Alice series

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The Alice series is a young adult book series written by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, consisting of 25 books and three prequels. The Alice series follows the main character, Alice McKinley, known as "Al" to her father and older brother, as she grows up in Silver Spring, Maryland. Her mother died of leukemia when Alice was five. Alice has a hard time at first growing up in an all-male household, but her father and her brother, Lester, prove to be honest and open about almost everything Alice talks about. Alice has very little memory of her mother, often confusing her with her aunt, and seems to bear a striking physical resemblance to her, especially her strawberry-blond hair. Other characters include Alice's three best friends, Pamela, Elizabeth and Gwen, her first serious boyfriend, Patrick, her next boyfriend, Sam, her prudish Aunt Sally (who frequently provides a little comic relief), Lester's many girlfriends, and her seventh grade Language Arts teacher, Miss Summers, whom she tries to get her father to marry (with eventual success). The Alice series broaches many topics, including relationships, dating, sex, friendship, life problems, families, God, and understanding. The books have made the ALA (American Library Association) list of most challenged books for several years, making it to number one on the list in 2003 for their sexual content.[1]

The Alice series[edit]

  • The Agony of Alice (September 1, 1985) - 6th Grade (Alice moves from Takoma Park to Silver Spring and struggles to make friends in her new school. All the while she is dying for beautiful Miss Cole to be her teacher but later realizes it is what is on the inside that counts.)
  • Alice in Rapture, Sort of (March 31, 1989) - Summer before 7th Grade (Alice, Pamela, and Elizabeth all get boyfriends.)
  • Reluctantly Alice (March 30, 1991) - Fall of 7th Grade (Alice tries to survive seventh grade and she deals with Denise Whitlock, the school bully.)
  • All but Alice (April 30, 1992) - Winter of 7th Grade (Alice deals with the choice of popularity or being herself [The Famous Eight])
  • Alice in April (April 30, 1993) - Spring of 7th Grade (Alice tries to become Woman of the House, like Aunt Sally says she is becoming.)
  • Alice In-Between (March 1, 1994) - End of 7th Grade (Alice, Pamela, and Elizabeth get to take a trip to see Aunt Sally.)
  • Alice the Brave (May 1, 1995) - Summer before 8th Grade (Alice is afraid her friends will notice her fear of deep waters.)
  • Alice in Lace (March 1, 1996) - Beginning of 8th Grade (Alice and Patrick pretend to be married as part of a school project.)
  • Outrageously Alice (May 1, 1997) - Fall of 8th Grade (Alice is tired of the monotony of life and dyes her hair green much to her father's dismay.)
  • Achingly Alice (June 1, 1998) - Winter of 8th Grade (Alice has a crush on Sam, the boy in her camera club.)
  • Alice on the Outside (June 1, 1999) - Spring of 8th Grade (Alice explores the idea of prejudice.)
  • The Grooming of Alice (May 1, 2000) - Summer before 9th Grade (Alice, Pamela, and Elizabeth spend the entire summer trying to get perfect bodies for ninth grade.)
  • Alice Alone (May 1, 2001) - First semester of 9th Grade (Alice struggles with the idea of being single and the thought that Patrick likes another girl, Penny.)
  • Simply Alice (May 1, 2002) - Second semester of 9th Grade (Pamela and Elizabeth feel left out in Alice's life because Alice is always busy with high school stuff.)
  • Patiently Alice (May 1, 2003) - Summer before 10th Grade (Alice, Pamela, Elizabeth, and Gwen volunteer to be counselors together at a camp for troubled kids.)
  • Including Alice (May 1, 2004) - First semester of 10th Grade (Sylvia and Ben get married. Alice contemplates the value of social customs.)
  • Alice on Her Way (June 1, 2005) - Second semester of 10th Grade (Alice struggles with issues of sex, commitment, and responsibility. She also tries to get a driver's license and starts acting friendly with Sam Mayer but then exciting things happen and a life-changing experience happens for Sam Mayer.)
  • Alice in the Know (June 1, 2006) - Summer before 11th Grade (Alice gets a part-time job at the mall.)
  • Dangerously Alice (May 8, 2007) - First semester of 11th Grade (Alice sheds her "good girl" image by taking risks and considers becoming sexually involved with her boyfriend.)
  • Almost Alice (June 18, 2008) - Second semester of 11th Grade (Alice and Patrick go to the prom and big changes happen for Pamela)
  • Intensely Alice (June 2, 2009) - The summer before 12th grade (Alice visits Patrick in college. A life changing incident brings the whole gang back together.)
  • Alice in Charge (June 2010) - First semester of senior year (Alice is panicking at her college applications when she encounters a group of neo-Nazis disturbing the peace at her school, while also making friends with the new student Daniel.)
  • Incredibly Alice (May 2011) - Second semester of senior year.
  • Alice on Board (May 2012) - The summer before college. (Alice and her friends get a job on a Chesapeake Bay cruise ship, working as maids and waitresses.)
  • Now I'll Tell You Everything (October 2013) - Chronicles Alice from age 18 to 60.

