Monday, January 5, 2015

The Truth About Alice

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

As a heads up, this book is all about rumors. It's told from different perspectives and illustrates the personal motivations for why people may start them. It also delves into the back story of the people talking about the rumor, about Alice, and illustrates what slowly happens to her.

It's pretty freaking gripping.

An amazon summary, "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." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

The narration is split amongst four characters which lends for the story to be seen from all different sides. The individual voices lend a tone of truthful authenticity to the story, and collectively build the story of Alice.

Enter the four characters: Elaine, Kelsie, Josh, and Kurt.

Elaine, the girl who hosted the party. Is on/off romantically involved with one of the guys (Brandon - super popular dude) Alice allegedly slept with. The 'popular' girl. Elaine has a one hell of a grudge on Alice as she caught Brandon and Alice kissing at a middle school dance while Elaine was 'on' with Brandon.

Kelsie, before the rumors blew out of control, Kelsie was Alice's best friend. They had a lot of sleepovers together and shared a lot. Kelsie held a grudge against Alice for not sharing one of her secrets and has always tried to attain popularity.

Josh, was Brandon's best friend and in the car when the accident happened. The rumors about Alice sleeping with him and another dude happened a few weeks before the accident. The accident killed Brandon and left Josh injured. Josh alluded to Brandon's mother (under pressure) that Brandon had been texting with Alice when they were in the crash, adding an element of death to Alice's rumor.

Kurt, the genius of the school. Kurt has always admired and adored Alice from afar, but always was afraid to try to befriend her because she was so cool. After everyone in the school starts to shun Alice, Kurt offers to tutor her and slowly they become friends.

I've seen a lot of books try to create a story from different perspectives (while usually killing off a narrator) and I've yet to come across a book that does it as well as this one.

I also enjoy how the different narrators cast light on the different elements of the 'life' of a rumor. Who started it, what events lead to it, and why it persists as much as it does. It was a great, introspective outtake on high school life and how terrifying it can be.

This is a bit of a 'typical' high school drama, but it definitely feels like one of the more authentic ones that I've read. That being said...

[SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT] In the end, I enjoyed finally 'hearing' from Alice herself. It gave me a more complete sense of the story. I enjoyed everything leading up to it and how Kurt added a ring of truth to it, but it was refreshing to know the complete story as Alice tells it. Each character revealed more and more of the story and what they did based on personal reasons, but it was nice to know the 'truth' after so much was covered up by the lies surrounding the rumor.

Happy reading!

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