Friday, February 21, 2014
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
Page #: 199
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Released: June 3, 2014
Source: ARC from the publisher
"Nothing interesting ever happens in the small town of Healy, Texas. Until the night that Alice Franklin allegedly has sex with two guys at a party. And suddenly, the writing is on the wall - written in permanent marker on a bathroom stall for all of Healy High to see. The rumors go from bad to worse when one of the guys that Alice allegedly has sex with, Brandon Fitzsimmons, dies in a horrible car accident, and everyone blames Alice. Four Healy High teens - the girl who had the infamous party, the car accident survivor, the former best friend, and the boy next door - give their sides of the story and we soon see how almost everyone has a motive to bring - and keep - Alice down.
First Lines: (quoted from the galley, subject to change)
"I, Elaine O'Dea, am going to tell you two definite, absolute, indisputable truths.
1. Alice Franklin slept with two guys in the very same night in a bed IN MY HOUSE this past summer, just before the start of junior year."
This is the story of a girl who is the victim of rumors and heresay. But there is much more to it than that. Alice is a popular, confident girl. One party and two guys change that forever.
The rumor is that Alice had sex with two guys in one night at a party. That's a rumor that you might recover from - even if it's true. But then one of those guys dies in a car crash - the star of the football team. In Texas. So she's not only the school pariah, she's also now become the town pariah.
This book is written from four different perspectives. The old friend of Alice, the best friend of the football player, the most popular girl who threw the party, and the local genius nerd who has a crush on Alice. While there is something crazy about the multiple perspectives, I really liked how it played out in this book. You don't actually have the perspective of the main character - Alice. It's sort of sweet the way all of the characters process what is going on. And, of course, since it's all about rumors, it seems logical that the reader not be let in on the truth - until the end, obviously.
There are several big life issues that are taken on in this story. The biggest and most obvious is bullying. While she's never physically bullied, she is constantly cut out and being talked about. There's even a stall in the girl's bathroom that has rumors all over it about her. I think it's an important distinction to realize that bullying doesn't have to be physical. And you can see Alice sort of wilt under the pressure of all the talk and speculation on her life. There's also a bit about peer pressure here, but what YA book doesn't deal with that. :)
Another issue that's huge is abortion issues. You can tell throughout the book that most of the families are religious - which is pretty on-point for Texas. And it couches the abortion stuff in that mindset. It just seemed really well handled as close to the truth as possible. Hopefully this will sort of open a few people's eyes to the way life is sometimes.
This little book really packs a punch. But it's done in a way that doesn't leave you exhausted. There are lots of things to chew on and I hope it will help some teens get through things they might be dealing with. I look forward to seeing what's next for this debut author.
Other Blog Reviews:
Review From Here
Interview with the Author