Title: The Truth About Alice
Author: Jennifer Mathieu ♥ @jenmathieu
June 3, 2014
Publisher: Roaring Book Press/ Macmillan
Genre(s): Young Adult ♥ Contemporary
Summary 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.
Average Goodreads Rating (as of 05/26/2013): 4.13
- Christina thought this title needed more heart and she had a disconnect from it somewhere. It goes on her third shelf. To find out why…
**SPECIAL NOTE:** An eARC of this title was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.
♥ Initial Thoughts and Rating: 2.5 stars! This book seemed to work for other readers more than it worked for me. While I really enjoyed certain aspects of this book, such as the multiple POVs who gave their perception of Alice and the rumors surrounding her, it was my overall disconnect with Alice, who the whole book centers around, that left this novel feeling a bit lackluster, in my opinion.
♥ The Lowdown: Everyone in this small Southern town has an opinion about Alice Franklin and the things she may or may not have done– slept with two boys in one night, got an abortion, was the reason star quarterback and Mr. Popular, Brandon, died in a car accident. Greatly affected by these rumors swirling all around her and all but being outrightly shunned from her community, Alice crawls further and further into her shell. However, we don’t get a firsthand account from Alice herself. Her story is delivered through the eyes of the people around her and all of them have an important role in her being ostracized. There’s former and current enemy and Miss Popularity, Elaine, football star and Brandon’s best friend, Josh, Alice’s former best friend and old outcast, Kelsie, and resident recluse and boy genius, Kurt. Not only are they almost determined on keeping her down, but they are each holding on to a secret that could help clear Alice’s name, but what would it cost them to reveal such information?
♥ My Thoughts: I’m not sure if I’m disappointed in the actual execution of this novel or if it simply didn’t live up to how much I had hyped it up in my mind. There were certain parts of the novel that if they had only been expanded on more, particularly the growth of the characters and more from Alice’s perspective, I might have enjoyed this a great deal better. Yet, it wasn’t, and so I can’t be satisfied with the story I was given.
One of the parts that made it easy to identify with this story so thoroughly is because I’m from a relatively small Southern town, myself, and I feel that the author really captured small-town living perfectly. We do know everyone and a vast majority of the people pride themselves on knowing everyone else’s business. Gossip comes second nature and the rumor mill is always in working order. I remember what high school was like for me and so many other girls, so it was easy to pick up on that part of this novel. It was believable because I had lived that life myself.
As for the characters, I really enjoyed getting into the heads of all these high school students and seeing how they manipulated events so that it showed Alice in a poorer light, and yet she was completely innocent. It was a good look into how people’s choices have a greater impact than we might expect in the moment, but I can’t see how that directly correlates into the overall story arc. Are we supposed to see just how big of an asshole people can be and nothing more? Perhaps if these characters had made strides to correct their mistakes and how they had wronged Alice, I would have had a greater appreciation for this story. However, as it stands now, there was no real growth for these characters. While they admitted to themselves that the position they took against Alice was wrong, they did nothing to better the situation. It left a really bad taste in my mouth and, more so, left this novel feeling incomplete.
But my biggest issue in this book was my inability to make a connection with Alice. While she’s the primary focus of the entire novel, we don’t actually get anything from her POV until the very end. Although I was able to dredge up some sympathy for the overall shittiness of her situation– because, hey, been there, done that– I wasn’t able to make a personal connection with her and how the events surrounding her made her feel. It was this lack of kinship with her and realizing her struggles through a firsthand account that made this novel seem so unfulfilling.
♥ Rec It? It’s a matter of personal taste, I think. I have good friends that have liked and disliked this novel in equal measure. It wasn’t my ideal story, but because of other readers’ love of it, I can’t say that it shouldn’t be recommended at all. Maybe this is one to pick up at the library.
♥ A very special thanks to Roaring Book Press and NetGalley for providing me with an early copy of this title in exchange for my honest thoughts.
Full of giggles, flails, snark and Southern endearments. Avid Reader. Lover of swoony boys, kickass heroines, yummy kissing scenes, and pretty prose.
I like to draw hearts in the sky (eternal optimist) and wish on stars (forever dreamer). Documentaries, sweet tea, sleep, and brightly colored knee-socks are a few of my favorite things. ♥
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