A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this installment of the long-running series includes a plot point about Alice's friend who is both sexually active and pregnant. Her pregnancy is handled with real emotion: disbelief, horror, despair, panic, and realistic adult intervention. Other than that, there are some light making out/kissing scenes. Another girl discovers the wonders of a push-up bra. Also, Alice is a member of her school's gay-straight alliance and attends meetings where the kids do stuff like discuss the word "queer" and make plans for future events.
- Parents say
- Kids say
This book was in the library of an elementary school and my 10 year old sister's friend checked it out. Don't let your young kids or teens read this book. The whole thing is full if inappropriate descriptions of sex. The back of the book seems innocent because it says nothing of that sort. Please do not allow young children to read this book.
What's the story?
Alice is having trouble figuring out who she is. Just when she thinks she has a good grasp, something happens that makes her question herself. A friend's pregnancy, a rekindled romance, changing friendships, changes at home -- all of these events keep Alice feeling sort of like herself, but not quite. People tell her to get used to it, but Alice wonders how life became so complicated.
Is it any good?
ALMOST ALICE is a great addition to Phyllis Naylor's Alice series. Picking up in the second semester of 11th grade, Alice wonders who she is outside of being the best of best friends. Naylor captures the confusing time in teens' lives when it feels as if everything around them is changing -- including the way they see themselves. She also adds a healthy amount of humor. When a teen girl's house catches fire, concern quickly turns into hilarious embarrassment as firefighters discover the cause of the fire: her much-loved, secondhand, rubber push-up bra.
Naylor also takes a serious turn of events -- an unplanned pregnancy -- with real emotion: disbelief, horror, despair, panic, and realistic adult intervention. With so many books about teen sex and pregnancy these days, it's a welcome dose of realism. The novel moves at a great pace that will keep readers turning pages, but things end far too neatly and in a very after-school-special way.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the pregnant teen in this book. What do you think of the way the author handled this plot point? Did it seem realistic to you? Parents may want to look at our advice for talking to kids about teen pregnancy for some ideas.
Also, parents may want to talk about coming-of-age stories. What marks this book as part of that genre? Young Adult books have changed a lot in recent years -- but their characters still seem to be struggling with questions of their own identity. How would this book have been different if it had been written 20 years ago? How would it have been the same?
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