Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Get it: Amazon | B&N
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.
The Truth about Alice shows an important moral about not being so quick to judge and gives us insight in how rumors and lies can be taken too far. It also shows the importance in kindness, friendship and forgiveness.
The unique thing about The Truth about Alice is not knowing who Alice was or what the truth was directly from her. We get to know Alice through the eyes of other students in her high school who knew her on a friendship or acquaintance basis. The book was split between four perspectives: popular girl Elaine, former outcast and best friend to the book’s namesake, Kelsie, football star Josh, and last but not least, shy genius Kurt. All had a role to play in Alice’s downfall and at least one person stuck by her side.
I thought too many perspectives would get confusing or even tiresome, but I actually thought it was a wise and clever idea. I got to see how these characters saw Alice and what they really thought of her. Jennifer Mathieu did an excellent job of making sure each character had a distinct voice so we can set them apart from one another. All four characters had different personalities and opinions and I loved that I didn’t have to know whose head I was in.
I’m going to start with my least favorite character: Kelsie. To be quite honest, I loathe her. She was the worst best friend or even friend ever. It was obvious she was jealous of Alice’s popularity and experience, but she completely abandoned Alice because of one little tiny insignificant lie. Kelsie abandoned Alice, whether those rumors were true or not, to keep her social status. To make sure her popularity was still in tack. The more I was in her head, the more I disliked her with every page. She was disgusting. I just thought Kelsie was extremely selfish.
Josh and Elaine were kind of mildly the same in how they both felt slight guilty about Alice, but they were still obviously pretty bad. Elaine was the lesser of two evils. She was the typical popular girl, conceited, and so full of herself. She wasn’t a bad person per se, but she sure didn’t set a good example either. I say she’s the lesser of the two evils even though she instigated and didn’t do anything to debunk the rumors, she still redeemed herself in the end because she looked at the bigger picture. Josh on the other hand, was almost as bad as Kelsie. He wasn’t horrible or even a bad guy. He was a good friend towards Brandon and even had some nice memories about Alice, but his selfishness reared its ugly head. And I believe Josh may have been a catalyst to the night of the party and other things. He felt sorry for Alice and he certainly felt guilt, but he did nothing about it and that’s where my disappointment stayed.
Kurt was the best character. He had his own selfish reasons for helping Alice, but he was nice to Alice even when she wasn’t pleasant. He was cute and awkward and shy and I liked that he got out of his shell to approach her. He took his chances and he saw something in Alice that no one else saw. And out of the four, he had the strongest, clearest and most intelligent voice. I adored him.
I cannot say whether the rumors of Alice were true, you’ll just have to read for yourself. I just love that Mathieu created an original book like this. She kept me riveted and slowly trickled down the information about Alice and what really happened through every single chapter in the eyes of each character. It was great build up. She didn’t give a happy ending, she just gave a realistic, believable one. Mathieu made Alice imperfect allowing the reader to form our own opinions about her and to judge her too while reading along. But in the end, Mathieu leaves an important message about not believing everything you hear and not being so quick to judge a person despite past faults.