Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Buy This Book: Amazon / Book Depository
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. (Goodreads summary.)
This book is told from multiple perspectives, something that really helps with a story that's focusing on bullying, rumours and people's perceptions of others. Elaine is one of the most popular girls in her school and the party, where Alice slept with the two guys in one night, took place at her house. Her and Brandon had an off again on again relationship for a long time. Kelsie was Alice's best friend but didn't want to be hurt by Alice's reputation and hasn't really been talking to her since the rumours started. Josh was Brandon's best friend and in the car with him on the night he died. Then we have Kurt, one of the most unpopular boys at school, who's wickedly intelligent and has had a crush on Alice for the longest time. They each have their opinions on Alice and what she did the night of the party. We get to see their reasons for believing what they do and what role they had to play in all of it. I thought each character felt unique and had a very distinct voice and personality so it was easy to tell who was narrating each chapter, I never struggled to keep up with that aspect.
This book broke my heart a little because of how honest and true to a lot of teenage life it was. The things that are said about Alice and the way people talk about her is pretty disgusting, it's slut shaming at it's worst. But, the author is drawing attention to a serious issue and something that many people don't even realise that they do... a lot. If I use public transport and a bunch of school kids get on I kind of lose all hope in humanity. The things they come out with and say about each other is kind of disturbing, I'm only twenty-two but it makes me feel so old as I think: it wasn't that bad when I was young!. I think books like this are important as they really show just how hurtful those types of comments can be and how easily one thing can escalate.
|IT'S A TRAP! *I hear Sheldon Cooper EVERY time!|
I was racking my brains for the longest time, trying to remember any problem I had with the book. The simple answer is that there wasn't one. I thought each character perspective felt individualistic and I never confused the characters. I felt the author did a fantastic job of slowly letting you come to know Alice as a character through the other characters feelings, opinions and misconceptions of her. Alice was such a superbly written character, she's very complex and I liked how you slowly come to know her better throughout the novel.
Jennifer Mathieu just got added to my favourite authors list. I don't care that this is her debut, that's what makes it so incredible and gets her added to the list so easily. If she had twenty books out then I would have ordered them in one go and binge read them, this woman is one to watch. This book blew me away, broke my heart and then slowly rebuilt it. It made me feel like I came to know Alice so much, even though you're getting four perspectives, none of them being Alice. She drew attention to the serious problem of slut shaming, something that I think is getting worse in younger generations. I am going to be ordering myself the hardback of this so that it can sit proudly on my favourites shelf.
*I received a copy of this novel from the author/publisher/publicist via Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest review and received no monetary compensation for this review.