The Truth About Alice Review

Friday, 2 March 2018



By: Jennifer Mathieu 
Rating: 4/5
Source: Netgalley

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.

The Truth About Alice follows the story of a girl who becomes a social outcast when rumours about her sex life start circling. It’s the classic, guy who beds a dozen girls is a stud and amazing but a girl who gets into bed with a dozen guys (or is rumoured to) is a slut with daddy issues and more diseases than is humanly possible. To reference the spiritual text of teens everywhere, Mean Girls, there was a scene in it about girls are so quick to turn on one another and call each other sluts, or worse, and this is what happens in The Truth About Alice. 

The story is told by four characters, each the embodiment of a high school cliche. Kurt, the genius who prefers the company of books to people. Kelsie, the girl who comes from a super religious home and just wants to be popular. Elaine, the girl who is actually popular and incredibly narcissistic. Josh, the jock who radiates homoerotic sub text. I love split narrative stories because you get to hear different perspectives and voices telling the same story. 

One issue I did have with the book was that I didn't like or connect to any of the storytellers. Kurt was quite creepy in his observations of Alice (though he does redeem himself later), Kelsie is the sort of 'friend' who gives me trust issues, Elaine was just awful and narcissistic and even though Josh didn't com across particularly offensive, he was the biggest hypocrite.

Actual passage from Josh's inner monologue, while everyone is segregating Alice. "We’ve been reading a book about the olden days when this lady supposedly did it with some guy and they weren’t married and she had his baby, and that was a huge deal back then. So she had to wear a red letter A on her dress all the time. Kind of messed up, I guess."

Normally for me it's the characters that drive a story, but the writing was so strong that I managed to get through the narration and I did still enjoy reading The Truth About Alice. I was really passionate about the plot and even though we didn't get to have an Alice chapter until later in the book, I felt I could trust her and she probably was the only character I really liked. 

One of the most infuriating aspects to the story was how Alice was blamed for Brandon's death. It baffles me that a girl can be called a killer for sending dirty texts to a guy who is driving. If you text someone, even if you know they are driving, it was their choice to ignore road safety, the same as choosing to drive drunk. Jennifer Mathieu highlights these important aspects of teen life and makes us angry about the for a reason, anger fuels passion and passion fuels change. 

There isn't a neat ending but this is such an important story all the same, and the story is very much the focus, rather than achieving an equilibrium. Maybe that's more true to real life but I was expecting some kind of redemption considering Alice was considered popular before all of this happened, I feel like the truth should have come out, not that I think anyone would have apologised or begged for forgiveness, it just would have been for closure. 

This led me to being initially frustrated when the book ended, because I felt like it was so sudden. In hindsight it wasn’t sudden at all. The book is titled The Truth About Alice, we learn the truth about her mid way through, then the rest of the book is answering the other questions like what happed to Brandon, what is the terrible thing that happened to Kelsie and why does Elaine keep going to weight watchers?

Like with Moxie, another utterly fantastic book by Jennifer, this is the sort of book that young people should read to help make sure things like this happen less and hopefully one day, not at all. 

Thanks for reading!

2 comments

  1. I have never heard about this book but stumbled across your blog post on twitter and now I feel like I need to fight The Beast from The East and get a book shop ASAP and read it!!

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    Replies
    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! xx

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