Alice Franklin are no exception. The book is told from alternating points of view, and four of Alice's classmates provide accounts of heavy drinking and rumors about Alice's promiscuity. Readers are told that the title character had sex with two boys at the same party, sent obsessive texts that led to the death one of the boys, and had an abortion. As the story unfolds, Alice is called a slut and a skank, is abandoned by her best friend, is ostracized by everyone, and endures a "slut stall" in the girl's bathroom filled with derogatory graffiti. As more is revealed, each narrator shares elements of culpability for the rumors and mistreatment of Alice, and teens are introduced to the potential damage that rumors and lies bring. Though certain participants in the rumor mill feel bad and readers get the sense that Alice heals from the horrible events while developing a meaningful relationship, the treatment of such serious topics is cursory at best. Mathieu skims the harmful topics of slut-shaming, rumors, and lies in a way that places this title in the ranks of books like the "Gossip Girl" series by Cecily von Ziegesar (Little, Brown) as opposed to more thought-provoking titles like The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney (Little, Brown, 2010).—Adrienne L. Strock, Chicago Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
2014-05-04
Jealousy, rumors and lies can ruin a teen girl's life.In the summer before junior year at Healy High School, Alice Franklin was one of the girls popular enough to be invited to Elaine O'Dea's party. That night, Alice supposedly slept with both high school quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons and college guy Tommy Cray. Just after homecoming, Brandon dies in a car accident, allegedly while texting with Alice. Debut author Mathieu brings new life to a common mean girls' narrative through her multiple first-person narrators. Readers first hear Alice's story from Elaine, the queen bee of the junior class. Then Kelsie Sanders enters as Alice's best friend, who is willing to cast her aside to maintain her own tenuous place in the social hierarchy. Two boys also get to tell their sides of the story: Josh Waverly, Brandon's best friend, who has secrets of his own, and Kurt Morelli, nerd extraordinaire, who's been secretly obsessed with Alice for years. Due to the novel's short length, the rotating narrators and a few questionable word choices, some characters border on caricatures in places. When readers finally hear directly from Alice in the book's last chapter, they may wonder why the author took so long to introduce arguably the most interesting voice in the book.A quick if unoriginal read saved by a realistic ending. (Fiction. 13-18)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596439108
Publisher:
Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:
06/03/2014
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
136,810
Lexile:
900L (what's this?)
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Truth About Alice


By Jennifer Mathieu

Roaring Brook Press

Copyright © 2014 Jennifer Mathieu
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-59643-910-8



CHAPTER 1

Elaine


I, Elaine O'Dea, am going to tell you two definite, absolute, indisputable truths.


1. Alice Franklin slept with two guys in the very same night in a bed IN MY HOUSE this past summer, just before the start of junior year. She slept with one and then, like five minutes later, she slept with the other one. Seriously. And everybody knows about it.

2. Two weeks ago — just after Homecoming — one of those guys, Brandon Fitzsimmons (who was crazy super popular and gorgeous and who yours truly messed around with more than once) died in a car accident. And it was all Alice's fault.


The other guy Alice slept with was this college guy, Tommy Cray, who used to go to Healy High. I'll get to Healy in a minute, and Brandon dying, too, but first, I should probably tell you about Alice.

It's weird, because Alice Franklin doesn't sound like a slutty name. It sounds like the name of a girl who takes really super good Chem notes or volunteers at the Healy Senior Center on Friday nights passing out punch and cookies or whatever it is they do at the Healy Senior Center on a Friday night. Speaking of old people, Alice sounds like a total grandma name. Like tissues-tucked-in-the-sleeves I-can't-find-my-purse what-time-is-Jeopardy!-on-again grandma. But that's totally not Alice Franklin. Hell no.

Because Alice Franklin is a slut.

She's not overtly slutty looking or whatever, but her look could go either way. She's a little taller than average but not freakishly tall, and I totally admit she has a really good figure. She never has to worry about her weight. Maybe her mom makes her count Weight Watchers points with her like mine does, but then again I don't think so, because Alice's mom doesn't seem to care that the entire town thinks her daughter is a total ho. I don't know if Alice's dad would care because Alice hasn't had a dad for as long as I've known her. Which is forever.

Alice has short hair that's cut sort of pixie-style, and she's one of those girls with naturally full lips. She always, always has raspberry-colored lipstick and lip liner on. Her face is standard pretty. She has multiple piercings in both ears, but she's not weird or punk or whatever; I guess she just likes a lot of earrings. In fact, she kind of dresses up for school. Or at least she did before all of this went down. She liked to wear pencil skirts and tight tops which showed off her boobs, and she'd always have on these open-toed sandals that showed off her raspberry toenails. Like even in February.

After it all happened, it's like she didn't care what she looked like. At first she came to school dressed all normal, but lately she's been showing up in jeans and a sweatshirt with the hood up lots of the time. She still wears the lipstick, though, which I find weird.

She hasn't ever been super crazy popular like me (I know that comes out conceited, but it's just the truth), but she's never been like that freak show Kurt Morelli who has an IQ of 540 and never talks to anyone except the teachers. If you're thinking of popularity as an apartment building, somebody like me is sitting on the roof of the penthouse, the band geeks are sleeping on the floor in the basement, and that freak show Kurt Morelli isn't living in the building at all. And I guess Alice Franklin has spent most of her life on some middle floor somewhere, but on the top of the middle.

So she was cool enough to come to my party.

You need to understand that this thing with Alice sleeping with two guys and Brandon dying in a car accident are the two biggest things to go down in Healy in a really super crazy long time. I don't mean just big with the kids who go to Healy High. I mean big with like everyone. You know how there's this whole world that exists only to teenagers, and adults never know what's going on there? I think even the adults are aware of this phenomenon. Even they realize that they don't know what a certain word means or why a certain show is popular or like how they always get so excited to show you a YouTube video with a cat sneezing that you already saw twenty hundred years ago or whatever.

But Alice sleeping with two guys and then Brandon dying have become part of the whole world of Healy. Moms have talked about it with other moms at meetings of the Healy Boosters, they've asked their daughters about it, and they've looked at Alice's mom in the grocery store with a look that's always, "I feel so sorry for you, you terrible, terrible mother." (I know this because my mother has done all these things, including staring at Alice's mother in the dairy aisle while looking for some fat-free pudding she'd heard about at a Weight Watchers meeting. The pudding was only two points, so of course my mother was nuts for it.)

