Published by Hardie Grant Egmont on June 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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There are a lot of rumours about Alice Franklin, and it's stopped mattering whether any of them are true.
It all started at a party, when Alice was supposedly with two guys in one night.
Soon everyone at Healy High has picked a side in this game of he said/she said. Do they believe Brandon Fitzsimmons, the most popular guy at school and the football hero of Healy? Or do they believe Alice, the girl who wears too-tight T-shirts and was caught kissing Brandon in a closet a couple years before?
When Brandon dies in a car crash, there are serious allegations that his death was Alice's fault. As the rumour mill spins into overdrive, Alice's small town becomes suffocating. And when the truth becomes a matter of opinion, something's got to give.
For anyone who’s ever been bullied, The Truth About Alice is a confronting account of a girl who is bullied, cast out of her group and blamed for the death of a school’s beloved quarterback. Told from the perspective of different characters, the geek, the popular girl, Alice’s ex-best friend and the ex-best friend of the quarterback, each person talks about what led them to use Alice as a scapegoat.
The unique thing about how the story is told, is everyone offers their point of view of Alice and what she did, so we see this poor girl being blamed and vicitimised without hearing her own opinion. I really applaud the use of this narrative as it really helps us understand why the others used her as a scapegoat. Reading about how everyone recalled the events of the night and how they blame Alice to detract from their own involvement or problems was sad.
Reading about most the the cliche and stereotyped characters was actually quite dull. The book is filled to the brim with cliche assumptions and facts about each character, that they didn’t really offer any sort of surprise. These cliches included: “oh the popular girl actually sleeps around”, “the nerd actually really likes Alice” and “the best friend feels guilty”, not really anything ground breaking.
Seeing the more popular characters leading the charge on the treatment of Alice by slut shaming, making jokes about her and creating a slut stall in the girls toilets was really terrible. They do have their moments of feeling guilty about pinning everything on Alice, but more importantly, they have a reputation to uphold and their own problems to detract from. Throughout the book, their justification of their behaviour gets worse and worse and Alice is pretty much dehumanised as they forget this is a person with feelings. Kelsie’s story was probably the most unforgivable one, as Alice and her used to be best friends but she makes up horrible rumours about her just so she can be popular.
Reading about this group of people and the horrible account of bullying throughout all levels of the school social ladder is terrible, but the truth is, it’s realistic. It paints a story about how a rumour started by the most popular kids can be warped and taken as gospel, and how people can start a witch hunt against an innocent person just to try and make sense of a tragedy.
The Truth About Alice offers an interesting account of how bullying can spiral out of control through the eyes of different characters around the victim. Despite having some cliche characters and stereotypes, it offers a really powerful message about the effects of bullying on a teenage girl.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.