Many thanks to Macmillan and NetGalley for this advance review copy!
Stories about bullying always hit close to home for me. I was bullied mercilessly as a teenager, and again as an adult. So when I saw The Truth About Alice on NetGalley, I knew I had to read it. I am so thrilled I was selected to receive an ARC. But now I have the daunting task of writing a review.
You see, for me, The Truth About Alice is one of those books that I want to sing the praises of, and I just… don’t know how.
The characters were so well written. I felt like they could have been people I went to high school with. And in some ways, it helped me gain some closure from my own experiences with bullying. Unlike other books that touch on bullying, The Truth About Alice focuses on the story from the point of view of the bullies, and then finally the bullied. We get to see their motivation. We get to see their true colours. We get to see how they justify the destruction of one person.
Alice in general is a bit of a haunting presence in the whole book, since she makes her chapter debut as the last point of view in the book. You get to make your opinions about everything before hearing from the girl herself. And when we do hear from her, the effect is staggering. She claims fault, she accepts responsibility. She hurts and she revels and she is confused at the way things are going. Alice is a very real character, and it makes the whole story hurt that much more.
The characters and the town all follow their own stereotypes, as well. In a lot of cases, this would have been a detriment to the story, and I think for people coming from larger centers it might alienate them a bit. For me, personally, it made The Truth About Alice resonate even more. I grew up in a smaller town, where the people who ruled the school were the jocks and the pretty, popular girls. If you weren’t one of them, you were nothing. You were a target. And there was no fighting back, because no one else wanted to be a target.
One thing I didn’t like about this book, probably one of the only things, is that it didn’t feel long enough to me. I feel like everyone could have had more than one chapter. I wanted to see Alice flushed out a little bit more fully, and there were a few tangents that seemed to fizzle off, where they could have been nurtured.
All in all, The Truth About Alice is a very haunting story that I think all too many people can relate to on one side or another. I will definitely be on the lookout for more from this debut author.