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It’s rare to come across a book, particularly from a debut author, that tackles important issues without preaching life lessons. In The Truth About Alice, Jennifer Mathieu manages to do just that.

Alice Franklin, according to her peers, has done a lot of things. She slept with not one, but two boys at Elaine’s party. She had an abortion and didn’t even know which guy’s kid it was. She’s basically responsible for the death of Brandon, the school’s star quarterback. A long time ago, she was popular. Now nobody will even speak to her. But what’s true and what’s just a rumor?

The Truth About Alice is told through the alternating perspectives of Elaine (the most popular girl in the school), Josh (Brandon’s best friend), Kelsie (Alice’s former best friend), and Kurt (a genius loner who knows more than people think). Through these four perspectives, we find out the truth about what really happened with Alice, and the motivatons behind the lies.

In The Truth About Alice, Mathieu somehow manages to make the actions of these kids understandable. They do terrible things to their friend. I wouldn’t want to run into them at a party. I’m glad I didn’t go to school with people like them. But I completely understand why they made the decisions they did. And most importantly, they don’t pretend to be good people. They don’t think they’re perfect or infallible. They know they’re wrong and they might even feel bad about spreading those rumors and ostracizing their former friend.

It’s refreshing to read about realistically imperfect characters. It’s refreshing to read a YA novel that tackles issues like bullying through the eyes of the ones doing the bullying. This whole novel was refreshing.

Thank you to Netgalley for the advance copy.

Final rating: 

[see my original review here]

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