The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu | Book Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu | Book ReviewThe Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
Also by this author: Moxie
Published by Macmillan on 2014-06-03
Genres: Adolescence, Bullying, Dating & Sex, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 208
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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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.

Jennifer Mathieu’s The Truth About Alice is a book predicated on a rather intense concept. It’s a young adult book where the rumors fly in a small Texas town and title character Alice Franklin, a girl with a penchant for pencil skirts, is at the center of these rumors. The truth is irrelevant to the juicy bits of gossip that have spread like wildfire.

The Truth About Alice is told from four different points of view – each offering a different perspective about Alice. You see, rumor has it that she did the deed with two different guys in the same night. To make matters worse, one of the guys dies in a car accident because he was allegedly looking at racy texts from Alice. We pretty much see the hard road that Alice walks from pretty much every perspective but her own.

Josh, the football player, views Alice from a lens of jealousy over what he perceives as Alice receiving too much attention from Brandon, the football player who she hooked up with and who later died in the car accident. Really, not to get all spoilers on you but it’s pretty obvious where Josh’s motivations regarding Alice and the rumors surrounding her come from. Hint: think about why he’s jealous regarding Brandon. I don’t know, I didn’t love Josh as a character.

Elaine, the queen bee, also looks at Alice from a lens of jealousy. She has always had a thing for Brandon and the two have been on again and off again for a really long time. And like, in the eighth grade Alice kissed Brandon at a dance, so rationally, Elaine is not happy about this rumor. She does what she can to make Alice’s life awful. She’s very much the shaming type. Pretty much this girl was almost the worst.

Honestly, though, if we are talking about people who are the literal worst, it would be a travesty to not bring up Kelsie. Kelsie is a transplant to Texas from Michigan, I think. Anyways, she was really shy and studious in Michigan. In Texas, though, she runs with the popular crowd which is all her wildest dreams come true. So, anyways, she skips the party this happened at because she was really sick and so then she hears the rumors. Instead of having her friend’s back, because Alice is her like best friend at this point, she just goes along with rumors and distances herself from Alice. She is kind of vicious. This girl disappoints me the most because she wants to be in the in-crowd so bad that she sells her friend up the river. Sorry, not at all a fan of that.

Rounding out the points of view is Kurt. Basically, Kurt is a nerd who takes on tutoring Alice in math, I think. Anyways, he has this major crush on Alice. You think he’s going to be different and wonderful, but no, he ends up objectifying her too. Like, I get it, that’s what people do is objectify each other, but eh. I don’t know. I wasn’t a huge fan.

For me, the reason I don’t love this book lies in the fact that I never felt super connected to any of the characters. I like what The Truth About Alice attempts to do and that’s filter out the experience of what happens to Alice through the lens of everyone except Alice. It’s a cool creative decision to be sure, but for me, the book never quite develops the characters to really get “there” enough. Do you know what I mean? I just didn’t think it went full stop. I mean, yes, there’s great things about this book, but overall, I was never 100% won over and on board. I thought it was good for a surface level book, but I wanted deeper.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Yeah, this book is definitely not for me. I would get too frustrated, especially if all the characters are just jerks. Ugh, no thank you.

    Thanks for the review, though, April.

    • Hah, well one character isn’t a terrible human being but like he has a crush on Alice and there are moments where he objectifies her, which okay he’s a teen boy but still. No one for me to gel with as far as the narrating characters go.

  2. Hmm. You’re one of the only reviews I’ve read that wasn’t super in love with this book. I actually liked that. I haven’t read this book yet, but I liked your review because of it’s honesty. Thank you for that. It’s actually nice to have someone who didn’t like it. I don’t know if that makes sense, but I don’t like when everyone is happy with a book.

    • It’s a bit odd to be the black sheep, usually I am among the people that really like things that everyone else is into.

      I know what you mean — it seems like a dissatisfied review legitimizes the other good reviews.

  3. I think the author definitely took a risk in using these different points of view to tell Alice’s story! It was kind of cool that it was unique among many contemporaries I’ve read, but like you, I just didn’t feel connected at all to any character or this story.

    • Right, it’s a pretty big risk and I think that stylistically, it was a really good choice and seems to pay off. I also liked how different it was. However, you’re right, that connection just wasn’t there. Personally, I need that connection to enjoy a story.