Monday, 12 January 2015

Review: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Title: The Truth About Alice
Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Cover Artist: Elizabeth H. Clark
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: 1st June 2014
Genre: YA Contemporary
Page Count: 199
Original Language: English
Format Read: Hardcover 
Other books in series: N/A
Movie Adaptation: N/A

Where you can buy it: AmazonThe Book Depository, EbayBarnes and Noble

I bought this book whilst out with Kendal and I paid about £11 for it in hardback, but its safe to say that I wish I'd bought those other two books that would have cost the same. It wasn't all bad, but it wasn't all good, either.


Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at a party. 

But did you know Alice was sexting Brandon when he crashed his car?

It's true. Ask anybody.

Rumour 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 rumours start to spiral out of control.

In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students - the girl who had 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. 

The first page:

*Spoiler Alert - this review does not assume you are familiar with the story's ending*

Reading this book made me quite angry. The novel is centred around the theme of bullying, and since I have a lot of previous experience, I personally didn't feel as though it was true to real life.

In fact, it resembled one of those vile scenes in cheesy American movies where someone gets bullied in high school and is made into the joke of the movie. And they don't do anything serious about it, but everything turns out alright in the end. I'm just not into that kind of portrayal of such sensitive issues.

The bullying I experienced wasn't anything like what poor Alice had to go through. My main point here is that you don't take that kind of bullying lying down, and yet Alice did, and she turned out fine. No emotional scars... nothing. There wasn't even anything that I could read between the lines and think 'okay yeah, she's secretly been affected by this'. She wasn't!

Reading this book felt like an insult to anyone that has been bullied in the past or is currently being bullied. Additionally, like I mentioned, there was virtually no character development. Some of the characters ended up being rendered pointless. I felt as though I was only reading it to hear Alice's side of the story, because its obvious from the start that's the only side that matters.

I read this quite a while ago, and so my only positive note says "Kurt was fantastic". Make of that what you will... I was obviously quite passionate about him when I was reading the book. He may have been the only character with a point? Who knows.

To be honest, although it sounds like I have a very negative view of this book, and I agreed with all of the negative reviews on Goodreads, I do remember having very conflicted feelings about it. It was such an important issue that needs to be addressed more in Literature, and I was really hoping for it to be good. I was glued to it for the two hours it took me to read it all. I'm still waiting for a novel that doesn't treat bullying like a pathway into comedic writing.

Overall, I was impressed by some features of this book, but I wasn't a big fan. There was an important story to be told, but this version just didn't cut it for me. I gave it 2/5 cups of tea, because I managed to read it in one sitting, so something must have been attracting me to it.

About the author:

Jennifer Mathieu is a young adult author and English teacher who lives in Texas with her family. A native of the East Coast and a former journalist, she enjoys writing contemporary young adult fiction and could live on pepperoni pizza. 

Where to find Jennifer Mathieu: Website, Blog, Twitter  

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