Published: June 3, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
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'll come out and say it: This is an ugly, ugly book. Of course, that is a mark of the book's success. I think if this book had been anything but ugly, it wouldn't have been successful. What happens in this book is not something that could happen in any high school in the US, it is something that does happen and Matheiu should be lauded with the care she has taken to write about it.
Multiple narrator books have sort of become the bane of my existence, but Mathieu succeeds in that arena. Each narrator has its own distinct voice and Mathieu is able to build up each character and still relate them back to the main storyline. She really mastered the teen vernacular--even though each voice was distinct, they all sounded like something a teen might say.
I found the pacing of the story to be effective--this isn't a long book, but it doesn't feel rushed like so many shorter books do. I did feel that Mathieu could have sharpened the passage of time a bit--it seemed like it was Christmas break and then--bam!--we're at summer. But, really, that is my only criticism of the book.
I think this is a very important--one that should be read by teens and adults alike. I do hope that The Truth About Alice is as widely read as it deserves to be.
I received an electronic copy of this book to read in return for an honest review. I received no other compensation for this post.