The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
(Description nicked from B&N.com.)
“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.”
Oh look, another book about teen sex and the rumors that spiral out of control among high school students. Yeah, I do read these sometimes—I get curious about how the situations common to any teenager’s life translate into stories over time. And this one was… okay. I did get interested in finding out the real story of Alice’s actions, so that drew me on through the novel. For the most part, though, much of the rest of the book was pretty typical of this kind of story.
You all know the tale: rumors start about what a girl supposedly did at a party/behind the bleachers/at the movies/etc. Friends turn on her, people make fun of her, her reputation goes down the toilet. Alice begins wearing baggy clothes and hiding from the crowds at lunch, and as you read on, you find out that several people know the real story but don’t speak up.
One thing I did like about this book was how it showed that there is some hope for someone caught in Alice’s position. How realistic an idea is this? I don’t know. But it is nice to see a novel that doesn’t take the usual “character on her way to tragedy” storyline and instead dares to show that not everyone thinks badly of her. It underlines the unfairness of high school’s social politics and explores how destructive rumors like this get started.
While I don’t think this book is a stand-out of the genre, The Truth About Alice is a good, solid novel about rumors and lies and their impact. I breezed through it pretty quickly and found a lot of things to hold my interest.