Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review: The Truth About Alice

The Truth About AliceThe Truth About Alice
Jennifer Mathieu
YA contemporary

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.

While The Truth About Alice isn't perfect, it's got so much going for it it still tops my recent 'to-recommend's. The story isn't a new one- girl is completely socially destroyed by rumors about her. However, this was the first book I read on the subject (that I can remember) that deals EXCLUSIVELY with that one storyline. While that might sound like a drawback to you, I'll explain soon why I liked it for that. 

TaA is very short and reads very quickly, partly because the relatively small chapters are narrated by four different students in Healy High. With these different POVs you see the kids' various motives for keeping up the rumors and ostrasizing Alice. In the background you have a lot of dynamic material like Josh obviously being gay, Kelsie traumatized from her past, Alice's mom basically deserting her and the like and yet these things aren't elaborated on much. I liked that because it underlined that everyone has a backstory- but it doesn't justify horrible actions. It also added depth to the characters without getting off-topic and made me really intrigued by them. 

Another thing I liked was the relatability of the students- they were all very flawed people. I figure every high school reader will be able to relate on some level to one of them- socially akward, shallow, slow, bent under peer pressure, etc.. Ironically, the character in which I saw the most development was Elaine, the shallow, has-it-all popular girl. That made for a nice unexpected twist and a break off the cliche(:

I will acknowledge one little thing that I saw also bothered others around the blogosphere. The Truth About Alice is a really touching story but it doesn't have any sort of climax or conclusion. There's a bit of a build up and you feel a little like there's going to be some sort of message in the end- but it never came. On the other hand, I felt the book was kinda unique because it didn't have that - it was like, here, this is what happened to Alice. Make of it what you will. It was very realistic in this way. The story ended with things looking up a bit, not to worry(: 

As you can see, I'm still caught up in a sea of tests. I'm still available on comments and Twitter, just will be reading and posting less. Thanks for understanding and keep up the feedback!

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