The Truth About Alice

Jennifer Mathieu. Roaring Brook, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-59643-909-2
Four high-school juniors—Elaine, Kelsie, Josh, and Kurt—narrate the eponymous Alice's story in turns. A callous jock named Brandon starts a rumor that Alice slept with him and another boy at Elaine's party. Shortly afterward, he dies in a car crash, and Josh suggests that texts from Alice distracted Brandon. These rumors take on a life of their own, transforming Alice from a well-liked girl into a cafeteria pariah with a "Slut Stall" dedicated to her in the girls' bathroom. Mathieu's well-crafted debut portrays all the teens sympathetically, revealing the insecurities that motivate their actions; for example, Kelsie thinks the popular girls "could smell my old middle school nerdiness on me like it was some kind of disease," and would rather betray her best friend than lose her newfound popularity. Their accounts unintentionally reveal Alice's decency, emphasizing the cruelty of the ostracism and underscoring the integrity of the one boy who dares to befriend her. Alice gets the final word, yet Mathieu avoids reducing her story to a revenge narrative, instead offering a quietly powerful testament to perspective and personal resilience. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sarah LaPolla, Bradford Literary Agency. (June)
Reviewed on: 07/21/2014
Release date: 06/03/2014
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-59643-910-8
Open Ebook - 235 pages - 978-1-74358-231-2
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-250-06302-1
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