By: Celine | July 16, 2014 | (26) Comments

Review: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer MathieuThe Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: June 3rd, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Drama, YA
Source: Bought it
Goodreads | Purchase

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 is… something different. Never before have I encountered a book that takes such a close look at slut-shaming and rumours that may or may not be true.

The whole book is set up in an incredibly smart way. In sync with the actual plot, The Truth About Alice is a story told by many people with all their own opinions… Except Ailce. Oh, this is Alice’ story all right, but much like the rumours around town, Alice herself doesn’t have much of a say in it. Things happen to Alice, happen around Alice… But they never truly seem to happen because of Alice. It’s only in the very last chapter that we get to hear Alice speak, though the storyline is mostly resolved before Alice ever uttered a word.

What is this book about? Is this a story about a girl who slept with two guys at one party, after which one of them got killed in a car crash? Or is it a close examination of society today, which seems to accept slut-shaming as a fact of life and seems to depend too much on rumours? To me, it was the latter. The Truth About Alice is powerful, gritty and real.

It’s not just that, though. The Truth About Alice also contains a story. It’s the aftermath of things, a big mess, but slowly everything is coming together again. There is a romance to root for, as well as two sides of friendships: one friendship that seems to grow in an unlikely time and one that seems to fall apart. Though this story is about Alice, it’s told through the POVs of four different teens, whose lives and secrets we get to know as we go along. Everyone has problems, and we get to know those problems intimately. Even though the majority of the characters aren’t very nice people, you still find yourself feeling for them.

My one complaint is the ending. Though most characters ended up in what I think is the right place, a few things were left unresolved and that bugs me. How does the relationship between two certain people work out? Will that one character figure out about themselves what seemed so obvious to me? (Trying to avoid spoilers here). Still, it’s only a minor complaint, and on the whole I thought The Truth About Alice to be a complex and important story. I’d recommend it to everyone not because the story blew me away that much (it did not), but because I think it’s just such an important examination of slut-shaming and wrong expectations and many other things that come with life.

4 Stars
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Celine is 17 years old and from the Netherlands. Quite obviously, she loves books! She has been a reader for as long as she can remember, and she believes she will be a reader forever. Celine is also obsessed with food, and loves singing along to music as loud as possible, dancing and doodling on nearly everything.

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26 Responses to Review: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

  1. Veronika says:

    I’ve planned to read this for such a long time, maybe it’s time for me to finally give a chance to this book. What you wrote about it sounds so great! There are very few books wrote in that way what you just described, I’m so looking forward to this one!
    Great review. 🙂
    Veronika recently posted…Laini Taylor – Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2)My Profile

  2. I have read so many great things about this book. I think I have to read it sooner or later. 🙂
    Katja (@Eeyorenyk) recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #007My Profile

  3. I kind of want this but at the same time I’m kiiiind of scared. (Although I have it partly mashed up in my brain with Tease. No clue why!) But I’m going to try it. Sometime. 😉 Pity the ending wasn’t perfection, though. Ah, well, can’t have everything, right?! 😉
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Tutorial: How to put GIFs in Blogger postsMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      Well, I haven’t read Tease but the two are pretty different from what I’ve heard of it 🙂 And nope, we can’t have everything, though I wish we could 😛

  4. Excellent review Celine, you are so right, it was a very smart and thought provoking way of exploring the effects of bullying and I really liked that about it.
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Read Play Blog #1 – New books & gaming feature!My Profile

  5. I know a lot of people dislike reading about slut-shaming, but I think if we can have everything else that is harsh and horrible about reality in our books, then we can – and should – have that too. I initially overlooked this book, but I’ve been hearing a lot of good things lately, so I’m definitely curious about it now. Wonderful review, Celine!
    Sam @ Realm of Fiction recently posted…Review: Shimmer by Paula WestonMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      I do really dislike reading about slut-shaming when it’s not used to prove a point. Most books have the MC slut-shaming others and never touch upon how it’s not a good thing. However, when it’s used to show the harsh reality of life and the effects it can have, like in The Truth About Alice and 17 First Kisses, then I’m all for it 🙂