And this thing about Brandon dying is even crazier because he was Brandon Fitzsimmons, King of Healy, Texas. Quarterback and totally handsome and funny and everybody knew him. The dads have been talking about it at meetings of the Healy Boosters and in line at the Auto Zone, and they shake their heads and say what a damn shame it is that Brandon Fitzsimmons had to die in a car accident just a few weeks into football season. (I know this because my father has done all of these things, including wondering out loud why that Alice Franklin Slut, as he put it, had to go and mess up Healy's best chance at the 3A State Championship since he played for the Tigers back in, like, 1925.)

Football is enormous in Healy, but Healy itself is not. It's basically the kind of place that is just far enough away from the city that it can't really be considered a suburb, but it's not big enough to be considered much more than just a small town. There are two grocery stores, three drugstores, and, like, five billion churches located in strip malls. The movie theater shows one movie at a time, so you never get a new one, and the big thing to do on the weekends if you're under twenty is go get fast food and beers and park in the Healy High parking lot and talk shit about people or hope that someone's parents go out of town so you can have a party. Most people either love it here and never plan on leaving, or they hate it here and can't wait to go.

Healy isn't as bad as it sounds. I know it's totally lame that the biggest store is a Walmart and we have to drive an hour and ten minutes to go to a real mall, but still, I love it. I guess, yeah, it's all I know, but I love walking into almost any store in town and people know me and smile at me, and they ask me about my mom and dad and they ask me if I'm on the varsity dance squad this year (yes) and if I'm planning on being on the junior prom committee (yes) and if I think Healy has a chance at state (always). And the things I do seem to be the things that everyone else at Healy High wants to do. Like when my girlfriends and I were freshmen and we started using toothpicks to write letters on our nails with fingernail polish, so we could spell out ten-digit messages like I AM SO CUTE! and SCHOOL SUX! In about a week practically every other freshman girl at Healy High was copying us.

But back to Alice Franklin.

In the movies, high school parties are always these huge, crazy events with five hundred kids jammed into one house and naked people jumping from the roof into the pool, but in reality, high school parties are nothing like this. At least not in Healy. Healy parties basically consist of people sitting around the living room drinking, texting each other from across the room, watching television, and every once in a while someone goes into the kitchen to get another beer. Sometimes two people will go upstairs to one of the bedrooms and everyone makes a joke about it, and around midnight or 1 a.m. people pass out on the couch or go home.

Not so exciting sounding, I know, but I suppose what makes them exciting is the possibility that one of these nights, at one of these parties, something will happen.

And I guess that something did.

CHAPTER 2

Kelsie


The night of Elaine O'Dea's party, I was throwing up and had a fever of 102.

So I didn't go.

This was truly an epic emergency in my eyes because despite being almost a junior in high school, the old Kelsie from Flint was not completely dead and buried inside of me yet. Back when I lived in Michigan, I was a nerd. A nothing. A nobody. In Healy I am popular, and this blows my mind, and I guess the night of the party there was this part of me that was sure that if I missed even one opportunity to remind everyone of my social standing, I would be kicked back to the solitary cafeteria table of doom, destined to live out the rest of my high school days completely on my own. I would have to give up the fun that came with being part of this super elite club where there was no secret handshake or door knock, but there was still plenty to make it worthwhile.

I mean, to be totally honest, it's not like I'm on the very top rung of the social ladder like Elaine O'Dea and her crew, but if for whatever reason Elaine O'Dea and her friends are ever unable to perform their duties as the Most Popular Girls at Healy High, I am happy to be part of that Most Popular Girls Runners-Up group that is totally available to step in. And even as a runner-up I have privileges. Like ... the feeling I get when I walk into the cafeteria and I know I can sit anywhere I want and people will always want to sit with me, and the fact that I know the teachers will already know my name on the first day of school without me having to tell them, and the fun in not worrying for even one second about whether or not I will have people to hang out with on the weekends. I always have people to hang out with on the weekends. Or anytime. Texting, talking, calling, drinking, kissing, laughing, dancing, drinking, texting, talking, and drinking. And I'm right in the middle of all of it.

I've seen the other side of things back in Flint, and I am here to tell you that being popular is awesome.

But I was so sick the night of Elaine's party, I didn't even pretend there was a chance I could show up. I just clutched the rim of the toilet bowl and cursed to myself as I thought about Elaine and Alice and Josh and Brandon and everybody sitting around together, and me not being a part of everything.

I hated not being a part of things. I hated missing things.

As it turns out, I did miss something. I missed The Thing that everyone would talk about all year long, and I knew I'd missed it the next morning as I ate dry toast and sipped ginger ale and listened to my best friend Alice Franklin on the other end of the phone.

"Tell me the truth, has anyone texted you about it?" Alice said, her voice low and serious. If it had been me, I would have been crying. But Alice wasn't crying. Not yet.

"I just got, like, one text about it." In reality I had gotten three texts, but I didn't see the point in telling this to Alice. The first text had been from this crazy sophomore who prides herself on spreading gossip, and it said:

Alice did Tommy Cray AND Brandon F. at Elaine's party. OMG.

My stomach sort of gurgled a little when I read the text, and it wasn't from the stomach flu. It was mostly because of what it said about Alice, but it was also because it mentioned Tommy Cray, who I hadn't even realized was going to be at the party. I guess it was one last hurrah for him before going back to college for his sophomore year, but any mention of Tommy Cray and I'm forced to think about The Really Awful Stuff that happened to me last summer. No one knows about it. Not even Alice.

"Kelsie, it isn't true. You know it isn't true. I don't know why the hell Brandon is telling people this shit. Nothing happened! We were hanging out at the party and he tried to mess around, and I was sort of buzzed and told him I didn't want to, and then I left. Nothing happened! You believe me, don't you?"

"Of course I believe you," I said.

And I did.

But I also didn't.

Honestly, I didn't know what to believe.

