Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Intensely Alice Review

I am literally in the middle of five different books. I need to calm down. I did manage to finish one though. So many books are pending.

Intensely Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor


It's the summer before Alice's senior year in high school and she plans on hanging out with her friends and working at the Melody Inn like she usually does. Summer starts off with an exciting trip to Chicago for her cousin's wedding and a visit with her boyfriend Patrick at the University of Chicago. The rest of the summer proves to be fun and challenging time as well as unexpectedly difficult.

Hard book to summarize in a paragraph because these Alice books are more of a portrait of things that happen to Alice instead of an over-arching plot that shoots you straight to the finish line. Usually, Naylor tackles some big issue and frames it in the context of Alice and her friends' different reactions to it. This is a series that you follow from beginning to end because you feel some connection to Alice, her introspective nature and her ordinary life.

Alice is our narrator, most likely on the periphery of all of the major things that happen and not too sure about herself or what she believes in. She's not the smartest, not the most talented, not the most athletic, not the prettiest or wittiest. She's an average, every girl kind of character. What I like most about Alice is that she's willing to listen and consider every opinion. She's pretty much nice to everyone. She's accepting but not too naive. I like that she hasn't grown up too fast and her friends are pretty stable too.

This book depicts a pretty quiet summer for the most part. The first big decision Alice faces is whether or not to have sex with her boyfriend while she's visiting him. I enjoyed the honest, carefully depicted struggle as Alice tries to decide through thought and circumstance what she wants to happen between her and Patrick. What happens between them is probably the best outcome which is usually how the Alice books operate. Naylor doesn't shy away from realistic depictions of sex, both thinking about sex and the actual physical acts. I feel that she writes about sex skillfully and appropriately for teens. In fact, sex was not as big of an issue in this book as it has been in the past, though there was one kind of graphic scene.

The big issue in this book is religion. Alice doesn't really know where she stands on the topic but she carefully listens to each side of the argument. It's a good thing Alice likes journalism so much because she's a really good observer. The book is driven by dialogue and relationships more than anything else. It was fun to see Alice getting along with her girlfriends and branching out with talking to other people, such as an intimate conversation with her stepmother.

If you're a follower of the Alice series, this will be the same Alice that you've always known. Each book she grows a little older and matures a little further but inside she's still the same all-around good girl that we look forward to. The writing, as usual, is heartfelt and realistic. If you haven't tried the Alice series yet I suggest you start from the beginning. Middle school Alice is good at any age and it goes from there.

I even own the Alice movie. I also recommend that. It's pretty funny. I love Lucas Grabeel and Alyson Stoner and Luke Perry so that helped!


  1. Ahh! They still make Alice books? And there's a movie??? I haven't read these books in years...

    I have a few is of Alice having dubbed her brother's girlfriend Pelt Woman. And the other is of the girls getting named after states by the boys judging by how mountainous their regions were (so to speak).

    I might have to check the newer ones out- thanks for the review!

    ~bella aire~

  2. i love your summaries!