From School Library Journal
Grade 6-9-Issues of sexuality, tolerance, and self-knowledge are dealt with candidly in this 11th book about Alice McKinley. Naylor continues to follow this engaging protagonist as she copes with the expected and unexpected ordeals of growing up. Over the years, Alice has developed into a thoughtful, intelligent, and increasingly independent girl. As always, the author places her character in realistic situations and has her grapple with the concerns of her age. Now in eighth grade, Alice wonders about her relationship with her boyfriend, Patrick. ("You're supposed to want to caress each other...It's natural. It's normal. So when are you supposed to stop saying no and start saying yes?") She is also faced with a school project in which the students are governed by rules aimed at forcing them to recognize the evils of prejudice and arbitrary privilege. At the same time, Alice befriends a classmate; when she finds out the girl is a lesbian, she handles the situation with maturity and tolerance. This incident dovetails, perhaps too conveniently, with the school project to understand prejudice as fear of difference. It is unfortunate that the cover illustration reflects this part of the book as if it were the central theme; it is not. It is only part of the story about Alice growing up and coping with the myriad pressures and questions that define adolescence. Of course, Alice's fans will want to read this newest installment, but the book will also appeal to those unfamiliar with the earlier volumes.Renee Steinberg, Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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From Kirkus Reviews
Still alertly navigating the shoals of early adolescence, Alice turns 14 in the 11th installment of her often hilarious, always perceptive odyssey. Before her birthday, however, she gains some insight into the nature of prejudice from a week-long consciousness-raising exercise at school; watches friend Pamela flirt with a wilder lifestyle; observes her brother Lester's anything-but-tranquil love life; and gracefully fields a pass from a female classmate. Although the various continuing plot lines of the series don't hurtle along, they're not ignored, either, and Naylor again demonstrates her gift for embedding savvy advice and frank specifics about sex and growing up seamlessly into common situations. By the end, Alice's own romantic situation is looking decidedly bright; although her boyfriend Patrick comes down with mononucleosis, leaving her solo at the eighth-grade dance, he also shows endearing awkwardness in the kissing department and melts her utterly with a front yard serenade on the night of her birthday. Fans will leap aboard enthusiastically, but readers new to the series will have to catch earlier books first for some background. Sail on, Alice. (Fiction. 11-14) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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