Which I guess should sort of tell you something about Alice Franklin. I mean, there was that time she lied to me about what she did with the lifeguard at Healy Pool North. And everyone still talks about what happened between her and Brandon and Elaine back in eighth grade. She had to know everyone was going to remember that. Maybe that was why I could sort of hear panic in her voice even if she was trying really hard to play it cool.

And to be honest, maybe I started to panic, too. I think right then I started to wonder if being Alice Franklin's best friend might spell trouble for me. I mean, if people didn't think what she'd done was a big deal, it would be okay. Probably. But what if it upped the slut factor so much that people started thinking I was a slut by association? I mean, it was one thing to be a girl who'd had sex. But it was something else entirely to be a girl who'd had sex with two guys in one night.

But I had to at least pretend to believe Alice. She'd been my first friend in Healy and my ticket into the world of social acceptance, and at first I wasn't sure how the party rumor would be received. It's true. If you haven't realized it, I'm aiming for truth here. Total honesty. And if the party rumor hadn't turned Alice into this kind of weird pariah from the first day of school on, it would have been easy to decide what to do. Even if the rumors did involve Tommy Cray, it would have been simple to choose to stay friends with her. I would have just gone along with what everybody wanted. But honestly, if what Alice did (or maybe didn't) do had been held up as some great achievement by everyone at Healy High, I would have still hung out with her. If everyone still liked her, I would have still liked her, too.

I know I sound like the worst person on Earth. I'm totally owning that.

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. I never said anything out loud, of course, but I remember reading that book in Ms. Peterson's class and everyone was all, "Oh, I would've helped Anne. I would have rebelled. I don't understand how people could have allowed this to happen, blah blah blah." I mean, I know that everyone wants to believe they would have been the brave one, and they would have been the one to hide Anne in their attic, and they would have killed Hitler with their own bare hands. But clearly if everybody thinks that way and in reality only a few people actually did it way back then, doesn't that just make me the honest one?

Anyway, the party was at the very end of the summer, and we'd only been back at school for a little while when Brandon died. The accident happened just a few weeks ago, right after Homecoming. And that was when stuff started getting really nuts because Brandon's best friend Josh Waverly, who had been in the car with Brandon when the accident happened, told Brandon's mom that the crash had been Alice's fault. Things were bad for Alice before the accident, but then it became like this whole other epic level of bad.

Alice called me crying about the car accident rumor, and I told her I was so sorry, and I was sure it wasn't true. When she called me after that I just didn't answer. She didn't call me all last week, and maybe she never will again. A few times she called and I answered and then acted like my mom wanted me to help make dinner or something. Once, back at the very beginning of the year before things got really bad and before Brandon died, she asked me to hang out with her and watch corny musicals at her house like we did back in ninth grade, and then when the weekend came I told her I was sick, but it was actually because Elaine O'Dea had invited me and some other girls over to her house. Like I'm going to turn down Elaine O'Dea to hang out with (allegedly) the biggest slut in the school?


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu. Copyright © 2014 Jennifer Mathieu. Excerpted by permission of Roaring Brook Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Jennifer Mathieu started writing stories when she was in kindergarten and now teaches English to middle and high schoolers. She lives in Texas with her husband, her son, her dog, and two cats. Nothing bad has ever been written on the bathroom stall about Jennifer. At least she doesn't think so. The Truth About Alice is Jennifer's debut novel.


Jennifer Mathieu started writing stories when she was in kindergarten and now teaches English to middle and high school students. She won the Teen Choice Debut Author Award at the Children's Choice Book Awards for her first novel, The Truth About Alice. She is also the author of Devoted and Afterward. She lives in Texas with her husband, son, dog, and two cats.