      I definitely thought this was good, and I hope you’ll give it a try! Thank you, Sam <33

      • Oh definitely agree with this. I think it should exist, but form part of an arc, and not just brushed aside. I think that’s where it can go wrong – if authors don’t illustrate that it’s negative, like they would with racism, sexism or anything else. 17 first kisses is another one I hope to try! Thanks Celine. 🙂
        Sam @ Realm of Fiction recently posted…Review: Shimmer by Paula WestonMy Profile

        • Celine says:

          I hope you enjoy 17 First Kisses! I know some people hated it, but I personally thought that was ultimately a story about friendship and family. There is slut-shaming in that book, but I felt it served a purpose 🙂

  6. I like how the story reflects reality in that Alice has little say in what is said about her. The Truth About Alice sounds like a thought-provoking book. I hadn’t been sure whether or not to read it, but your review has me hooked. Fantastic review, Celine!
    Kris @Imaginary Reads recently posted…Review: The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina LenoMy Profile

  7. Siiri says:

    Yeppers. I’ve heard that HOW it’s written is very interesting and gives a much higher value to the whole story. I’m so glad you enjoyed this so much, Celine! I love that it’s so powerful and truly speaks to people. Yeah? You didn’t feel like it had an excellent ending? Hmm. Will get to discuss with you once I’m done reading it. Hopefully soon 🙂 Great review, lovely!
    Siiri recently posted…Tour & Giveaway: Thrive by Krista & Becca RitchieMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      I definitely thought so! The way the author doesn’t let Alice herself speak until at the very end of the novel definitely reflected all the messages she decided to portray 🙂 Once you’re done reading, just tweet me or something and we shall discuss 😛 Curious what you’ll think of the ending!

      Thanks, Siiri <33

  8. Megan says:

    When I first saw this one, I wasn’t planning to read it, but now that it’s getting so many great reviews, I really want to!
    Megan recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday: Illusions of FateMy Profile

  9. Nara says:

    The style in which this story was told was definitely pretty unique! When I first heard about this book being told from five points of view, I was quite wary, to be honest. Wasn’t sure the author could pull it off well. She did a pretty decent job though, I think 🙂

    It’s definitely interesting how you can feel for the characters despite them being horrible people (although I have to admit overall, I didn’t really engage emotionally with any of the characters…) And the ending! It was such a short book- I feel like some points could have been expanded on, making a more satisfying read. Still, I do agree that overall, it was a very honest portrayal of slut-shaming and the effect it can have on others.
    Nara recently posted…Half Bad: Drowning in a Sea of FeelsMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      I definitely thought she did a decent job! I personally had no trouble telling everyone apart.

      And I see what you mean, because the only character I genuinely liked was Kurt 🙂 But I could still feel for the rest, despite everyhting. And yes, the book was pretty short (maybe a bit too short?) but I do think it made its message clear 🙂

  10. Great review! Not only does this book sound really good, but also important. I’m very eager to pick this one up and see how the story plays out. Thanks for the review!
    Alex from Electrifying Reviews recently posted…Future Favorites #167My Profile

  11. I can definitely see your issues with the ending. Way too many questions were left unanswered. I did really enjoy this one as well. Glad to see that despite the ending being rather sparse, you were still able to enjoy the story overall. Great review, Celine! 🙂
    Lisa @ Lost in Literature recently posted…Review: Beautiful Oblivion by Jamie McGuireMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      I was a bit disappointed with the amount of questions left unanswered, but overall I thought it was really good 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it as well!

      Thank you, Lisa <33

  12. I agree,I felt this was a powerful read, but I thought the ending was too abrupt and I wanted more from Alice, still I would recommend it for the bullying issue.
    Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings recently posted…Review:Talking After Midnight(Plum Orchard #3) by Dakota CassidyMy Profile

  13. I didn’t know that this was set out like that! I feel like all I’ve seen is just raving haha. I really do want to read this book now though! I think it’s something that I’d really enjoy. Amazing review Celine!
    Laura Plus Books recently posted…Author Interview: Italy & Shakespeare – Masquerade by Kylie FornasierMy Profile

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