Thursday, November 27

Jennifer Mathieu - The Truth About Alice

“I do want to say that there is one thing I’ve learned about people: they don’t get that mean and nasty overnight. It’s not human nature. But if you give people enough time, eventually they’ll do the most heartbreaking stuff in the world.”

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.

I have to admit I was afraid I might not like The Truth About Alice. I'm sure most of us have encountered a book that had way too many POVs and after a time it became tiring to keep up with all of them. However I needn't had to worry. Jennifer Mathieu was able to create unique voices in an only 210 pages long novel, if I didn't know better I'd never guess this is her debut novel.

Alice's story is mostly told based on rumours and gossip by four not-so-trustworthy teenagers. We can find every high school stereotype here and we don't even have to search hard because they are the ones who tell us Alice's story as they see it. They are: Elaine, the most popular girl who thinks she's everyones fantasy, Kelsey, who thinks popularity is more important than loyalty, Josh, the most popular jock and lastly Kurt, the nerdy guy who's had a huge crush on Alice for years. 

I think the hardest thing an author has to overcome when writing about unlikable characters is to make us still accept them, or at least find their reasoning for why they are this way believable. While three of our main characters were terrible people I can still see where they came from and why they acted this way, or at least mostly. Jennifer Mathieu showed us all that nothing is what it seems like, under every stereotype there lies a unique personality and all of us have our reasons for acting the way we do.

We hear many things about Alice, and while we all have a very good idea about her by the end I was glad she got her own chapter and was able to tell us how she feels and what really happened to her. You could particularly see Alice as she walked down the street and feel how what happened affected her in a way that can't be undone. The ending might not have been as neat as some would desire but I personally think it was a perfect closure to this story.


Kurt was an adorable character who most of the time had no idea what to do to make things better for Alice but he did try, hard too. I loved his kind-hearted nature but I wouldn't say he became a new favorite character or anything like that.

“I’ve missed you, too,” I say. “And I’ve missed your vocabulary.” (Alice)
 “Tremendously?” he says, smiling.” (Kurt)

Elaine was a mean character but she wasn't the worst by far. As the story developed it became obvious that she didn't believe the rumours because she was sure they were true but because she wanted to believe them. To say the least Elaine's biggest problem was herself and I really hope she'll be able to work her issues out one day.

Finally a book where the most popular jock isn't idealized a least bit. Brandon wasn't only an ass but a selfish bastard too, and then we have Josh. I had huge hopes for him. He did some pretty nasty stuff and I hoped he'll tell the truth in the end and just simply be a good guy (Disney fan much? Nah.).

Kelsey was my most hated character by far, after all she'd been best friends with Alice. After a while I started to feel sorry for her, she chose popularity over her best friend and didn't even feel bad about it. She has no idea what she loses while her only care in the world is not to look bad in the popular clique's eyes. Positive thing about her is that she's fully aware of being a coward. 

“It’s like when we read The Diary of Anne Frank in seventh grade, and I had the sneaking suspicion that I would have been a Nazi back then because I wouldn’t have had the guts to be anything else. Because I would have been too scared to not go along with the majority. Like, I would have been a passive sort of Nazi, but I still would have been a Nazi."

I really liked Alice's character even though we had very little time to actually read from her POV. I can't recall an as strong characters as she was from all the books I've read. It's one thing to go against your enemy with your friends supporting you but it's completely another to thing to survive being an outcast in not just your high school but your whole town.

“How much did it hurt? It was like a million paper cuts on my heart.” 

Favorite character: -
Least favorite: Kelsey

The story idea: 4/5
The realization of the story: 5/5
The characters: 5/5
The cover: 4/5
Enjoy factor: 3/5


What is your favorite realistic fiction novel?
Have you read The Truth About Alice? Share your thoughts upon the characters with me!  


8 comments:

  1. Oh wow! This one looks amazing, doesn't it? The story and how it is told really intrigues me to be honest and I really like the idea that we don't get to see the main character's POV until the end because then the reader is always guessing and I love that hahaha
    Now that I think about it, I don't know what is my fav realistic fiction novel but I can say Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult was one that really made an impact and it was quite realistic. Most fiction novels end up not being exactly realistic due to whatever reasons (most of the time clichés and "perfect ending") but that doesn't mean they can be favourites. Does this make any sense? I hope LOL. Another one I love to the moon and back is Wonder by R. J. Palacio =)

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    1. It was definitely amazing! Yes, I love when I have to guess what actually happened and I think this was a slow but stable way to get to know Alice because we got pieces of truth too. I heard many great things about Jodi Picoult but I've yet to read anything by her. I totally understand what you're saying, most fiction books aren't realistic and even when a book is categorized as realistic fiction it can end up being a little over the top. I haven't heard about Wonder before but I will check it out. :)

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  2. I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH!! I think it's amazing and powerful and I want more people to read it. I loved how Jennifer Mathieu handled the subject of bullying. And the switching POVs was so well-written! (I was very worried about that too). I just loved how realistic and genuine and honest this book was in portraying high school. And even if I didn't care for a few of the characters, I didn't mind because they weren't exactly meant to be reliable and likable. They were just realistic, but they had depth to their characters, which I loved. But seriously, though, Kelsey was just AWFUL. I could understand her need for popularity, but I still didn't like her. Lastly, I was actually a *little* disappointed with that ending. I think I wanted more from Alice's POV. My heart broke for her and all that she went through, but that ending made me so happy.

    Wow, totally didn't mean to talk your ear off about this. Lol, I just love this book so much. Lovely review, Veronika!! :)

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    1. I wish this would be more popular than it is because it is totally realistic and shows that people have more layers than we think when first meeting with them. It's impressive that in a little more than 200 pages Jennifer Mathieu created four, or if we count Alice five well-made characters. A little more in the end would have been good but as I said I liked it this way. What I really wanted from Alice's POV was to feel what she must have felt and I think that happened.

      No problem at all. I love long comments. :)
      Thank you, Holly! :)

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  3. While I like reading realistic fiction from time to time, I tend to avoid the angsty, teenagery genre. (With the exception of Katie McGarry) but this one actually seems kinda promising. The way you explained it, it sort of reminds me of 13 Reasons Why, where we learned more and more about the despicable deeds the other kids did through the course of the story. I had issues with that book, too, but the pacing was pretty good. I just might pick up this one, especially since you praise it! It's always nice to have others test it out before I read them. =P

    Lovely review!

    Brittany @ http://www.spacebetweenthespines.com/

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    1. It really is a bit like Thirteen Reasons Why, the atmosphere I mean because the characters were really different. It's a powerful read which more people should read. I really hope you'll end up loving this as much as I did.

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  4. THIS BOOK SEEMS INTERESTING! I've heard about this, but I never really knew what it's about. Awesome review! I really like the concept because I feel that a lot of high school students can relate to it, especially with the spreading of rumors and stuff. I'm a little doubtful with reading it (even if I STILL want to) because it seems like a sad story, and sad stories can sometimes affect me lol. Would you still recommend it? :)

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    1. Thank you! :)
      I think it had some sad parts but I was never really sad while reading it because everything those guys said about Alice just made me so ANGRY. Anger and sadness didn't really go together so I'd say it's more of an angsty read even though some parts were sad. Yes, I totally recommend it, it's a really powerful and realistic story which should be read by many more people.

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