The Alice prequels[edit]

  • Starting with Alice (September 1, 2002) - 3rd Grade (Alice tries to deal with being the new girl when she, her dad, and Lester move after the store Alice's father works for transfers him to Takoma Park, Maryland.)
  • Alice in Blunderland (September 1, 2003) - 4th Grade (Alice feels as though she cannot escape her embarrassment.)
  • Lovingly Alice (September 1, 2004) - 5th Grade (Alice thinks that fifth grade is just one big joke.)


  • Alice Kathleen McKinley (Long) is the protagonist and narrator of the series. She is an intelligent and open-minded girl. Her mother died of leukemia when Alice was five. Alice often feels as though she does not know how to "be a woman" because of this. She has strawberry blond hair[2] and green eyes. Alice is a reporter for the school newspaper The Edge in high school. Alice wants to be a psychiatrist, psychologist, or school counselor as mentioned in several books. The summer before college she is going to be working on a boat with her friends Elizabeth, Pamela, and Gwen. In the final book Alice marries her old boyfriend Patrick and has two kids.
  • Benjamin McKinley is Alice's father, and usually the perfect person for Alice to turn to for advice. At the beginning of the series he was portrayed as a "shy" kind of person. He is torn by the death of his late wife, but manages to find confidence to date again later on and marries Sylvia Summers, Alice's 7th Grade English teacher in Including Alice.
  • Lester McKinley is Alice's brother. There is a seven-year age difference but Alice feels very close to him. Even so, Lester is often too busy to deal with Alice and shies away from most of her questions, or answers them sarcastically. During most of the series, he is studying philosophy, graduating with his master's degree in Alice in Charge. Lester has a number of girlfriends. He juggled two girlfriends (Crystal Harkins and Marilyn Rawley) for the first half of the series. He finally marries Stacy in the final book of the series and becomes a father to triplets.
  • Elizabeth Price is a devout Catholic who is very uncomfortable knowing that boys know she sweats, digests, and other things. She has strong opinions about sex, and is quite philosophical. Alice, Gwen, and Pamela are always understanding of her feelings. She loosens up as she gets older, though. Her friends describe her as beautiful because of her long dark hair and thick eyelashes. She is one of Alice's three best friends. She is said to have started liking one of their friends Keeno. She later marries Moe, a guy she met on Amtrak trip to California with Alice and Pamela and gives birth to 3 daughters.
  • Pamela Jones is an outgoing blond whom Alice met in 6th grade. She bounces between two boys (Brian Brewster and Mark Steidmeister) for several books. Later she gets involved with a boy named Tim. She sometimes says things about adulthood and sex that can shock Elizabeth. She has the most difficult home life due to her parents' messy separation and divorce. She is insightful when it comes to boys. In Almost Alice, she gets pregnant, but soon miscarries. She and her boyfriend break up because of that. She is one of Alice's three best friends.
  • Gwen Wheeler is a smart, talented girl in Alice's group of friends. She meets Alice and her friends in 8th grade. She is one of Alice's best friends and tutored Alice in algebra. She wants to become a doctor, and she is African American, which causes her to be singled out on occasion. She often has good ideas and opinions, and works well with children. Previously she could not go to Pamela's house because Pamela's father is racist, however upon meeting Gwen, Pamela's father is impressed and does not ask her to leave.
