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The Truth About Alice, Book Review 

Author: Jennifer Mathieu

Published: June 2014, Roaring Brook Press

In the tradition of Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher – this book gives a scarily true representation of a teenage world and the seemingly terrible horrors that can transpire within it.

Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party.

But did you know Alice was sexting Brandon when he crashed his car?

It’s true. Ask ANYBODY.

Rumor has it that Alice Franklin is a slut. It’s written all over the bathroom stall at Healy High for everyone to see. And after star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car accident, the rumors start to spiral out of control.

In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students—the girl who has the infamous party, the car accident survivor, the former best friend, and the boy next door—tell all they know.

But exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there’s only one person to ask: Alice herself.

We’ve all been there – high school. It’s not the greatest place in the world for all of us. For some, it can be an easy ride, but for others it can turn into hell in a heartbeat. Alice is one of those others. She seemingly had it all – looks, popularity, friends, grades. But after one fateful summer party, the rumours start. And Alice is at the centre of them all.

TruthAboutAliceThis book is so simple at a first glance – and I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s easy to read and it flows and it’s not at all hard to get into. From the very beginning you just want to know what happened to Alice: did she really do it, why are people saying all these things? And from four different points of view, everything slowly starts to unravel, the story takes shape and becomes so much more complex that you ever would have thought.

The characters are all very relatable. Even though I was never a popular American teenage girl, I can still see where Elaine is coming from, her reputation on the line if she doesn’t ditch Alice immediately, and her anger at the rumours themselves. Josh is also part of that popular world, best friends with the star quarter back, he seemed to have it all planned out, until Alice came along and ruined it. Kurt sits comfortably on the other side of the fence, no friends, but content in not having to translate life for the stupid masses, and this gives him a different view of Alice, too. And then there’s poor Kelsey, the former best friend of the now infamous Alice Franklin, who slowly divulges why she left Alice for dead (socially). Between the four of them, we find out what Alice did. Or do we?

This is an emotionally charged journey, in which Alice finds herself in the midst of a tremendous and ugly rumour mill. Teenagers can be really cruel, but sometimes, they’re only doing it to protect themselves, and sometimes, they’re even extremely kind. Finding out why is half the fun of this story. This book has a really interesting view point, and explores what happens when a rumour starts and can’t be stopped. Recommended to fans of contemporary YA fiction.

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