Monday, May 26, 2014
Book Review: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
Info about author: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Age group: YA
Pages: 208 (hardcover)
Pre-order the book: Amazon - Book Depository
Description (from Goodreads):
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.
After Alice allegedly sleeps with two guys in one night, her life changes. Rumors start to spread about the school, and though she was no saint before the party, now the words "Alice Franklin is a slut" are on everyone's lips. When Brandon, one of the boys she slept with according to the rumors dies, the fault suddenly is placed on her. She loses her friends, her social life, her dignity... all because of what other people say she did.
The story is narrated by Elaine, a super popular girl who used to have an on-off relationship with Brandon; Josh, a football player and Brandon's best friend; Kelsie, a former "nerd" and Alice's ex-best friend; and Kurt, a shy and smart guy who might know something that could help Alice. These four individuals from different levels of high school social hierarchy tell the story of what happened with Alice, what she allegedly did and what their relationship with her was before and after the event.
The use of multiple narrators really gives a thorough look into the situation and the spread of rumors. Mathieu manages to create four different, very distinctive voices that work well - Elaine manages to be as annoying as the popular girl usually is, but there's also humanity found these from under all of that popularity; Josh is grief stricken and slightly confused about his feelings; Kelsie, to be honest, is bit of bitch, but I guess you can kind of understand from where she's coming from; and Kurt's intelligence comes clear from his voice, and I think I found his segments the most enjoyable to read.
I found the Texas setting of the novel interesting - the book discusses the dynamics of small town and what goes on in there, especially among the young people. There's some discussion about religious beliefs there was well, which I usually don't really enjoy, but in this one I feel like it worked due to the setting. For some reason I kind of felt like something like this could happen in an episode of Friday Night Lights (TEXAS FOREVER!!)
The Truth About Alice was a fast, fairly enjoyable read! The way it is narrated is quite unique (at least I had not come across a book quite like this before) and though the religious talk within it kind of threw me off at first, I got past it quick and focused on the other aspects of the story.