The Truth About Alice

Purchased on the Kindle, for the Convent book group, because my library didn't have it. It should.

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu was published in 2014. It's an American high school story, which is a genre that usually bores me to tears, to be honest, but I whipped through this compact little novel in no time at all.

Everyone in the small town of Healy knows two facts about Alice Franklin: she slept with two boys in one night, and she killed Brandon Fitzsimmons by distracting him with sexy texts while he was driving. Except that neither of these facts is true. Mathieu cleverly tells us the story of how Alice is bullied, slut-shamed and ostracised, through the eyes of four characters: queen bee Elaine; Alice's former best friend, insecure Kelsie; Brandon's best friend Josh, who is hiding a secret of his own, even from himself; and school geek and social outcast Kurt. Only at the very end of the book do we hear from Alice's point of view.

It's a fairly predictable story, sadly, and it's not without stereotypes, but here, it's extremely well done. The chapters race along, building layers of deception, self-deception and betrayal in an all-too-believable cascade of rumour and bullying. See here for a succinct summary of real life cases of this kind.

Highly recommended for teenagers, and anyone who has a teenager in their life.

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