Book Review: The Truth About Alice (Jennifer Mathieu)

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books

Pages: 336

Release Date: March 8th 2018

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

Rumour has it that Alice Franklin is a slut. It’s written all over the ‘slut stall’ in the girls’ bathroom at Healy High for everyone to see. And after star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car accident, the rumours start to spiral out of control.

In this remarkable novel, four Healy High students – the party girl, the car accident survivor, the ex 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.

Review:

This was a really interesting book told from several different points of view. Everyone at school has an opinion about Alice and what a slut she is, but no one asks Alice what the truth is. Each of the narrators knows a rumour about Alice that isn’t true, but none of them will admit it to everyone else, so the rumours around Alice grow out of control.

The other characters in the book are just as stereotyped as Alice: the popular girl, the jock, the nerd and they all have their own secrets to hide, as well as their truths about Alice. I loved the way each of them started out sounding every bit the high school clique but the more you read, the more they become real, 3D characters and not cliches.

The split narrative worked really well in this book. It felt like a character study rather than a plot-driven story, with each person revealing a little more of themselves and Alice each time. They all had distinct voices and I loved the different perspective each one brought.

This book showed the reasons behind everyone’s lies and how that led to rumours and often cruel treatment of Alice. Although there’s definitely malice from some, others are just trying to fit in or cover up their own secrets. While that doesn’t excuse their behaviour, it humanises them and adds depths to this story.

I’ve been reading a lot of books on feminism and treatment of women lately and this was another that really set me thinking. I think it is essential reading for teenagers and will definitely be recommending it to everyone I can.