In THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE we see Alice Franklin, who most girls envy for her so-called perfect body and ability around guys, the guys who want her, and the friend who resents not being like her. Then one tragic event sets off one rumor that she slept with not one guy but two until it snowballs into she was the reason why the popular jock dies in a car accident. Rumors continue to fly until one starts the 'slut stall' which escalates the viciousness.
What worked: The viciousness of how a text message can spread rumors and gossip to the point of destroying the reputation of a girl. This is shown in a brutally raw way that is very painful. The 'truth' is slowly unraveled after we hear from different people who knew Alice.
There are some very strong images woven throughout this story. It could have been so easy for this to be just 'Alice's' story but no, we see her through a number of others in her high school. I think this works as we can observe Alice and see the reasoning behind the slander. Each of the point of views has his/her own motivations behind doing their part in either spreading the rumors or being silent.
My favorite character had to be the smart nerdy Kurt who everyone else avoids but has a secret crush on Alice. He's the one who reaches out to her while others are so quick to believe the rumors. He's not entirely selfless when he reaches out to Alice when he finds she needs help in math but he also doesn't ignore her either. To me that took courage that others, including her former BFF, lacked.
What I had trouble with though had to be how some of the characters sounded too much alike to the point of being the stereotypical 'mean' girl and the oversexed jock. It wasn't until halfway through this book, I put those concerns aside. The reveals are shocking at times and tragic.
The whole slut-shaming(I hate this term) is shown in horrific detail with how quick a so-called best friend can turn on a friend in order not to be associated with the rumor. Kelsie, the former best friend, reasoning on why she started the slut hall in the bathroom, is something I've heard too often. "Well, if she didn't do this or if she didn't date the guy I wanted? I'd never would have done that to her." Placing the blame on something else is all too often used. Kelsie and her Christian mother's hypocrisy, on one of the accusations against Alice, is something that makes this story even more tragic.
I feel this would be the perfect book club selection on how a malicious action can snowball into destroying a person's image and worse. Showing those involved in the rumors helps us see the motivations that might be behind such an act. Horrific and raw with painful insights into something that unfortunately continues to this day.