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review 2017-11-29 11:53
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
The Truth About Alice - Jennifer Mathieu

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.





* Read for the 2017 Anti-Bully Readathon week: November 13th-19th




High schooler Alice Franklin is being targeted & blamed for the death of fellow student and star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons. Through the technique of alternating POVs, author Jennifer Mathieu gives the reader multiple perspectives of that one fateful night when Fitzsimmons was killed in a car crash after leaving a party at the house of popular girl Elaine O'Shea.


Four important characters step forward and tell their version of events: Elaine O'Shea, party host; Josh Waverly, in the car with Brandon when it crashed; Kurt Morelli, Brandon's next door neighbor who's just a little bit infatuated with Alice; Kelsie Sanders, former best friend of Alice who has recently ditched her (basically) to try to win a place in the clique of popular peoples. Then there's Alice herself who has some choice words for her rebuttal. 


  • >> Elaine: Still ticked at Alice over guy drama from forever ago, enraged all over again when Elaine's on / off guy Brandon starts paying attention to Alice. Immediately after Brandon's death, has no problem feeding into the slut-shaming of Alice, spreading it around. Also, Elaine claims "Alice sounds like a total grandma name" anyway... Okay, I see you, ELAINE
  • >> Kelsie: Admits to generally being a follower rather than an original kind of person, so she pretty much throws her friend under the bus to gain points with the cool kids, also fueled by old beef with Alice! Uses drama of Alice to hide her own secrets she doesn't want surfacing. 
  • >> Josh: Claims that Alice was blowing up Brandon's phone while Brandon & Josh were in the car and that's what ended up causing the crash... also, Josh may have some confusing homoerotic feelings about Brandon he doesn't want others to pick up on?
  • >> Kurt: genius level nerd, orphaned, living with grandmother next door to Brandon's house... just a bit in love with Alice but too shy to admit it... being one who understands what it feels like to be socially ostracized, Kurt turns out to be the ONE person who gives Alice the benefit of a doubt and still treats her like a human. Brains and Heart in this guy! 


"Oh Kurt, I love it. But I didn't get you anything. You're helping me. I should have bought you something. You gave me a first edition of The Outsiders and all I gave you was one of my mom's shitty beers." (Alice)


"It's okay.. This beer isn't so shitty."     :-)


So, in this small town of Healy, Texas you can imagine how it doesn't take long for the rumors -- starting with the one about Alice having a three way at Elaine's party, one of the rumored participants being the Healy's beloved football star, Brandon -- to quickly spiral out of control. The adults themselves, who you'd think ought to know better, get in on the dirt flinging on this poor girl's rep!


Now, when I say "poor girl", Alice doesn't have a snowy white record to begin with... she'll tell you herself what all she actually had a hand in... and some of it is solidly poor choices that end up hurting people... but deserving of the mess she's eventually swirled up in herself? Not so sure it's a fair distribution of karma here. Former bestie Kelsie, the one time she decides to be a leader, uses her new found boldness to write defamatory remarks about Alice on bathroom stalls, which encourages other girls to jump in and get competitive with just how viciously they can talk about a girl they barely know. 


I was not at all impressed with Kelsie in the beginning, my reader mind pretty quickly deeming her the petty weakling who needed to find her backbone already. While that opinion stayed with me in some form til the story's close, I did end up cutting her a TINY bit of slack after she reveals some of the darker portions of her backstory and her motives for turning on Alice. While her actions are still disappointing, to say the least, she at least finds a point where she has the classic "I'm becoming what I hate" realization. As she puts it, "All this just to sit at the good table in cafeteria." I know, right?! 