  • Sylvia Summers begins as Alice's 7th grade language arts teacher whom Alice adores. Alice wants her dad and Sylvia to date, so she invites Sylvia to a Christmas choral performance at a local church with her father without her father's knowledge. Later in the series, Ben and Sylvia get married and Sylvia becomes the stepmother Alice has been wishing for.
  • Patrick Long is Alice's first serious boyfriend. He is a smart redhead who partook in an accelerated program to graduate high school in three years instead of four. He and Alice began dating in sixth grade, but she ended their relationship because she wanted to be more friends than boyfriend and girlfriend. They got back together, but broke up in middle school after Penny, a girl in their grade, showed interest in Patrick. The two got back together in late high school, but Patrick went to college a year early in Chicago. They continue a long distance relationship until Patrick decides to study abroad in Spain, and then serve in the Peace Corps. After Patrick finishes in the Peace Corps he and Alice meet at the airport. The two rekindle their relationship and eventually marry and have two children.
  • Aunt Sally is Alice's deceased mother's sister. She lives in Chicago with her husband, Milt. Alice sometimes mistakes her memories of her mother with memories of Aunt Sally. Aunt Sally is very good at giving advice to Alice, but sometimes with personal questions Alice asks Aunt Sally's daughter, Carol instead.
  • Sam Mayer is one of Alice's serious boyfriends whom she met in 8th grade. He is the photographer for the school newspaper. Alice broke up with him after a few months of dating because she felt mollycoddled.
  • Marilyn Rawley was one of Lester's serious girlfriends. She has long brown hair and plays the guitar. She gets married to a man named Jack in Alice on Her Way. She begins working at the Melody Inn in Alice in Lace. In The Grooming of Alice, she is hired as the assistant manager in Mr. McKinley's music store. In Incredibly Alice she gives birth to her first child, a daughter named Summer Hope.
  • Amy Sheldon tries to become friends with Alice and her friends, but the friends reject her because of her strange personality and social awkwardness. In Alice in Charge, Alice encourages Amy to become a roving reporter for the school newspapers. She may be autistic. She was also in the later books in 2011 (Alice in Charge) molested by a student teacher. The story was actually told by Alice herself.
  • Penny is one of Patrick's ex-girlfriends. She started to flirt with Patrick before the 9th grade started. Later on when Alice and Patrick make up Alice still cannot forgive her. Until they begin to talk. Alice later finds out they really did not connect as well as Alice and Patrick did. (Patrick also mistakenly called Penny Alice on an occasion) Penny and Alice are never very good friends but they are considerably closer than in the earlier books.
  • Scott is an older boy whom Alice has a crush on. But it shortly ends after Alice invites him to dance and realizes that he does not like her that way.
  • Rosalind is Alice's best friend in Takoma Park. In later years, she and Alice reunite and email each other often. First Seen In Starting with Alice and also in the prequels, Starting with Alice, and Lovingly Alice.
  • Mrs. Plotkin is Alice's 6th grade teacher who helps her learn that it is what on the inside that counts. To Alice, she is like a grandmother. Mrs. Plotkin has made several trips to the hospital because of heart problems, of which she died.


  1. ^ "Alice series tops ALA's 2003 list of most challenged books". American Library Association. 2004-02-14. Archived from the original on October 27, 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
  2. ^ Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Alice In-Between. 1994.

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