ALICE ALONE

From the Alice McKinley series , Vol. 16

In this 13th book about Alice (The Grooming of Alice, 2000, etc.), her romance with Patrick hits rocky ground, depicted in the gently realistic, often humorous, style that characterizes the series. As she enters high school, Alice feels mildly scared about her new school, happy about her father’s deepening romance, and heartbroken about Patrick’s interest in a new girl. She realizes that she depended on the romance to feel good about herself and decides that she needs to base her sense of worth on other aspects of her life. While her friends rally around, Alice bolsters her spirits by working on the high-school newspaper and joining the drama club. In a typical funny episode, she invites three former female prisoners—one a former prostitute—to Thanksgiving dinner as an act of charity, but implies to her father and brother that they are foreign refugees. On a more serious note, a friend tells Alice that she was sexually molested as a young girl, a subject handled with sensitivity and good sense. As these scenes suggest, the books in the series deal with progressively more serious issues as Alice gets older, allowing readers to keep enjoying the books as they too get older. Alice continues to be an “everygirl,” who, though blessed with a more loving family than many, still experiences heartache, questions her attractiveness without obsessing about it, and gets through the hard days as well as the good ones as best she can. Her fans will welcome her back while new readers are in for a treat. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-82634-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2001

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LOVE, STARGIRL

Fifteen-year-old Susan “Stargirl” Caraway has moved to Pennsylvania, but as independent and free-spirited as she is, she can’t seem to let go of Arizona and her old boyfriend Leo Borlock. She’s lonely, even in the midst of a loving family and a colorful cast of characters in her new town. There’s five-year-old spitfire Dootsie, agoraphobic Betty Lou, angry Alvina, Margie the donut queen and mysterious Perry, a potential new boy in Stargirl’s life. As much as readers will relish this community and wish Stargirl would get on with her life there and forget mooning over Leo, she can’t seem to, and the whole leisurely paced novel is “the world’s longest letter” to him. Humor, graceful writing, lively characters and important lessons about life will make this a hit with fans of Stargirl (2000) and anyone who likes a quiet, reflective novel. Those meeting Stargirl here for the first time will want to read the previous work to see if Leo is worthy of her devotion. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-375-81375-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2007

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THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY

Han’s leisurely paced, somewhat somber narrative revisits several beach-house summers in flashback through the eyes of now 15-year-old Isabel, known to all as Belly. Belly measures her growing self by these summers and by her lifelong relationship with the older boys, her brother and her mother’s best friend’s two sons. Belly’s dawning awareness of her sexuality and that of the boys is a strong theme, as is the sense of summer as a separate and reflective time and place: Readers get glimpses of kisses on the beach, her best friend’s flirtations during one summer’s visit, a first date. In the background the two mothers renew their friendship each year, and Lauren, Belly’s mother, provides support for her friend—if not, unfortunately, for the children—in Susannah’s losing battle with breast cancer. Besides the mostly off-stage issue of a parent’s severe illness there’s not much here to challenge most readers—driving, beer-drinking, divorce, a moment of surprise at the mothers smoking medicinal pot together. The wish-fulfilling title and sun-washed, catalog-beautiful teens on the cover will be enticing for girls looking for a diversion. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 5, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4169-6823-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2009

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