While the plot itself was not the most riveting for me (I personally prefer The S Word by Chelsea Pitcher), I do applaud Mathieu for at least illustrating the high school experience in a relatively realistic way. So often I come across YA books that sound absolutely nothing like my HS days, leaving me to wonder, "Seriously? Is this what it's like now? I remember a little melodrama but daaaang." At least here I found characters that did remind me of people I grew up with -- I knew girls like Kelsie, and certainly Elaine, and I most definitely recall the jocks talking smack over cans of Natty Light like Josh & Brandon do here! I also liked how the characters, in their own time, little by little, come to the realization that their anger towards Alice, their bullying of her, is likely just a projection of pain elsewhere in their lives. Pretty profound for teens to realize that, as I come across adults daily who aren't on that level of awareness yet, and I'm glad to see it written in this novel so that YA readers everywhere can ponder on that idea themselves. 



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review 2016-07-17 03:18
The Truth About Alice - Jennifer Mathieu

I'm glad I read this. And I recommend it. But in the long run, I'm not sure it's a book that will stick with me.


In my opinion, Kurt's chapters were the best. He spent the most time with Alice, he knew her, and thus his chapters were the most complex and...I don't know, interesting. As for the other characters, I finished unsatisfied with their stories. Elaine kind of turned things around, tried to make amends. Even if it was too little, too late she tried, and I appreciated that. But Kelsie? Josh? They never apologized for their actions. I wanted more from Kelsie. And I wanted more from Josh as well.


The main thing I didn't like is that there's so much unresolved! Kelsie's family situation/aftermath of her abortion was unresolved. The romantic feelings Josh had for Brandon (or maybe I've just been reading too much m/m and reading too much into it, lol) were only slightly hinted at. It is mentioned that Elaine and her mother both have some body image issues-what ever became of that? Did Kelsie apologize? Did Josh? The only thing resolved is Alice and Kurt's relationship. Ugh, I want more!!! MORE!!!


I would've liked to see things from Alice's perspective. We hear all this stuff about her and we don't even get to see her side of the story. But maybe that's the point? Hmm...


Here's the thing though: I hated what happened to Alice. I hated the slut-shaming, the rumors, the bullying. But I didn't feel as strong of an emotional connection as I would've liked.


Tl;dr version- it's good and I do recommend it, but I don't have strong feelings about it.

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review 2015-04-15 16:42
The Truth About Alice - Jennifer Mathieu

 I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book for my honest review.

    This book was WOW.  That is the only word I could think of  when writing this review. Eye-opening and riveting. I thought this book was well written and powerful. This book exposes the aftermath of lies, gossip and bullying. Powerful book and a wonderful read.  There are several reasons I think this book is so good.
    First, the different perspectives. This story is told by four different people and you get to explore there reasoning and get to know each one of them giving the story more depth.
  Second, the realism of this book. I felt like I was in this school, we have all been there. Hearing the rumors about one class mate or another. Never knowing the real story and getting swept up in all the talk. This book makes you remember the cliques in high school and perspective from all sides.
Third, Alice herself, she stays silent in most of the book. Just going about her life or what is left of it as the rumors fly and name calling ensues. We do hear her story and the last chapter is moving and wonderful.
 Lastly, I was shocked to find out this is Jennifer Mathieu first book so powerful and well written. I am looking forward to see what else se writes. I love finding new authors to read and this author now has a fan for life. 
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review 2015-03-31 07:58
The Truths from the Others Point of Views
The Truth About Alice - Jennifer Mathieu

Title: The Truth About Alice

Author: Jennifer Mathieu

Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont

Publication Date: Jun 1st 2014

Page Numbers: 149 pages


A riveting YA novel about beauty, youth and the terrible power of malicious words. There are a lot of rumours about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether they’re true. It all started at a party when Alice supposedly was with two guys in one night. But when one of those guys died in a car crash, the rumours exploded into serious allegations that his death was Alice’s fault.

Now the one friend Alice has in her suffocating small town may be the only other person who knows the truth – but he’s too afraid to admit it. 


What I Thought (I reviewed it in Bahasa Indonesia)

Alice Franklin is a slut

Itulah yg dipercaya oleh seluruh murid di Healy High dan juga para orangtua di kota kecil Healy. Alice telah tidur dengan dua orang sekaligus, Brandon Fitzsimmons, sang quarterback terbaik sekolah sekaligus atlet terbaik yg dimiliki Healy dan Tommy Cray, mahasiswa tingkat dua, di pesta Elaine O'Dea, cewek terpopuler sekolah sekaligus pacar putus-nyambung Brandon. Bahkan sahabatnya, Kelsie Sanders, memutuskan hubungan dengan Alice. Beberapa minggu kemudian, Brandon tewas dalam kecelakaan mobil. Menurut Josh Waverly yg saat itu ada di kursi penumpang, Brandon teralihkan konsentrasinya karena ia menerima SMS yg tidak senonoh dari Alice ketika sedang menyetir. Alhasil, cap buruk yg melekat pada Alice bertambah satu lagi: pembunuh! 

Namun, apakah yg terjadi memang seperti itu?

Kisah yg mudah diprediksi endingnya. Tapi yg membuat buku ini unik, semua penceritaan tentang Alice tidak berasal dari sudut pandang orang pertama atau tidak dari POV Alice. Kita diajak melihat perspektif Elaine, Kelsie, Josh dan Kurt Morelli (genius nerd yg naksir berat sama Alice) terhadap rumor-rumor yg terjadi seputar Alice. Dan tentu saja, di balik semua prasangka terhadap Alice, ada rahasia yg lebih besar lagi yg disimpan masing-masing orang. 

Buat gw sih, yg paling biking shock adalah rahasia Kelsie dan Josh!

(spoiler show)

Buat gw, buku ini cukup menggambarkan hiruk pikuknya kehidupan remaja kota kecil di Amerika. Dan tetap saja, teenager sex masih jadi isu hangat sampai kapan pun, dengan segala resikonya (meski gw masih agak gak sreg dengan anggapan: It was one thing to be a girl who'd had sex. But it was something else entirely to be girl who'd had sex with two guys in one night (yep, yep, I'm an old fashioned, actually). 

This is a good book, even for a parent. Read the Kelsie's part, and you will know what I mean :)


Opening Lines

I, Elaine O’Dea, am going to tell you two definite, absolute, indisputable truths


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text 2015-02-01 00:20
January Challenge Books Read
The Queen of Hearts - Wilkie Collins
The Family from One End Street: And Some of Their Adventures - Eve Garnett
Further Adventures of the Family from One End Street. Written and illustrated by Eve Garnett (Puffin Books. no. PS 201.) - Eve Garnett
The Eye Of Love - Margery Sharp
The End Of Her Honeymoon - Marie Belloc Lowndes
The Truth About Alice - Jennifer Mathieu
Death in the Fog - Mignon G. Eberhart,M.K. Lorens

I'm doing three challenges this year (links at the end of the post).


This month's reads were wonderful. I enjoyed all of them and found two new authors that I've already read again (Eve Garnett and Mignon G. Eberhart) and one that I have two books ready to read (Margery Sharp).


Literary Birthday Challenge


Queen of Hearts - Wilkie Collins~ 1/11/15


Family From One End Street / Eve Garnett ~ 1/18/15


Further Adventures of the Family From One End Street / Eve Garnett ~ 1/26/15


Eye of Love / Margery Sharp ~ 1/30/15


Monthly Key Word Challenge (Last year I completed a book for each of the monthly key words. This year I'll do at least one, but I won't be challenging myself to do all the key words each month.)

Bad, Bird, End, Ever, Girl, Silence, Truth


End of Her Honeymoon / Marie Belloc Lowndes ~ 1/10/15


Truth About Alice / Jennifer Mathieu ~ 1/18/15


Family From One End Street / Eve Garnett ~ 1/18/15


Read-by-the-Month Challenge


Dark Garden (alternate title Death in the Fog) / Mignon G. Eberhart ~ 1/2/15








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