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The Truth About Alice 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
RobertDowns More than 1 year ago
I am in awe of this book. I want to put it up on a pedestal and stare at it for hours. I want to buy a copy for everyone that I know, so that they can read it and love it as much as I do. I want to plaster this review and project it toward the heavens, so that every single person I don't know can buy a copy for himself, his 2.5 kids, his two car garage, and maybe even his dog or cat. This book is that good. It's the best book I've read this year. No question. But will all of those people along with all of their brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and grandmas and grandpas feel the same way about THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE that I do. Probably not. And that makes me sad. Like my stomach has sunk to the floor, and I might not be able to pick it back up again sad. And it makes me sad that I probably won't be able to convince enough people to buy this novel, because I won't adequately be able to project my feelings over the course of this review and I feel like I need to take a writing course just so I can properly convey my true love for this novel. And it does feel like true love. When I reached the end, the butterflies in my stomach were floating around, and I wanted to sing and dance, but I also wanted to stomp and shout and cry, because I had reached the end and this world was over and all the feelings I had felt and the wonderfulness that consumed me would have to be set aside as I moved on to the next book and entered an entirely different world. But it won't be the same, and I know I won't feel the same way about the next book that I feel about this one, and it's not really even fair to compare the two, because this book knocked me on my butt and flipped me down the stairs. THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE ought to be required reading at every high school across the country, and across other countries, too, like China and India and Pakistan. Because the problems in our high school--the popularity contests, the hazing, the nerds and geeks, queens and outcasts and sluts, and the jocks and the cheerleaders--aren't just confined to our high schools. So...every single bastard in every single high school around the world ought to read this novel. And if it doesn't make you stop and think about yourself, whether it's for a minute or an hour or even the rest of your life, you might just have a major malfunction in your line of coding. I mean, just over the course of this novel, we have Elaine and Kelsie, Josh and Brandon, and a bunch of other people who just follow along with the crowd, because it's the easy thing to do. Because it might affect their status or their well-being if they actually lent a hand to someone else for once in their miserable lives. But this novel was so worth it. Like totally. What it had--strong characters, true to high school individuals, realistic dialogue, reflection (past) and present, multiple viewpoints, shallow pools and emotional depth, plot triggers and passion, a condensed story where every word mattered, a small town feel and atmosphere, and a journey that truly kept me on the edge of my seat--in less than 210 pages. If I were smarter, I would have read it in one sitting. But I've never claimed to know what the hell I'm doing. Luckily for me (and you) Jennifer Mathieu does, and I have a feeling she'll be around for a very long time. I received this book for free through NetGalley. Robert Downs Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
KaylaBeck More than 1 year ago
First things first, I want to disclose that I've been past my teenage years longer than I was a teenager. Therefore, Jennifer Mathieu's debut, The Truth About Alice, didn't really affect me greatly like most of the reviews that I've seen. Or maybe it was because I went to school in a small town like Healy with a bunch of catty people and found myself just saying, "Yep, that's pretty much what happens." However, the longer it took me to write this review, the more I "got" the novel. The Truth About Alice is told through several different points of view. Elaine is one of the most popular girls in school and was on-again/off-again with Brandon Fitzsimmons. Josh was Brandon's wide receiver and best friend. Kelsie is on the edge of popularity and was Alice Franklin's best friend up until the infamous party at Elaine's. Kurt is the smart kid that exists outside of social circles and lived next door to Brandon from kindergarten. These characters take turns telling how their town slaps a scarlet letter on Alice and what their parts are in her social downfall. They are also able to tell a story about bullying at its very finest. (Please note the sarcasm there.) This book is absolutely about bullying and what happens when no one steps forward to stop it, but it also shows the pain of teenagers and the difficult time they have expressing and venting their problems in a proper outlet. All of the characters who have points of view in The Truth About Alice are hurting to some extent over the death of Brandon. They are also unwilling to take ownership of what they themselves have done wrong and project those issues onto Alice and punish her for their conflicts. I won't say more, but any one of the teens in this book, or a parent, could have stepped in and headed this off As for the story itself and the writing, it did drag for me a bit. I did not have an emotional connection with any of the characters, but I think I felt the most for Kelsie. I understand a lot of her pain and where she is coming from because I had a friend like her. I pitied her. I also didn't feel that anyone in this book was a villain. They said and did some pretty rotten things, but I don't feel like they had enough emotional maturity to understand the scope of how they allowed the situation to get out of hand. I think The Truth About Alice can remind us older people of what it was like to be a teenager, and it shows young people that they are not alone. I think reading this book can remind all of us how important it is to show kindness to everyone, no matter if they are being mistreated by the majority of people. The Truth About Alice isn't the easiest book to read because of the situation, but I think teenagers and their parents will do well to pick it up.
ALR1 More than 1 year ago
I scooped up this book when I saw it arrive at my local library. I was meeting a student for tutoring, and after our session I sat and read the book. I finished in less than three hours. I visit classrooms often, and kids always, always ask for book recs. This will be one of them. Admittedly, during the first chapter (Elaine’s POV) I wasn’t so sure if I would like the book. She’s catty and opinionated and narcissistic (but isn’t that the point??). She’s true to her character, likable or not, although I found myself liking her more and more as the story progressed. My opinion of Kelsie rollercoastered throughout the story – again, this was the obvious intention of Mathieu. Kelsie’s questionable actions have a questionable reason. Same with the others. There are hidden motives, guilt, and meaning, and all of their actions intertwine. It’s difficult to consistently alter POVs without 1. Confusing the reader or 2. Annoying the reader. At no point did I have to flip back to the chapter beginning to figure out who was speaking. The characters are that distinct. And the switching of perspective never interrupted the flow of the story.  I finished the book and thumbed through it again, just thinking. The dedication resonated with me: To All the Alice Franklins. Because they exist. I knew Alice Franklins in high school. Lies spread like viruses. I knew Alice Franklins when I was teaching high school. It’s sad, but she is present in so many schools. The same is true for the Kelsie. And Josh. And Kurt. This one felt real. 
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
