The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu Review: For anyone who’s ever been bullied

June 9, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 3 stars, Books, Reviews

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu Review: For anyone who’s ever been bulliedThe Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
Published by Hardie Grant Egmont on June 1, 2014
Source: Publisher
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository
Add to Goodreads

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.

The following two tabs change content below.
Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

Tags: , , , , ,

57 responses to “The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu Review: For anyone who’s ever been bullied

  1. I ended up absolutely loving this book, I felt it painted a very realistic picture of bullying and how rumours can be twisted and turned to truth. I hated the treatment of Alice but I definitely feel that it's something other people will really be able to relate to. I also loved how easily I came to feel like I knew Alice, even though we only get her narrative right at the very end.
    Reviews from a Bookw recently posted…Five Friday Favourites: Favourite Parents In FictionMy Profile

  2. I don't think I would read this, but it does sound hard hitting and the fact that it's told by all these people who blame Alice and not her, that sounds so interesting. (Also, such a beautiful cover- that's stunning!) I think in this situation, I would want to hear her story for myself, though, and would just get intensely uirritated by all these other people who are just using her.
    Romi recently posted…The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas + Competition!My Profile

  3. Joy

    Oooh, I didn't realise that this was narrated by others rather than the victim. That's an interesting take on the story. Just wondering though, does Alice's name ever get cleared up, and do the bullies get what's coming to them? It would suck – albeit be realistic – if things never got cleared up though. Wonderful review, I'll be keeping an eye out for this one 😀
    Joy recently posted…ARC Review: Take Back the Skies (Take Back the Skies #1) by Lucy SaxonMy Profile

  4. Melanie (YA Midnight

    I'm glad that you enjoyed this one as well, Jeann! I found it really interesting how the entire novel (majority of it) was narrated by other people, as opposed to Alice herself. I definitely agree with everything in your review.

    Lovely review! <33

  5. I love how emotional and powerful this sounds, so I'm definitely willing to give it a try! Even though the characters were slightly stereotyped at points (which I'm guessing the author does to make a point about how bullying is bad), this sounds absolutely wonderful! Thanks for sharing Jeann, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3
    Zoe @ The Infinite T recently posted…Dangerous GirlsMy Profile

  6. This is going to sound like such a weird thing to say, but I've actually been looking for a good book about bullying (oxymoron?). I feel like most books about the subject tend to trivialise it or even make the main character unsympathetic (which is quite a feat!).

    I like that this is told in different points of view and I think I'll be willing to overlook the slight cliches if the message is strong enough.

    This is on my TBR already, so it's nice to see a decent review 🙂
    Allie @ Little Birdi recently posted…Reader Shame – Guilty Pleasures and ‘Acceptable’ Books {The Birdie Musings}My Profile

  7. This is the kind of book that I read when I'm feeling or wanting to feel pissed off. Not pissed off at the book, but having a story bring out those emotions. I din't know if I'd read it anytime soon, but possibly in the future. Great review.
    Christy recently posted…The Murder Complex by Lindsay CummingsMy Profile

  8. I have a really low tolerance for bullying, even if these situations do really happen in real life. I recently read Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown, and I was so angry with how people dealt with things, but that's just how people are, really. I'm glad this one was done realistically, though. I might check it out at some point. 🙂
    Aimee @ Deadly Darli recently posted…Review: Thousand Words by Jennifer BrownMy Profile

  9. I'm not as sold by "bully books" as books of other issues because bullying is such an offensive yet delicate issue to tackle. Very rarely do I read books that deal with the nuances of bullying, and just reading them from a single perspective could undermine the true intensity of bullying. I'm curious about the unique story-telling in this book though the cliches… Will tread with care!
    Alicia recently posted…BABBLE & BOOKS | To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny HanMy Profile

  10. I have the ARC, but I haven't had the energy to finish books. *shoot me*

    I do like the premise of the book, I did get to read 3 chapters, and it was interesting. It's sad how bullying is a huge reality in schools, and even in the work place. It's scary how some people would take bullying into a physical thing. It's sick. 🙁
    Dre @ Sporadic Reads recently posted…Review 176 : The Fault In Our Stars by John GreenMy Profile

  11. I've been wanting to read this one for quite a while, i can see how it can fall into the trap and have A LOT of typical cliche moments and even stereotypes but forr these types of bullying books, if done right it can still work and not be eye roll worthy. I'm glad you ended up liking this one Jeann 🙂

    Lily recently posted…What I Thought Was True: ReviewMy Profile

  12. Bullying is one of those topics that scare me. Not only because I might be a victim, but because one day I plan to work in schools and I hope not to see it there. It's hard really to deal with it. This story seems really good and educative. Too bad that the characters were clicheish, but glad you enjoyed it overall. Great review, Jeann 🙂
    Tanja recently posted…Quote of the Week: Lovely, Dark and DeepMy Profile

  13. There has been so much hype surrounding this one lately and I am so curious to see how it'll work out. I'll admit to worrying about how I'll respond to the stereotypical characters but I know a lot of people didn't mind them too much so I am hopeful..

    I am REALLY glad to see you enjoyed this one!

    Lovely review as always, Jeann!! <3
    Rashika recently posted…Review: Riot by Sarah Mussi – RANT ALERT!!!My Profile

  14. This book really hit me hard, for me it was a really powerful read that left me fuming throughout. I think it's even more gripping when we finally heard from Alice, and how it focused on the ways society bullies others. From the downright cruel taunts, to aiding a spread rumour and passing it on. Lovely review Jeann, this is one that I'd recommend all teens read.
    Kelly recently posted…A Confusion of Princes by Garth NixMy Profile

  15. I think this one and Tease are interesting and necessary books to show us the bullying not just from the perspective of the people being bullied but also from the bullies. That way it can be easier to be horrified by the way they justify to themselves their actions and how we see that they aren't justified, and maybe help us see when we might do the same thing and make us think twice!

    Great honest review as usual, Jeann!
    Pili recently posted…Mark This Book Monday: ARC Review of Her Secret Inheritance by Jen McConnel!My Profile

  16. I've kind of been burnt with contemporaries lately…just reading a lot of weird ones I guess! (Except for Wonder. That was brilliant.) So I do kind of want to try this (loooove the cover), but I'm torn. And it's only a 3.5, sooo. Heh. >.< I don't know!
    Cait @ Notebook Sist recently posted…How To Be the Ultimate TFIOS FanMy Profile

  17. I'm trading a book for this one at PTA Live in Sydney, with Eugenia from Chasm of Books. I really want to read it! It kind of reminds me of the movie Easy A, which I LOVED. Cliche characters don't sound too great, but I'm fairly tolerant, so hopefully I'll enjoy it! I've heard a lot about the unique way the story's told 🙂
    Emily @ The Loony Te recently posted…More Than This by Patrick Ness: Mind Equals BlownMy Profile