Briefly: Told from the points of view of four teens, then Alice herself, this story is about how jealousy, anger, bitterness and, perhaps, a little truth can make a rumor grow out of control. Of course, everyone knows that Alice is a slut. Football star Brandon Fitzsimmons and Tommy Cray, a former Healy High student, did it with her the same night. And worst of all? It is Alice’s fault that two weeks after Homecoming, Brandon was killed in a car accident. Everyone knows that, too.
Elaine O’Dea: Queen Bee at Healy High and sometime-girlfriend of Brandon. Mom has her count Weight Watchers points. Had the summer party where the Alice thing happened.
Kelsie Sanders: nobody when in Flint, Michigan; popular now in Healy, Texas. Former best friend to Alice. Has a secret about Tommy Cray that she has told NO ONE. She won’t go back to being unpopular.
Josh Waverly: Brandon’s best friend who was the only other passenger when Brandon was killed. He may be able to shine the light on the cause of the accident, but he can’t. He may have lied about something.
Kurt Morelli: Super smart, super unpopular. Hangs out alone. Lives with his grandmother ever since his parents were killed in an accident. Knows more than he’s saying.
Didja Like It?: I was so intrigued by the cover when I saw it online. If it’s a good one, it can really draw you to look deeper. Fortunately, what’s behind the cover is a story that surpasses what’s on the front. The reader hears from these different characters, piecing together the real story about Alice, what really happened both of those fateful days and why we don’t hear from Alice until the end. It is a fabulous look into why it is easier to go along with something than to set it straight.
Anything Else to Mention?: It seems amazing how, for teens, innuendo, scandal and supposition are more important than the truth. How distortion or outright fiction becomes the currency that saves your popularity or at least keeps you from being at the bottom of the heap. But for some kids, that’s all they have, that thin veneer that keeps others from seeing their problems, the “real” them, the hidden truth. They are the kings and queens of deflection, donning attitudes like armor. Is it almost wishful thinking on their part that high schoolers accept anything as fact? That if this or that rumor is true, then their problems are a little smaller?
Take a look at Twitter and you will see posts about “stop making up lies” or “girls aren’t hos” alternating with tweets questioning the virginal status of classmates (all subtweeted, of course, using no names) and entries about drugs, sex, and drinking next to quotes about how they just want a real relationship. And they don’t see the irony at all.
To Read or Not To Read: Yes, unquestionably.
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu was published June 3, 2014 by Roaring Brook Press. Ink and Page picked this book up from the library, and finished it in just about one sitting.
Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary
Ages: 13 and up
You Might Want to Know: Mature themes. Discussions of sex, underage drinking and drug use; profanity