Alice Franklin is a huge slut. At least that’s what the small town of Healy, Texas, believes. In Jennifer Mathieu’s The Truth About Alice (out June 3), the point of view alternates between four of Alice’s high school classmates. Word on the street is that Alice slept with two guys at one party. And when one of the boys dies in a car accident, things spiral when Alice is blamed for his death. Only at the very end of the book do you hear Alice’s perspective. Says author Mathieu of her debut novel: “When I was a teenager in the early ’90s, I read an article in Seventeen magazine about a teenage girl in Minnesota who sued her school after tons of sexual graffiti calling her a slut and other awful stuff was written about her in a bathroom stall and the school never removed it. I remember thinking how isolated and scared she must have felt. That story just stuck in my mind and was a seed for The Truth About Alice.
I’m not a high school student anymore, but I am a high school English teacher, and it’s like nothing’s really changed. Guys with reputations are still considered cool but slut shaming girls is more common and accepted than ever, it seems. I wish it would change.”