Review Blog

Jun 04 2014

The truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

cover image

Hardie Grant Egmont, 2014. ISBN 9781742979502.
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Reluctant readers. Rumours. Peer pressure. Brandon Fitzsimmons spreads the rumour that Alice Franklin was with two guys at the party. Alice wears tight tee-shirts and was found kissing Brandon in the closet a couple of years before. This is just the beginning of the rumours about Alice. When Brandon is killed in a car crash, his best friend who was in the car with him, tells his mother that Alice was texting Brandon and caused the accident, even though Brandon had been drinking. From then on the rumour mill rolls on out of control.
Told through the eyes of four teens, Mathieu brings the story of Alice to life. Elaine, the pretty popular girl who had an on again, off again relationship with Brandon, believes she knows all about Alice and that the rumours have to be true. Kelsey was once Alice's best friend, but afraid to lose her popularity with the in crowd, leaves Alice alone and contributes in a terrible way to the stories about Alice. Josh was Brandon's best friend and started the nasty rumour that Alice caused Brandon's death. Kurt is the school nerd who has had a crush on Alice for ages. He is the only one to offer her friendship.  Alice finally gets to have her say in the final chapter and her pain and anger comes through clearly.
Mathieu captures the voices of her four protagonist, revealing their weaknesses and their reasons for shunning Alice. She cleverly has each person adding to the story of Alice until the reader knows and understands Alice's personality and then hears the truth from Alice at the end.
This is a relatively short story, with easy to read chapters. The themes of teenage parties, boyfriends, rumour mongering and peer pressure is sure to be popular with teens.
Pat Pledger

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