Review: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

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 The Truth About Alice from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Everyone in town — even the parents have heard the rumors — knows that Alice slept with Tommy Cray and Brandon Fitzsimmons in one night at a party and that Brandon died in a car accident because Alice wouldn’t stop texting him. Everyone knows, so it must be true, right?

On the surface, the characters are stereotypes — Elaine’s the popular bitch (in her own words), Kurt’s the school nerd, Josh is the football star who was in the car with Brandon, Alice is the slut, and Kelsie…Kelsie is one of the worst best friends ever, abandoning Alice just as everyone else turns against her. Kelsie is the most disgusting character in the book. She’s the one who should be standing by Alice, but she doesn’t. She’s too scared of turning into the outcast she was back in her old town of Flint, Michigan, before she moved to Healy, Texas. She’s afraid Alice’s sluttiness will rub off on her own reputation and she’s jealous, too. Jealous because even before she was a known slut, Alice was popular with boys and Kelsie was just that loser from Flint inside.

These four characters — Elaine, Kurt, Josh, and Kelsie, tell the story, each from their own perspective. Some have more information about what really happened than others, and as the the pieces finally get put together, you get the complete picture. I’ve read (and/or DNFed) several books this year that had more than two points of view. The Truth About Alice works better than any of the others. Each of the characters has more depth than their stereotype, and I found myself interested in what all of them, not just one or two, had to say. I didn’t like them all, but I was interested.

But because there was only one chapter from her point of view, I never really felt like I got to know Alice that well. There’s a little more insight into her in Kurt’s chapters, as he’s the only character in the entire book who spends any time with her in the present, and in Kelsie’s because she knew her better than the others, but I would have liked to have been in Alice’s head along with the others. Although little is said directly to her (or if it is, it’s not mentioned), Alice endures indirect bullying for the whole school year. It would have been easy for Alice, with her single mother’s attention elsewhere, to skip school, but she gets up every day and goes, knowing that there will be new additions to the Slut Stall and that each day will be just as hard as the day before.

The Truth About Alice isn’t very long, but Mathieu packs a lot of story into those pages. It’s unfortunate that books like this need to be written, but Alice certainly isn’t alone in what she experiences. There are too many high school students — and people both older and younger, as well, who will be able to relate to Alice.

3 1/2 stars



  1. I agree that there are too many students who can relate to students or bullying like this.

    I have been seeing this around the blogosphere for a while and this is the first review I have read. Like you, I would be dubious about readint a books with so many pov’s but I am glad it worked out well for you:)

    Thanks for sharing & great review! 🙂 xxx

    Alex @ The Shelf Diaries
    Alex 🙂 recently posted…May Wrap-up: A Tale of Quality Over QuantityMy Profile

  2. Stephanie says:

    I just finished this book and really enjoyed it.

    I’m with you on too many POVs. I read a book a few months ago with 12! 4 of them were just for a single chapter but still, 8 was way too many and I nearly DNF’d because there was really just one POV I cared about.


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