The Truth About Alice
by Jennifer Mathieu
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.
*I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher through Netgalley.*
For a debut novel, this book was pretty impressive. In fact, it was a lot better than some of the books I've read by established authors. The entire book was written from the POVs of several different characters, each who had their own secret reason for treating Alice the way they did. Most of those reasons were childish and hurtful and absolutely messed up, but it was all absolutely believable because of people.
The writing style was perfect for the story line. Each new chapter from a different POV gave more insight into each character and why they would go out of their way to hurt Alice. The characters all had their own personality and voice and the writing never fell flat. Most of the time I wanted to just reach into the book and strangle them all (except for Kurt) and then take Alice out for ice cream.
This was a beautiful book about how jealousy and ego can turn (mostly) good people into hateful versions of themselves, and how the crowd mentality can cause a snowball effect that is impossible to stop.
It reminded me of a scene in the movie Doubt, where the priest tells a story of a woman who empties a feather pillow off of a rooftop. The feathers fly everywhere across the town and it is impossible to find every feather or put them back in the pillow. And then the priest says, "that is gossip".
Exactly like in the movie, once the gossip starts it can't be undone and poor Alice is left friendless and shamed in a small town where she always felt safe before. It wasn't all depressing, though, and there was a definite sense of hope and the feeling that friendship can heal anything.
I'd definitely recommend this one!