Who were the winners and who were the losers in this competition that’s dealing with their lives? Being a teenager is hard enough but when lies and bullying gets thrown into the mixture, life becomes even more difficult and strained. As I read this debut novel by Jennifer Mathieu which tells the story of Alice Franklin, I wondered for all the players involved, was this really all worth it? It was such an emotional ordeal with all the characters, was there really any winner? Told from five different perspectives, the story takes off when Elaine informs us that Alice is a slut who slept with two different guys in the same night at her party. Elaine was once a good friend of Alice’s but after the night of that party, Alice has only one friend. We will get to him in a minute. Kelsie was another one of Alice’s friends before the party and Alice helped Kelsie climb the social ladder at Healy High. Kelsie and Alice, they were best friends and normally best friends stick with each other through thick and thin but Kelsie is afraid of sliding back down the social rungs hence, Kelsie is sticking with Elaine. Then we have Josh, Josh was best friends with Brandon. Josh and Brandon are tight and they have shared a lot of secrets. Brandon said he had relations with Alice at Elaine’s party. This is also the guy that Alice is accused of killing in a car crash, Josh feels lost with Brandon. So much hearsay, what and who do you believe? Kurt, oh Kurt. Kurt likes Alice and he finally gets around to telling her later and becomes Alice’s only friend after the party. Being a school weirdo (he’s smart too), Kurt is able to help Alice with her studies but Kurt would like more from Alice in the future. He has a fascination with Alice and he feels sorry for the way people isolate her after the party. Its high school and people say things just to fit in while others say things because it’s true. Only the people who have witness the event know the truth and that is why having the story told from four different viewpoints makes the events in the story fit together. You get the lies, the truth and all the insecurities out in the open, so what really happened? The relationship with Alice and Kurt was a nice turning point as Alice was blunt when talking to him and wanted to know his intentions and I warmed up to Kurt hearing his words. I was amazed at Alice’s reactions a few times when she had the opportunity to rise and she didn’t. Perhaps she knew they wouldn’t listen or perhaps she knew it was pointless, I was just surprised as I was waiting to hear something from her. The story just kept on twisting and winding as the characters got their say in the matter and I wanted to just pull a string and unravel the whole mess to get to the truth but sometimes you just are not that lucky to find the truth that easily. This book has so many powerful elements that teens deal with inside such a short book like the powers of gossip, how social status is so important for kids, relationships, secrets and their importance, popularity and the truth. Looking forward to reading Jennifer’s next book. 4.5 stars
reececo331 More than 1 year ago
Being a teenager is hard, being a teenager in a small town were everybody knows everyone is harder. Alice had it the hardest in her little town. She was a middle of the rung normal girl not popular not unpopular. Life had not prepared her for what she would soon go through. Her life changed after homecoming inexplicably, changed. She loved the attention from the hottest boy in school, but she wasn't prepared for his reaction to her rejection. Nor would she fathom how people would react to his sudden death. She learned that most people can not be trusted, and those she thought of as friends could be counted on. This story looks at how life can change, and how it can change you. It is a good story showing the vitality of the human spirit and the repercussion of the simplest acts.
arianacandelaria27 23 days ago
The novel the Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu is really about a big problem happening in a high school. Alice Franklin, the main character, was Ms.Popular at her school until she had a difficult situation at a high school party. No one knows what happened that night except that she slept with two guys. When one of the guys, star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons, dies in a car crash and everybody is coming up with these rumors that Alice somehow had something to do with the accident. The only way we can know what happened is to ask Alice herself. This book has some similarities to the Pretty Little Liars serious only because of the mystery and the teen problems that happened throughout the book to all characters. A theme for this book I would have to say is Lost of Innocence because these young teens are going through situations that an adult should go through. I really found this book going towards bullying too, because the entire high school students are breaking Alice emotionally on something they don’t even know if it is true or not. This book really pointed out that rumors and telling lies about someone can really tear a person apart.
Anonymous 9 months ago
I needed more! It's only like 140 pages! I loved this book so much I didn't want it to end! When it did I hated the ending. Still, I would highly recommend this book.
Lindsie More than 1 year ago
“The Rumors about Alice Franklin are getting out of hand in the small town of Healy, Texas and no one seems to be doing anything about it. Did Alice really sleep with those two boys? Was Alice at fault for the death of the popular quarterback?” This book while a quick read, is eye opening and powerful. It gives an in depth look at the ugliness and pain that rumors and lies can cause. There are 4 different points of views going on here; none of which are Alice’s until the very end. So ultimately you “see” just why everyone is bullying Alice from their points of views. This is very clever and unique. There are not many books out there like this. What really got me hooked? -How the thoughts of many teenagers is spot on in the story. You can see why these characters did what they did (popularity..revenge). You get to understand their feelings behind their cruelty as well. -The topics are not sugarcoated to please readers. -It deals with serious issues that haunt teenagers today. -It is an honest look at bullying and how it effects everyone. Check this one out. While it is short it is well worth the read. Overall Rating: 4.2 Would I read it again? Yes. And I would have my teenage daughter (if I had/have one) read it too. Would I recommend it? YES! My Love of Books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BookwormBrandee More than 1 year ago
The Truth About Alice is a very moving and realistic look at teen life. It also speaks to the power of words. This story is told from four different POVs - all characters with varying degrees of interaction with Alice. There's Elaine, the head of the popular girl clique, who has a grudge against Alice over something from 8th grade. Then there's Josh, the star wide receiver who survived the car accident Alice supposedly caused. There's Kelsie, Alice's BFF, who was so quick to turn her back on Alice in order to ensure she kept her popular girl status. And finally, Kurt, the nerdy boy who was the only one to reach out to Alice when she most needed someone. Alice herself is just a normal girl with a less than normal family. And she falls victim to nasty words and rumors. This was a difficult story to read. I wanted to shake Elaine, Kelsie, and Josh on several occasions, but I remember being a teen. Heck I'm mom to two teen girls. And although I've taught my girls (all my kids, actually) compassion and right from wrong, ultimately their behavior is their choice. I'm not intimating that any of these characters had strong role models at home. And they live in a small, judgmental town. But they all seemed to realize what they were doing was hurtful and wrong. And yet they didn't stop. Alice said: There is one thing I've learned about people: they don't get that mean and nasty overnight. It's not human nature. But if you give people enough time, eventually they'll do the most heartbreaking stuff in the world. I think this basically sums up this story. I choose to believe that Elaine, Kelsie, and Josh saw the errors of their way and lived differently. What I know is that words carry unbelievable power to hurt. And it's a hurt that can't be undone. But Alice's experience taught her an invaluable lesson about what's important in life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jenniferstrand More than 1 year ago
This book was so well written that it almost became a detriment. How is that possible, you ask?  Let me explain. Mathieu has brought to life characters that are unnecessarily spiteful and just...downright horrible human beings.  MUCH anger was evoked while tearing through this quick read.  I'm not a girl that usually enjoys feeling angry, so it became difficult to keep reading when that anger flared up, but I HAD to keep reading to discover the whole story.  I couldn't stop no matter how much I disliked these characters.  Well played, Mathieu.  Well. Played. The multiple points of view in this book was the perfect way to tell Alice's story.  Well, actually.  This ISN'T Alice's story. Not really.  Alice just happens to be the target at which everyone projects their own insecurities and general overall horribleness.  This story really belongs to the whole town of Healy.  They are the ones you'll get to know and loathe.  (I beg you to reconsider your ways if you find yourself identifying with the behaviors exhibited by any of these individuals.  Except for Kurt.  Kurt is da man, yo.)  Wrapping up with a chapter in Alice's POV was brilliant. LOVED that. THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE reminded me of why I love contemporary YA so much.  They are stories that we can closely identify with because we have (or know someone who has) been through the same kinds of things the hero's and heroine's of this genre go through.  I grew up in a small-ish town and saw the same gross behaviors we see in this story.  It's probably why I never go back there.  I love the idea of a teen picking up this story.  No doubt in my mind that it will help someone who has been made to feel inadequate because of another person's insecurities feel better about themselves.  Consider giving this book to a teen in your life. After reading it yourself. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reading-is-My-Treasure More than 1 year ago
