Book 10: The Truth About Alice

TITLE: The Truth About Alice
AUTHOR: Jennifer Mathieu
STARTED: May 3, 2017
FINISHED: May 9, 2017
PAGES: 201
GENRE: Young Adult

FIRST SENTENCE: I, Elaine O'Dea, am going to tell you two definite, absolute, indisputable truths.

SUMMARY: [From BN] Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party. When Healy High star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car crash, it was because he was sexting with Alice. Ask anybody. Rumor has it Alice Franklin is a slut. It's written all over the "slut stall" in the girls' bathroom: "Alice had sex in exchange for math test answers" and "Alice got an abortion last semester." After Brandon dies, the rumors start to spiral out of control. In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students tell all they "know" about Alice--and in doing so reveal their own secrets and motivations, painting a raw look at the realities of teen life. But in this novel from Jennifer Mathieu, exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there's only one person to ask: Alice herself.

THOUGHTS: I thought this book would make me cranky. Whenever it comes to reading about slut-shaming, I get angry and righteous. This book did make me cranky but only a little. Throughout the books, I mainly felt compassion and empathy for the characters and the events in their lives. I have to give kudos to Mathieu for right such a well-done book about a touchy subject.

Each chapter in this book takes a different characters' point-of-view. Throughout the story, their thoughts and opinions about various events unfold and overlap. This structure works well to show how our experiences are not always the same as others. It also helps to show how personal bias colors our views and actions. It terms of teaching teenagers to think twice before they act or spread a rumor, I have to give Mathieu an A+.

The only thing that kept me from loving this book is that it leans too heavily on stereotypes. The jock is popular, the nerd is ignored, etc. While I get that this is often the way of things, this book was too nuanced for such writing.

RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]