The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Posted 2015-01-25 by Catherine Van Bergenfollow

Everybody has to deal with the rumour mill at some point in their life- some may be the instigators, some may be the victims, and some may be just the cogs that spin the wheel. If you’re the victim, dealing with the rumours will probably be your most difficult task, but if you’re in high school, live in a small country town and the rumours are outright malicious, it can be downright impossible.

This is the case for Alice Franklin, a once popular student at Healy High, whose life is turned around after a night out at a party. When rumours start circulating that Alice allegedly slept with two guys on the same night, she finds herself on the outer fringes of school society. Not only are all the other kids ignoring her, but adults who have also heard the claims are starting to treat her differently too. It doesn’t help that Alice’s single mother is often absent from her life and that she already has something of a reputation for being a wild child. What makes the rumour doubly difficult to bear is that one of the guys that Alice is rumoured to have slept with is Healy’s best ever quarterback, and all-time popular guy Brandon Fitzsimmons. He’s the one who started this particular rumour and everyone believes him, simply because of who he is. Alice’s reputation is in tatters, and everyone is keen to add their part, some acting from jealousy and some just wanting to keep their place in the popularity circle.

When, a couple of weeks later, Brandon is killed in a car accident, the rumour mill again spills into overdrive, with Alice once again at its centre. Not only is Alice the slut that slept with two guys in one night, but she is also the one who allegedly sent Brandon multiple text messages while he was driving, distracting him so much that he lost control of his car and crashed. Forget the fact that he had alcohol in his system, and that he shouldn’t have been texting and driving- Brandon was Healy High’s hero who could do no wrong and now he was dead! And it was all Alice’s fault! Suddenly Alice’s high school shunning has become a public display of wrath in the small town, with everyone blaming her for Brandon’s death. Alice begins an obvious withdrawal, and all because truth has become a matter of opinion…

This novel shows just how cruel rumours, and in fact, teenagers, can be. Told from the point of view of several characters, the reader learns exactly what is truth and what is fiction- and some may be surprised by what they find. Aside from malicious gossip, overt bullying and falsities, Alice also has to deal with a small town which becomes suffocating in its condemnation of her. Readers really feel for her, and can’t help but wonder how the whole situation will play out. This is a fantastically written debut novel, which makes you question the reality of truth, lies, popularity and reputation, and proves that there is often more to the story than meets the eye…

Rating: 4/5
Published: June 2014


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