The Truth About Alice, sadly, was not as good as I had hope it to be. There were some amazing parts, but overall, the book sort of . . . fell flat for me. WHAT WOWED ME There were three things in particular that made me think it was a very well written book. 1) Very well developed characters The characters were developed so well and I got to understand why each one acted the way they did towards Alice and her reputation. 2) Distinct POVs I loved how different each one was. I could easily tell them apart by the differences in their personalities and attitudes. 3) The subject matter I love books on serious issues such as bullying because they tend to affect me deeper than most other books. I loved how the author dealt with the subject and how she told the story from many different POVs of Alice's peers. WHY THE BOOK FELL FLAT FOR ME The experience of reading it was like going along a relatively flat line in a graph. It didn't seem to . . . fluctuate enough, if that makes any sense. My emotional response was pretty much the same throughout the whole book, and I just wish there was something more. Also, I felt a little distanced from what was going on and was left less-than-impressed with the ending. OVERALL The Truth About Alice was a very good novel. It was well developed and well written, which is why I still recommend it. Despite where the book didn't work out for me, I can see why many readers would love reading it. If I had connected with the story more, I would probably be calling it amazing. Sadly, though, that is not the case. *I received a copy of this book for review purposes. This has not affected my opinion of the book in any way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Realistic characters, great dialogue, and a lot of complicated emotions make this book a wonderful read.
kimberlyfaye More than 1 year ago
What a powerful book. It was so close to being a five-star read for me. The multiple POV was pulled off very well. Each character had a clear, distinct voice. The characters were so self-absorbed and shallow (except for Kurt and Alice), but they were believable. Their inner dialogue and their actions revealed so much about them and I found myself pitying them for being the way they were. I was so excited to get one chapter from Alice at the end. I'd like to be greedy and ask for more, but I truly think it was near perfect as-is.  I can't say much about the majority of the characters beyond this... Elaine and Kelsie are mean girls. Elaine's shallow enough that I can almost disregard her behavior as that of a vapid teenager. Kelsie, on the other hand, I can't excuse in any way. She knows what it's like to be unpopular. She's far less than perfect herself. She and Alice were friends. Best friends. Her betrayal is worse than the others. Josh was just a stupid guy who was dealing with his own issues – and the loss of his friend – and it was easier for him to blame Alice than to take a minute and think how his actions led to the accident. Of course, that's not the only thing Josh was hiding as far as I'm concerned, but I'll let you draw your own conclusions. (I do wish this had been flushed out more, honestly. But maybe I was just reading too much into things.) Kurt was the only character who I can say anything positive about. An observer, he knows more than what he admits to, but honestly, who would've believed him anyhow? It wasn't right for him to keep the truth from Alice, but I can understand why he did. It's really hard to get a feel about Alice because we learn so much about her through the eyes (and lies) of others, and only get one short chapter from her at the end. I do commend her for how she handled everything she was going through. She stayed as tough as possible and I respect her for that.  Bullying sucks. The Truth About Alice had a very strong message about bullying, but did it from the POV of the bullies and that's what makes it stand out most to me. We frequently see (or read) bullying from the perspective of the bullied. We know how it affects them. It's rare to see it from the eyes of the aggressor, to see what pushes them to treat someone else in such a way. Of course, there's never an excuse for it and these characters don't even try to truly excuse their behavior. They're just jerks.  The Truth About Alice was a super quick read. It wasn't necessarily an easy read if bullying or slutshaming is a trigger for you as it is me, but it was relatable and well-written. One of the things I liked most about this book is that it was messy and, unlike a lot of YA novels, everything wasn't wrapped up in a pretty bow at the end. There was some serious damage done by these characters and I think this ending was more fitting than a "they all lived happily ever after" would have been. I shed a few tears during this book, but that's probably not a great surprise to anyone. It wasn't to me.  This is a book that will stick with me for quite awhile. The Truth About Alice is a fantastic debut novel for Jennifer Mathieu. I look forward to more incredible books from her in the future.  I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
    I wanted to read this one because I wanted to know the truth behind what happened as well the motives to (possibly lie) and bring down Alice.       The way that Alice's stiffer was told was pretty unique, again a bullying story that sticks out because of the way it is presented. I think it would have been nice tho get more of Alice point of view but if we did then I think the story wouldn't have stood out just another in the sea of bullying tools from first perspective. And I know I might sound a little cold but don't get me wrong they are necessary and powerful stories but there are several and it makes it more challenging to me personally when I get to know some of the other characters involved because I know their motives and the hard things going on with then. Not that it gives then any excuse for talking negatively about another person and then trying to keep then down.           The first of the four characters that made an impression on me was Kelsie. I was always more of what Elaine described Alice as before the incidents, middle of the road, except instead of being on the edge of the popular gang, I felt I got in more with the outcasts or the other middle. So I had a lot of friends like Kelsie was before she moved. I honestly can't imagine moving and then spiking in popularity. But it was hard to hear his honest she was. While I did appreciate that she wasn't lying to herself butt if was hard to suggest that she used to be best friends with Alice and then assist the party knowing that Alice was being put down and it wasn't considered cool or okay when she got implicated in the car accident, Kelsie decided to side with the others at school. And through the story especially at the very end, she is also the character who I think grew the most. I understood more and more that she was so afraid and that effected every thing she did, and that made me be able tho get over the mean things she did and be able to relate to her. Well, I know I said get over what she did, I never forgot about it but I could see around it.       All of the other characters had their unique voice and way of seeing and relating tho Alice. At first I didn't quite get and appreciate each because I wanted tho get to the bottom of the story but as the plot got thicker I really saw the answers, through the lies tho the truth, no matter how ugly or hard.       