Alice is always Alice.
"What I'm finding out about growing older is that there are just as many rules about lots of things, but there's nobody watching.”."
The Alice series
is a book series written by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. There are three prequels to this series. The first one, Starting with Alice
, describes Alice in third grade. Alice in Blunder land is Alice
in fourth grade; The final prequel, Lovingly Alice
, follows Alice through the troubles of fifth grade
. The first book (after the prequels) is The Agony of Alice
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
, 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
.The books in the long running series include:
- The Agony of Alice
- Alice in Rapture, Sort of
- Reluctantly Alice
- All but Alice
- Alice in April
- Alice In-Between
- Alice the Brave
- Alice in Lace
- Outrageously Alice
- Achingly Alice
- Alice on the Outside
- The Grooming of Alice
- Alice Alone
- Simply Alice
- Patiently Alice
- Including Alice
- Alice on Her Way
- Alice in the Know
- Dangerously Alice
- Almost Alice
- Intensely Alice
- Alice in Charge
- Incredibly Alice
- Alice on Board
- Now I'll Tell You Everything
Not to be confused with Go Ask Alice
, the 1971 novel by Beatrice Sparks.
This Series Provides Examples Of:
- Abhorrent Admirer: Janice Sherman to Ben, although she's eventually Put on a Bus to Toledo.
- The Ace: Gwen Wheeler, one of Alice's closest friends.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: mentioned occasionally throughout the series.
- Adorably Precocious Child: Alice in the prequels.
- Adorkable: Alice at certain points.
- Alcoholic Parent: Pamela's mother has problems with alcohol after her marriage breaks up and she ends up going to AA meetings.
- All Women Are Lustful: Pamela, Up to Eleven.
- All Women Are Prudes: Aunt Sally, and how.
- Elizabeth Price, one of Alice's best friends, is rather reluctant in regards to sex or any sort of topic involving it, although the later books reveal that she was molested by a family friend as a child, which scared her from the aspect of sex altogether.
- Alpha Bitch: Jill and Karen have elements of this. Unlike many other examples, they are Alice's friends but not very good ones.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Amy Sheldon, a new friend of Alice's who is extremely socially awkward, has difficulty relating to and communicating with most people, and acts incredibly childish for her age.
- Betty and Veronica: Marilyn was the Betty to Crystal's Veronica for Lester's Archie.
- In Alice Alone, Alice herself becomes the Betty to Penny's Veronica for Patrick's Archie as well.
- Pamela's mother is the Veronica to her father's fiancee's Betty.
- Big Brother Instinct/ Big Brother Mentor: Lester to Alice at some points.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Penny, who ended up stealing Patrick away from Alice in Alice Alone.
- Jill and Karen occasionally show traces of this, especially in All But Alice.
- Black Best Friend: Gwen Wheeler.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Pamela, the bubbly, extraverted blonde, Elizabeth, the reserved, brainy brunette, and Alice, the protagonist and redhead of the trio.
- Boyish Short Hair: Inverted with Pamela, who has the hairstyle, but is arguably the most feminine person in hers, Alice's, and Elizabeth's trio.
- Brainless Beauty: Donald Sheavers.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Pamela.
- Both Alice and Elizabeth also go through some sort of a rebellious phase with their parents that isolate them from the rest of her families.
- Bumbling Dad: Ben to some extent, usually whenever he has educate Alice over topics regarding the female body.
- Buxom Is Better: Pamela apparently has the largest bust size among the girls, while Elizabeth is dealing with A-Cup Angst and Alice is somewhere in the middle.
- Casanova Wannabe: Lester, who goes through women at the drop of a hat and often finds himself involved in messy love triangles.
- Catholic Schoolgirls Rule: subverted with Elizabeth in the later books.
- Chick Magnet: Lester.
- Ben himself appears to be quite the ladies man, attracting the attention of several women throughout the series, including Janice Sherman and Sylvia.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Brian and occasionally Mark.
- The Confidant: Alice to her friends, which is even lampshaded by several characters in the series, particularly in Almost Alice.
- Convenient Miscarriage: Pamela gets pregnant in high school but miscarries before she decides what she's going to do about it.
- Cool Big Sis: Carol, Alice's cousin.
- Cool Old Lady: Mrs. Plotkin, Alice's beloved teacher from the sixth grade.
- Cool Losers: Alice and her friends, especially in the early books.
- Cool Teacher / Parental Substitute: Ms. Summers who eventually weds Ben and becomes Alice's stepmother in the later books.
- The Cutie: Alice, although mostly in the earlier books. She tries, unsuccessfully, to shed this image in Dangerously Alice.
- Deadpan Snarker: Lester.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Marilyn ends up marrying another man once she finally decides to move on from Lester.
- Divorce Assets Conflict: Pamela's parents divorce at one point after her father discovers her mother having an affair, which wedges a significant rift among her family.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Sam to Alice, who eventually felt mollycoddled by him.
- Dumbass Teenage Son: Lester in the prequels.
- Driven to Suicide: Denise, The Bully from the earlier Alice books who led a troubled home life.
- Fat Best Friend: Rosalind in the prequels.
- Their First Time: Alice often debates whether or not she wants to sleep with Patrick before he goes off to college in the later books.
- First Girl Wins: Alice ends up marrying Patrick,her first love interest in the original series. He's even the first guy she meets who she's not related to.
- Foreshadowing: In "Alice in Lace," Alice's teacher assigns his students real life situations and they have to write about how they would deal with them. Several of those things actually ended happening: Alice and Patrick getting married, Pamela getting pregnant, Brian getting a DWI.
- Four Girl Ensemble: Elizabeth is the quiet, somewhat naïve girl who's self-conscious about her body, Pamela's the sensual, promiscuous one, Gwen is the group's snarky, intelligent overachiever, and Alice's is the narrator and open-minded Team Mom.
- Genki Girl: Pamela, a cheerful, outgoing blonde and Loretta, the Fiery Redhead who works at Alice's father's music store.
- Rosalind, Alice's best friend back in Takoma Park.
- Girl Next Door: Alice herself.
- Good Bad Girl: Pamela Jones, another best friend of Alice's, and arguably the most sensual and
- Jill, who's mentioned to be sleeping around with Justin, Elizabeth's former crush.
- Good with Numbers: Gwen, who tutors Alice in Algebra at one point during the 8th grade.
- