Alice on Her Way
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Pulse, 2006 (2005)
Reviewed by Lyn Seippel
eep Alice McKinley and her friends company as they navigate their sophomore year of high school. Liz's romance with the camp councilor from Pennsylvania is ongoing although she doesn't see him often. He comes to Maryland to take her to the school's Jack of Heart's Dance and stays with Alice's brother Les.
amela's mother is back and Pamela is an expert at avoiding her, so she signs up as a chaperone on the New York City school trip. She arranges for Pamela to share a room with her, but Pamela has other plans. She, Alice, and Liz have more fun in New York than their chaperones care to know.
lice has a new boy friend, Sam, whom she's known since middle school. Sam is considerate, kind, and sexy. She loves how he kisses, but she doesn't care about him the way he cares for her. Their relationship tests Alice's feelings about intimacy.
usier than ever with Sam, her friends, studying for her driving test, working as stage crew for the drama club, and writing for the school newspaper, Alice can't believe it when her dad signs her up for a course at church. The course,
Our Whole Lives
, puts sex into context with mutual respect, commitment, and responsibility.
aylor packs a lot into this episode of Alice's life. Alice makes significant decisions about Sam, friendship, sex, and love. Naylor's view of a middle class teenager is realistic and she doesn't shy away from the hard decisions they must make everyday. Their lives are demanding, complicated, fast, and often fun, but growing up isn't easy. Not even for Alice.
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