Title: The Truth About Alice
Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Pub. Date: June 3rd 2014
Source: Netgalley & Roaring Brook Press
Alice Franklin is a slut, and everyone knows it. The whole town has heard about how she slept with two guys at the same party. The rumors only get worse when quarterback and king of the school Brandon dies in a car accident, and Alice's dirty text messages are to blame. Everyone knows a snippet of truth, but each character has a reason to keep Alice as the school's laughing stock.
This is one of those times where I feel like I didn't read the same book as everyone else did. This book does address some very serious issues, but I personally don't feel this book did them justice in how they were dealt with.
First, I'm not really sure who this book's target audience is. It's set in high school, but the cattiness and maturity of some of the characters seems more like junior high school, even though "adult" topics like abortion are discussed and the language leans towards mature.
I also didn't feel the different POVs worked here. I understand why the author broke it up that way, but for me, three out of the five POVs blended together. The popular boy, the popular girl, and the newly popular girl all sound the same. Kurt (the nerd) was the only one who seemed to be written differently. He was also my favorite character. And Alice only has one chapter, so there's not much to go on one way or the other there. I found the language a bit odd too. No one in my high school said "freaky deaky" or so many "like so totally"s. Not to mention the text speak.
Kelsie was my least favorite, and is horrible & knows it. My biggest issues with her were not even her cutthroat approaches to becoming popular. Her reasoning for why she's mad at Alice is SO trivial, and Kelsie's revenge is soooo not equal. I'm glad that Alice calls her on it, but it still irritated me. I also found her big, dramatic secret rather anticlimactic, and thought it was cleaned up a bit too easily.
I also found issues with the rumors themselves. Rumors are often, of course, ridiculous. But let's say Alice really was texting Brandon and is a big slut- why would she still be blamed for his accident? He was the one drinking. He was driving. He texted while drunkenly driving. How does that equate to Alice's fault? Even if she was the biggest whore in Texas (and who cares?) it still wouldn't cause his crash unless she was actively trying to mount him. Elaine, the popular, addresses this silently, but it's never addressed out loud. I also didn't like that the janitor gave up cleaning the graffiti. What the hell? I'm also a bit surprised that in a small town like this one, no rumor came and knocked this one from attention within a school year.
I'm not really sure what the point of this book was, other than rumors are usually untrue (which is in the word's definition) and that people are assholes. I went to high school. I am aware of that fact without having read this book. Oh, and be careful who you trust.
This book got two stars from me because while I didn't care for most of the characters, or their various dramas, I did enjoy the Alice/Kurt plot line, and it helped me to get through the rest. I also DID want to finish the book because of these ranting feelings, which I suppose means it's not all bad. It wasn't badly written, I just didn't seem to "get" it. It's also a fairly quick read, so there's no harm in reading it to form an opinion for yourself; I'm not mad that I bothered to take the time to read it. Thanks to Netgalley and Roaring Brook Press for my copy in exchange for my honest review.