Review: The Truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Posted May 23, 2018 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments

Review: The Truth about Alice by Jennifer MathieuTitle: The Truth About Alice
Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books (Hachette Children's Group)
Publication Date: March 8, 2018
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
four-half-stars

From the author of Zoella Book Club book MOXIE comes a startling book about stereotypes, slut shaming and the battle for popularity.

Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party.But did you know Alice was sexting Brandon when he crashed his car?It's true. Ask ANYBODY.

Rumour has it that Alice Franklin is a slut. It's written all over the 'slut stall' in the girls' bathroom at Healy High for everyone to see. And after star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car accident, the rumours start to spiral out of control.

In this remarkable novel, four Healy High students - the party girl, the car accident survivor, the ex best friend and the boy next door - tell all they know.

But exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there's only one person to ask: Alice herself.

'Should be required reading for anyone in high school' Bustle

Review: I loved Jennifer Mathieu’s UK debut, Moxie, last year so was pleased to see her debut novel, The Truth About Alice being published in the UK. Alice has a lot of rumours circulating about her; starting with how she slept with two guys at a party and send suggestive texts to one of them while he drove leading to a fatal car accident.

What was really interesting about this book was in spite of the title, we don’t hear from Alice until the very end. Instead the story is mostly told by third parties; classmates, acquaintances, the car crash survivor. I thought this worked effectively as the story progressed and we not learnt more about Alice and the people telling the story. There were several characters whose stories became more central to this but in a traditional third perspective narrative this may have been less obvious or more easily lost, or worse still become didactic.

Throughout the book, the reader begins to question the narrative they are being presented with and what they are being told about Alice. Cleverly Mathieu ends up actually developing and learning about Alice through the lies in the same way as if this was meant to be a more traditional narrative. The entire book is about challenging the narrative and challenging preconceptions about people. We’ve all potentially judged someone unfairly and perhaps even contributed to that insidious side of society that shames women for any sign of sensuality or sexuality, or conversely the purported lack of it. Navigating this and simultaneously finding and hopefully claiming your own identity is a central part of many teenage girls and young women’s experiences.

The Truth About Alice shows the way a single rumour spirals until it is out of control. It also shows the way people can cruelly catch on to this sort of bullying and make it snowball further.

Mathieu writes contemporary YA really well and explores feminism and the challenges of being a teenage girl really authentically. I look forward to seeing what Mathieu writes next.

four-half-stars

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