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THE GROOMING OF ALICE by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor


From the Alice McKinley series, volume 15

by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Age Range: 11 - 14

Pub Date: May 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-689-82633-8
Publisher: Atheneum

Alice continues to model safe, commonsensical ways of navigating the foggy shoals of adolescence, as the summer before high school brings crises, comedy, beginnings, endings, and new life skills. Actually, Alice, with a rewarding new job as a candy striper and a boyfriend who turns out to be as good a cook as he is a kisser, has it pretty good. It's those around her—older brother Lester, whose new squeeze is an imperious fashion plate, best buddies Elizabeth and Pamela, the former veering toward anorexia, the latter struggling through a stormy relationship with her father—who provide most of the angst. As usual, though, Alice provides most of the theater, and before this voyage ends she has helped teach Elizabeth how to use a tampon; learned to administer a self-examination (“Well, I said to my privates, Nice to meet you”); rides out the death of her beloved sixth-grade teacher; and hits a crest of joy when her father and junior-high English teacher Sylvia Summers finally—finally!—announce their engagement. Sailing through her 12th “Alice” with nary a sign of series fatigue, Naylor, as usual, masterfully imparts physical, social, and emotional information while bringing readers to tears and laughter. (Fiction. 11-14)