Josh was Brandons best friend, and through him we see the accident as well as some of the story behind what happened at the party and see Brandon through other' eyes. One thing I want sure of is if he was gay or bi. Some of his actions and the way he describes Brandon at times makes me wonder. Speaking of, the romances seem to all take a back seat. Though Josh talked about girls it was never a focus. It was more friendship and what that looked like. I loved when Josh was remembering Brandon and was able tho recognize his flaws but still see through them. It was also a carried over theme with Alice and kelsie, how they used tho be best friends and then the gradual dissolving of it. We also focus on ke'll kelsies relationship with her mom and how she wishes it was different. She wanted more from her... emotional support and physical comfort of a hug. From Elaine, who by the way was my least favorite of the four. I didn't hate her or anything, it is just harder for me to relate to her because she was always in the popular crowd. From her though we get her relationship with her mom. She wanted to be her friend but also pressured her to ssh hi things like weight watchers with her and Elaine had to learn to stand up for herself.    And finally we get to Kurt. He was a boy genius and didn't really fit into their then. He was happy for the most part to be ignored and it gave him more time to read and study. He is the ultimate nerd and he stole my heart. He accepted people for who they were and he had a secret, knowing the truth behind one of the many lies about Alice through a semi friendship with one of the characters. It was mostly kept on the down low which is why no one would suspect he knew the truth. I love that befriends Alice when she was at a low and all of the rumors were at their highest. He had a crush on her for the longest time and I was cheering for him when he finally got up the courage to initiate. Through him we get sort of a view into how Alice is handling everything as their friendship grows.      I think that the ending was well shove. I plot down the book emotional but with a smile on my face. At several points I was pretty unsure how it was possibly going to wrap up in any way that would satisfy me but she managed it.  The story was paced very well and I didn't want to stop reading because it was a character driven story and I knew their would be events and things to make the characters realize more about themselves as well as uncovering the truth about Alice.        Bottom Line: character driven story uncovering the truth about Alice through multiple perspectives.
KelliN More than 1 year ago
I love contemporary YA, and books like The Truth About Alice serve to enforce my love of this genre. Once I started this book I simply could not put it down! The premise captivated me and I had to know how Alice's story would end, as well as finding out Alice's truth. Mathieu uses the alternating first-person narrative to perfection. It worked so well for this character-driven story because it allows the reader to really get into each character's head. I liked that several characters have voices in this book, not just the two main characters. The Truth About Alice is focused on such a relevant topic in today's world: bullying. Bullying is something that changes a person's life trajectory, changes how they view themselves and the world, and changes their entire outlook and personal relationships. Bullying has far-reaching effects which can be life-long. I can think of no worse bullies than high school girls. The Truth About Alice was a great example of how bullying changes everything about people, both the bully and the victim. Reading books like this make it easy to see how some kids are driven to self-harm due to bullying. I loved that Mathieu uses the subject of bullying in this fiction novel to gently educate readers and gets her point across without being didactic. I loved so much about The Truth About Alice. Besides the main focus of the story: Alice's behavior, there's a sweet love story and plenty of character growth. I highly recommend this book!
eternalised More than 1 year ago
I loved The Truth about Alice. It’s written from the persepective of five different characters and tells the story of Alice Franklin, and the million things to say about her. We only hear from Alice at the end of the book, to hear her side of what’s going on, but it’s obvious from the start that not everything the characters say about Alice is the truth. According toe the rumors, Alice slept with two guys at a party. Then, a few months later, one of these guys passed away in a car accident – Brandon, the school’s football star. Alice is blamed for his death, because apparently she texted Brandon while he was driving. The truth, however, is a whole different matter. Slowly, through the POV of four other characters, we find out more about what’s going on. We get the perspective of popular girl Elaine, Brandon’s best friend Josh, Kelsie who used to be an outcast and Alice’s best friend, and Kurt, social outcast. At the end, we hear from Alice herself. The writing is great, and the story is atypical. The characters act believable, and they each have a different personality. We see different aspects of their personality – even Elaine can be friendly, and Kelsie turns out to be even worse than the popular girl. Kurt is by far the most friendly of all of them, but even he is biased sometimes. An intriguing YA contemporary story that doesn’t focus on romance for a change, but instead focuses on rumors, and what they can do to a person. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Autumn2 More than 1 year ago
I received this book from Netgalley to give an honest review. With all the bullying going on this is a perfect book that hits it all on the head. You know that there is always that girl in your school that becomes an outcast for her behavior. Not only that, she starts to get ignored and called names. If you don't have that happening in your school than you have probably seen it on TV as a movie or show. This doesn't get violent as far as the bullying goes now a days, but the words and the lies are just as bad. This story is told in different P.O.V.'s which is really good because you don't just get one side of the story. I can relate to everyone knowing what is going on in a small town like this one because I live in one. You can't keep secrets. So you are pretty much getting told all about Alice, who she is and what not. Alice goes from popular to nothing within a small matter of time. Rumors start with her sleeping with two guys on the same night, but no one asks Alice if it is true. Everyone automatically believes the big football star. It broke my heart that Alice's best friend Kelsie turned her back on her, but at the end it was good. Why you may ask? Well because who needs a friend that is willing to drop you instead of sticking by you? Secrets come to life later on in the book that can either help, hurt or both. The ending was different, I did enjoy it though I wasn't thinking it would end that way. Now I am hoping that the author fixes some things that I found within the book that bothered me. There was a bunch of repeating that I found unnecessary. Maybe the author meant for the repeating but I think it could do without. Overall a book that I would recommend to others to read even if it is to give it a try. The author draws you in from the first page and keeps you drawn into the story.
Kristen_Noel More than 1 year ago
  Whenever I first started reading this, I totally thought, "teenagers aren't this bad" and rolled my eyes a few times. But then the realization smacked me in the face that teenagers are this bad and so are we. This book was such an eye opener. Sure, it held onto cliches and stereotypes, but it worked. The Truth About Alice was a brilliant and sad tale that left me with a smile as I finished it.   I'm really into character driven stories. The way that the author tells this story is perfect for that. There are a handful of characters that you read from their point of view. It gives you all sorts of angles into the plot. I thought it was absolutely brilliant. Because of that, you get to know all of the characters fairly well. The character I had the most love/hate relationship with was Kelsie. At first, I hated her. But then I just pitied her. Kurt was definitely my favorite, and his parts were my favorites.   This book handles a lot of issues so well. It doesn't sugar coat things. It serves them up as honest as it gets. It made me have a lot of respect for the book and the author.   In a world where we can't go a day without hearing about someone being bullied, The Truth About Alice serves as the perfect cautionary tale that still manages to give hope. It's such a quick read that you'll read it one sitting. You won't regret it, either. Fans of Young Adult contemporary fiction, welcome to your new obsession. **I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Jennifer Mathieu and NetGalley
skizzles22 More than 1 year ago
