Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party. But did you know Alice was sexting Brandon when he crashed his car? It's true. Ask ANYBODY... Rumor has it that Alice Franklin is a huge slut. It's written all over the bathroom stalls at her highschool. And after star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car accident, the rumors start to spiral out of control. Four student in Healy High tell in how they "know" it... the girl who has the infamous party, the car accident survivor, the former best friend, and the boy next door. But exactly what is the truth about Alice? 

I don't know what did me in with this novel... I don't know if it just came at the right time, or if it was the fact that in the last chapter of this book the song Wait by M83 started playing from my playlist, or if it was the fact that this book was what high school felt like for me almost to a point where it was scary... or if it was the fact that this book was a book that you didn't even realized touched you so much until you realized you were crying and didn't even know it.

The Truth About Alice is a simple novel. It's nothing over the top, it's nothing action packed with chase scenes or alien invasions; it's simplicity was what made it. I think this book was spot on about how high school really is. I know there are a lot of mixed reviews about this book, and maybe my rating is higher than others because this book touched a little closer to home for me than it might for others. Highschool for me wasn't "the time of my life" or the "best years of my life", high was hell for me. If it wasn't for my best friend I wouldn't have made it out. Because like it says so plainly in this book a lot of times highschool is about putting on this fake bitch persona and following a crowd even when you don't want to because it's just easier than being alone...

“It’s like when we read The Diary of Anne Frank in seventh grade, and I had the sneaking suspicion that I would have been a Nazi back then because I wouldn’t have had the guts to be anything else. Because I would have been too scared to not go along with the majority. Like, I would have been a passive sort of Nazi, but I still would have been a Nazi. I never said anything out loud, of course, but I remember reading that book in Ms. Peterson’s class and everyone was all, “Oh, I would’ve helped Anne. I would have rebelled. I don’t understand how people could have allowed this to happen, blah blah blah.” I mean, I know that everyone wants to believe they would have been the brave one, and they would have been the one to hide Anne in their attic, and they would have killed Hilter with their own bare hands. But clearly if everybody thinks that way and in reality only a few people actually did it way back then doesn't that make me the honest one?" 

And yes I like everyone else in the world was guilty of going along with a crowd instead of doing what was right. Who hasn't? But my high school experience was more like Alice's than any other point of view in this book. My quirky-ness was something that I had to learn the hard way would only be lame in high school and would one day be something that people actually liked. This book touched every emotion I remember having, all the ache, heartache, and pain I felt. Remembering people who were my friends, then gradually having them not like me because I wasn't what was considered cool... and Jennifer Mathieu says it perfectly, it hurts way worse to have someone slowly eliminate you from their life than it ever does to just have them drop you. I know she's right because I'm speaking from personal experience. Because it is like a million paper-cuts to your heart.

 This book was about hiding truths, hiding who you are, and about realizing that at the time you think highschool was everything and that it will define the rest of your life... and then it hitting you that it doesn't. That it's just high school. That the people or person who stood beside you through it all; the rumors, the torture, the lies, and saw who and what you really are, are the ones who will mean more to you than you do to yourself. 

The transition from character to character, the pov change, the time change all leading up to Alice's point was done in such a unique and interesting way. It gave this story layers that having one narrator could have never done.  Even though I hated one of the characters, Kelsie, in this story I think her sections were somehow my favorite. Probably because I had a friend (or two) just like her when I was in school and now it has me wondering what might have really been going on in their heads. Then Kurt and Alice's POVs would fall very close behind hers in how much I liked them. Most importantly though I think the true underlying thing that really hit was that rumors are just rumors and that you can overcome them and that if you have kids that you tell them this much. Not to feed into them, to stand up against them. 

"But if I do end up having a girl, there are so many things I'll do for her. So many things I swear I'll do for her. I'll never walk into her room without knocking. I won't fake emotions in front of her. I'll tell her she's special just because she's who she is. I won't act like I'm perfect. I won't scare her. I won't let her be scared of me. I won't tell her I know all the answers. I won't lie to her." 

And yes, my review for this book might be cheesy, but I don't care. The characters in this book felt real. The setting felt real. This book felt real. It might be a short and quick read and something you can chew in one sitting, but even that doesn't have me complaining. I guess there's really nothing else to say other than don't judge a book by it's cover or the "he said she said" about it. This coming of age story about over coming obstacles really stole my heart.
I'm really happy I read this book.

10/10 stars