June 19, 2014

Latest Read: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

The Truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
Publication date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received ARC from publisher (Thanks!)
Summary: 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. (Adapted goodreads.com)


The good
The Truth About Alice is about Alice Franklin and the constant stream of rumors surrounding her. Rumors that not only her high school classmates know and spread but even the adults in town get in on it. So it’s fitting and I think a risky move on the author’s part to tell the Alice’s story from the perspectives of everyone but Alice. And by everyone I mean: popular girl Elaine who’s had it out for Alice for a while, popular football player Josh, the ex-best friend Kelsie who cares more about appearances than the truth and Kurt, the shy nerd and only kind person of the bunch. Even though this storytelling decision initially surprised me, I think ultimately it worked.

The rumors about Alice are crazy and rampant. She slept with two guys in one night, she had an abortion, her text messages distracted the super popular Brandon while he was driving and it’s her fault he died. Basically everyone is looking for a reason to blame her or hate her and boy, do they show it. They show it in ways that angered and flat-out appalled me. And I think that’s what I struggled with the most because Elaine, Kelsie, Josh and even Brandon who we only hear about - they’re not likable. Kelsie, Josh and Brandon are particularly horrible and I couldn’t dredge up any sympathy for them. But I felt like that was the point. There are small-minded, terrible people out there in the world. You hope they grow out of it eventually and change as they get older, but who knows? Maybe they never will and that’s reality. On the other hand, Elaine and Kurt were a mixed bag for me. I didn’t necessarily like them but I think of the perspectives, theirs showed the most growth and I’m glad at least some characters evolved.

(Some) reservations
I just had trouble connecting with this book. I understood (or at least, I felt like I did) the author’s reasons to writing it this way and what she was trying to show us but it’s just really hard for me if I don’t particularly like anyone. I always need at least one person or something to connect to and I couldn’t find it here.

Do I recommend?
It’s a dark and pretty gloomy book so I think you need to be in the right mood for it and maybe read something happy afterward. But if you’re up for the challenge and are intrigued, give it a shot.


Collaborative feature with Alexa! 

Were there a lot of rumors in your high school?
I went to an small (read: "exclusive") all-girls Catholic high school. There were cliques, cattiness, friends fighting constantly. So, you would think there would be a ton of rumors! But surprisingly, there weren't. I can only remember one involving one of the students and young male teacher. That's about it though and I have to say, I'm glad. Especially after reading a book like this - I'm glad no one at my school was that cruel. 

3 comments:

  1. I felt the same lack of connection. Was I supposed to feel sympathy for these assholes? I can't tell. I just wanted a more unique story about this subject matter and I got the same old :/

    ReplyDelete
  2. It definitely is dark and gloomy, not something I finished and was like, man I am smiling ear to ear. I thought it had a good message but was a bit cliche.

    Ashley @ The Quiet Concert

    ReplyDelete
  3. Honestly, this novel is really hard to read because the rumors are CRAZY! I didn't like any of the characters all that much, even Alice herself, who is the victim of all these rumors. But it was a very creative idea, in my opinion, to tell it this way.

    ReplyDelete