4 "Crazy Good" Stars! This book had one of the most unique plots I've read in the past few years. I didn't know what to expect coming into this book, and I think that's the best thing I could have done. Without any expectations, I was more than surprised with how everything came about. And I really enjoyed it! Like I said, the plot was totally unique. This book is told in 4 different POVs, with 4 completely different characters. We have the queen of the high school, the ex-best friend of Alice, the nerd, and the jock. They are all telling the story how they see–how they want to see it–and what they believe to be the truth. But it all connects. Every tidbit of information provides insight to the characters, their thoughts and feelings, and brings about the collection of the truth about Alice. It's a fascinating messed-up web of lies, power, betrayal, heartbreak, longing, secrets, and jealousy. There were some good moments thrown in, but this book wasn't really about those good moments. It was about what lengths teenagers will go to when trying to fit in, and the powerful reality of bullying. I really like how this book was set up! I don't think I've read a book quite like this, where there are four narrators telling a story about someone else from their point of views. I also like how each of them had their own personalities. It didn't feel like this book was all about Alice. It was as much about the four of them as her; some more than others. And even though Alice didn't have a POV until the end, I still felt like I knew her. The other characters told stories about her and them together, or just about her in general. Not always bad ones, either. But, as a reader who loves character development, it kind of sucked a little that it was hard to connect with her because she wasn't the voice of the story. This book packs a pretty emotional punch. It explores the harsh reality of bullying and high school cliques. It sheds a light on what teenagers go through–their insecurities, and fears, and secrets. Their hopes and dreams. Their moments of doubt; moments of strength. It brings to mind that there's more to people than what they appear to be. It doesn't romanticize bullying; it just sheds a light on the harsh truth of it. That it sucks. That it's not fair. That it hurts. That it turns people into horrible human beings. That it can change your life. The Truth About Alice was fast-paced, filled with a complicated web of secrets, lies, and insecurities. I really liked how the story was told and how everything kind of came together even though there were only four POVs. However, I felt cheated by that ending. I was expecting something more out of Alice's POV. I wish that part had been a bit longer. Still, this book was "crazy good" and I enjoyed every second of it! No joke; I devoured this book in one sitting!
Lisa-LostInLiterature More than 1 year ago
Life can definitely be cruel. Especially when you’re a teenager and your classmates spread rumors about you that ruin your life. The Truth About Alice is a harshly realistic look at bullying and stereotypes as they exist today. Told through the POV’s of 4 separate teenagers (not including the victim herself.), this story is a scary web of lies that creates total chaos for one young girl. At first I wasn’t sure I would like having so many different points of view. I feared I would get confused on characters and personalities. But I didn’t have any trouble at all. Jennifer Mathieu did a wonderful job of telling not just one story, but several stories all at once. There was more than just bullying in this story. Mathieu tackled quite a few sensitive topics, including homosexuality, sex, and even touched lightly on other disorders. Real life issues that our teens face today. This story really makes you think. You can’t always believe what you hear, no matter how drama-filled and laughable it seems. And it doesn’t matter your social status at school or who your friends are… once rumors get started, they are very difficult to put an end to. Experiencing the affect they have on the victim will rip your heart out. Not hearing Alice’s voice until the bitter end really made the torture even worse. Hearing how much it affected her through the voice of others was sad… but hearing it from her personally was so much worse. "How much did it hurt? It was like a million paper cuts on my heart." This is one of those books that I think every teenager could benefit from reading. It’s a tough one to swallow, that’s for sure. I was mad at what these teens were doing and saying, yet I completely believed in the story and knew that this kind of stuff exists in our world currently. It’s sad, but it’s true.
Take_Me_AwayPH More than 1 year ago
When I got this off my shelf, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I knew it was about bullying, but this emotional ride that came along with it, I was not expecting it at all. The Truth About Alice had me hooked from the very beginning.       The thing that had me hooked about this story was the emotion behind it. I was so upset about the teens and the way they treated each other that I had to put down the book a few times. I wanted to be their mothers and yell at them for being so freaking cruel. And the fact that they did it so freely. Like  most of them didn't even stop to think. It just came out. Like word vomit. And although they were only teens, I hated them a little more each time they let a little more out.      As for the characters, each of the most important ones had their own chapter. As the story goes on, it's obvious that Alice is involved in so many of these things, but it's also clear that the reason why is because the other teens have a grudge against her. But it was all about petty things. They basically ruined this girl's life because someone else read her diary, you were jealous of her, and you didn't want to let the world know your darkest secret. As I read, I prayed that this story didn't end the way I thought it was going to.      As for the writing style, I really liked it. I didn't realize it was a debut until after I finished reading it. And that was only because I wanted to add something else by her to my TBR pile. In other words, I clearly couldn't tell that it was a debut. Especially with all the different POV's going on. She made it flow and then as for me the reader she definitely made it easy to follow. But when I saw that person's at the end, I got a little afraid. I did NOT want that one thing to happen. Slut shaming never ends well.       This is another novel that I would include in English classes. Just to help the teens there know what slut shaming does to people and cruelty is not the answer to things. Hopefully they will pull some of the same emotions from this that I did. I just hope that teens use this as a proper teaching tool      This book was filled with a raw emotion that I wasn't expecting. It captured me from the very beginning. But even though I was so drawn in, I had to close the book for a minute and vent out loud for a little bit because I got so upset. I really liked everything about this book and I hope that schools across the nation use it to teach from.
Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! I received an advance reader edition of this book from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review. 4.5 Stars! I ended up reading this entire book in the course of one day. It is a short book but it really tells a powerful story. I found myself really feeling for Alice and wanted everyone to know the real truth about Alice. Even though I am much older than the probably target audience of older teens, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This book is told from multiple points of view. This worked well for me by actually adding layers to the story that I do not think would have been present with a single narrator. The reader learns Alice’s story from the popular girl, Elaine, Alice’s best friend, Kelsie, Brandon’s best friend, Josh, and the school nerd, Kurt. Alice’s point of view only appears at the very end of the book and I actually found her voice to the least powerful. Each of the narrators had a part in Alice’s fall from popularity. Alice is a popular girl in a small town until the rumors start. The rumor spread that she had sex with two boys in one night at a party. Before Alice can recover from that rumor, one of those boys dies in a car accident which is also blamed on Alice. Soon, nobody want to be around or talk to Alice except for Kurt, the school nerd. The characters were well developed although a bit stereotypical. The book illustrated quite well how a single lie can grow out of control. One lie stacked with other lies can result in devastation for the target. I would recommend this book. This book does deal with some difficult subjects so it would probably be best for older teens and beyond. Younger audiences may not be ready for some of the issues in this book. I think that the author, Jennifer Mathieu, did a fantastic job with this novel. I do plan to read future works by this debut author.