Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu: Review

The Truth About AliceTitle: The Truth About Alice
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.)


About right. 
Oh, how I adore and loathe books like this in equal measure. You know the ones, they are so amazing that you can't quite express or articulate all the reasons you loved them so much. So I adore it for all it's awesomeness and loathe it for how difficult it becomes to write a review showcasing said awesomeness. But, because I love you all, I will give it my best and try my hardest to not just gush nonsensical things at you. And... here we go!

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.

Agreed!
What really amazed me about this book was how it made me feel like I had come to know Alice most of all, even though I wasn't getting her point of view. I wasn't even getting Alice's truth, but I didn't need to get it to come to understand her as the author slowly but surely reveals more and more about Alice. I came to sympathise with Alice and came to love and admire her so much as a character. I found it astounding just how easily Mathieu was able to accomplish this when you never actually get to get Alice's narrative for, basically, the whole story. But Alice easily became one of my all time favourite characters and through all the other characters misconceptions of her you come to feel like you know her better than all of them.

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 think it also draws attention to the way that girls are being viewed by guys and the lack of respect that is sometimes found there. This book is very relevant in a time where we have things like #YesAllWomen trending on Twitter. This book, to me, did a perfect job of highlighting the differences in how men and women are viewed when it comes to sex. I think Jennifer Mathieu is unbelievably talented and I honestly can't believe this is a debut novel. Her next book is already up on Goodreads and doesn't even have any info to it at all yet but it instantly got added to my to-read shelf because I need more from this author. I can't describe how easily I fell in love with this book and the way the author writes her characters. I am hooked and I wish she had a hundred more books out that I could devour right away.

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.


5/5 Butterflies

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.

23 comments:

  1. I've been wanting to read this for a while, and it sounds amazing. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for it. Great review!

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  2. I've been tossing up whether or not to read this one because it's not something I'd usually read. I think I may just have to add it to my TBR list now. Thanks for the review :)

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    1. Well, it's a very quick read so even if you don't enjoy it then it won't take up too much of your time. It's amazing though ;)

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  3. Well, this si great! It's always wonderful when you sit there looking for a bad point and there isn't any, it really makes you feel like you found THE perfect book, so well done, and I'm glad you enjoyed it, it should be helping you out of your slump, yipeeee! :D Great review hunny, you express your feelings more than well :)

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    1. It was such an amazing book and a really quick read as well! The perfect book to get me out of my reading slump.

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  4. I have to read this now! Thank you for the stunning review. :)

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  5. I just saw another review for this same book and you both felt very simliar about it so now I know I MUST read this one.

    Wonderful review! And I agree, sometimes it is actually harder writing a review for a book you love than it is for those you didn't. You always worry about making sure everyone knows how wonderful it was without sounding like a crazy fangirl (or at least that is what I always worry about). ;)

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    1. It's AMAZING!!!

      I know, I panic that I won't adequately express how amazing it is or I will just sound like a totally crazy fangirl. Haha, which I totally am ;)

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  6. I love your review. I also take note of the way our teens are talking to one another, seeing it daily in the halls of school. I also see how my younger brother and his girlfriend interact and talk to one another, and it bugs me a lot. Why take the effort to be so ugly? But as you said, they each have their own motives.

    I am also adding this to my TBR and must-buy shelves on Goodreads.

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    1. Yes, this book was actually really fascinating and I felt it was a really accurate portrayal of how a lot of teens act. I loved it, hope you do too :)

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  7. I have heard so many good things about this book. For the longest time I was on the fence for this one, but now I think I am taking a step in the direction that I should check this one out! Thank you so much for your honest review!

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    1. I definitely recommend it, a really amazing read :)

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  8. I've heard so many great things about this book and now I'm dying to read it!

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    1. I hope you love, it if and when you do :)

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  9. It seems that every new blog I find has a raving review about this book. Looks like I'm definitely going to have to read it this summer!

    Following on bloglovin :)

    --Katie at The Pop Cultist

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    1. It won't let me delete the comment :/ but I'm a dork and got my own link wrong.

      The Pop Cultist

      Oops!

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    2. That's okay, I have totally done that before. I highly recommend it! :)

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  10. I'm so glad you loved this one! I agree, it was a great book and so well done. I thought it was brilliant how the author told Alice's story through everyone but Alice, and I agree, I felt like I got to know her through them, which was such a unique way to tell the story. And yes, the author did a great job highlighting the differences between guys and girls when it comes to sex, the slut shaming (no one cared about the guys doing this of course). Great review! ~Pam

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    1. I found it amazing just how much I came to know Alice more than all the other characters, especially when I was only getting their stories. I just think it's because it's so obvious that they are wrong about her and you come to really feel for Alice.

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  11. It's funny I've never heard of it before - Thank you for your review I'm defiantly going to read it after all my examinations are over! Following you on Bloglovin' - Have a great day and stuff! xx

    Cindy | mazedays.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks so much! I definitely recommend it, it's a brilliant read! :)

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