Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Publisher: Roaring Book Press, 208 pages
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley
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.
What an excellent book. To be honest, I was surprised by how much I liked it. The book begins with the story of Alice and Brandon. Brandon's the most popular guy in school, the star quarterback in a small Texas town (population 3,000). The story is that Alice slept with both Brandon and another guy at a party (the other guy is in college). At school, people slowly start excluding her from things. Then Brandon is killed in a car accident and it's apparently because Alice was sending him inappropriate texts. That's when Alice is completely shut out and even more rumors surface. The book is told through four different POVS: Elaine, the most popular girl in school; Kelsie, Alice's best friend; Josh, Brandon's best friend; and Kurt, the weirdest, smartest guy in school. The voices are distinct and even without the chapter headings telling me who was writing it, I still would have known. I thought it was actually quite brilliant that the story is told from everyone's POV except for Alice's (we finally get Alice's POV in the last chapter).
My heart broke for Alice. Living in a small town where everyone knows everyone's business, there was no way for her to get away from this. Even her best friend dumps her. She goes from being pretty popular to having absolutely no friends. At all. Everywhere she goes people talk about her, there's a Slut Stall, where people write horrible things in black sharpie. But amazingly, after reading from their POVs, there really isn't anyone to hate. They're terribly flawed, but so real. The characters were so well-developed that even when I disliked them for being hypocritical and mean, I could still understand them and why they did what they did (even Kelsie, who I wanted to smack in the face). My favorite perspective was Kurt's, and I loved how his friendship with Alice developed over the course of the book.
The Truth About Alice is an emotional, powerful, compelling, and relatable book that every teenager (actually, everyone) should read.
Posted by: Pam