When I first read the blurb for this book, I was a little worried it was going to be in the vein of 13 Reasons Why, and I was a little worried that I wasn’t quite in the mood to read something so deeply tragic and heart wrenching; however, I was a pleasantly surprised by what I found within the pages of Jennifer Mathieu’s novel.
Mathieu has really captured teenagers. How on the outside they are clichés and cliques but on the inside they are individuals. How they can be so mean and cruel and just plain stupid. How they can fully acknowledge that they are doing something terrible, yet continue to do it and provide a long list of reasons why they must do it.
I liked snotty, snobby “it-girl” Elaine and how shallow she was. She could have been one-dimensional and boring, but a well hidden conscience would peek through occasionally. I liked that her life wasn’t perfect, that her mother dragged her to Weight Watchers Weigh-ins and that she kept a diary about her own body images.
I sympathized with Kelsie, who was so afraid of going back to being a wallflower that she crucified the one person who would have stuck by her side through the summer of The Really Awful Stuff. Kelsie was so honest on the inside and so false on the outside.
Josh, Alice, Kurt. These characters were so relatable. As I was reading, I was thinking of the people I had known in high school and even grade school who were the Kurts and the Elaines and the Joshes. I think that is why the book resonates because we all know a Kelsie or an Alice or even a Brandon.
Mathieu also shows how rumors and bullying can hurt so deeply. How lies and gossip destroy people. Hopefully, teens who read this book will think about Alice, will consider their words carefully before letting them cross their lips, and maybe, just maybe The Truth About Alice could lead to a few less Alices in the world, a few less Brandons too.
Macmillan’s Children’s Publishing Group – expected publication date: June 3, 2014