Mathieu, Jennifer. 2014. The Truth About Alice. New York: Roaring Brook Press.
Rating 4 stars
(review in Indonesian, click here)
(review in Indonesian, click here)
I received this book via NetGalley, it is expected to be published in June 2014.
“But mostly I just go through every day and I do what people expect of me.”-Josh
Alice Franklin, the main character in this book, has a good reputation in her school. But, one bad rumor in a small town can cause a long different story. Alice is known as a slut/ho/whore because Brandon Fitzsimmons says he slept with Alice in Elaine O’Dea’s party, and at the same night same party, Tommy Cray did it too. Alice is then known as a killer when Brandon Fitzsimmons is dead over a car crash because he’s sexting with Alice while driving. Alice’s days are not the same anymore since Brandon died, remembering this guy was the most popular guy in town. Rumor after rumor don’t stop after that. People don’t care if the rumors are true or not, they just believe it right away, because it’s easy to believe a rumor when everyone seems to talk about it and agreed on it. When really, the ones who know the truth are Alice and a few people who choose to not say it.
“I know I sound like the worst person on Earth. I’m totally owning that.” –Kelsie
This is a perfect contemporary novel by Jennifer Mathieu. She skillfully presents a realistic fiction like nobody’s business. It’s just perfect, I’m telling you! And this is her debut! Say whaaat?! I love love love how it is written because the writing is so different and complex, where actually it could ends up in disaster, but Mathieu is so talented to knit all the stuff in this book together and everything just works. I’m impressed, seriously.
This book is built from five first-person point of views. Yes, five. These five people are teenagers from the lowest rank of popularity until the highest. They have their own ‘voices’ and styles that makes it easy for me to still attach with the story no matter how fast the point-of-views changing are. And all the characters are also well developed. I’m in awe. It’s just...
But, reading this novel doesn’t actually give me joy or even excitement, quite opposite actually. The Truth About Alice gives a clear and total frank picture on how teenagers can do horrible things easily to another teenagers, not physically, but hey. Isn’t a scar in our heart is more painful and not that easy to be forgotten than the physical scar? And worse, they know what they’re doing is wrong but still doing it anyway. Most of time, they don’t have reasons to their action, they just do it in the sake ‘just because’. That’s teenager for you (in this book anyway). Irritating, yes?
This story’s set is in a small Texas town, Healy, where everybody knows each other AND everybody knows each other business, or at least they think they know. The illustration in living in a small town in Healy is kind of frustrating. It shows how fast a rumor can goes around and hurts people gradually. And The Truth About Alice gets more bitter and depressing when the parents characters in this story are not in any shape to be an example. I think everyone will find this book talks about as much reality as it can. And it’s not entirely a fun fact, but still you need to know.
“It’s weird how things can just get out of control sometimes. And it’s weird how, like, when it’s your job to be a popular bitch you just feel compelled to keep doing it sometimes.” –Elaine
The Truth About Alice should be read by everyone. Maybe we’re already knew everything about how rumor can ruin a person, or how bad bullying is, but this book materialized all of that in honest words you possibly won’t see in another similar books. This book is a raw picture of people we know/knew or, furthermore, people we are/have been. Read it carefully and you’ll find yourself looking back to check your ownself. This is one of a few books that I couldn’t put down before I finished it. Gripping and very recommended!
“Lastly, unlike my fellow citizens, I have the ability to recognize that Healy is simply an extremely small place called the United States, and that the United States is itself also just a small place in the middle of an even larger place called the world, and that makes much of what is discussed in and around Healy inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.” -Kurt