Kirkus Reviews QR Code
ALICE ALONE by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor


From the Alice McKinley series, volume 16

by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Age Range: 11 - 14

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-82634-6
Publisher: Atheneum

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)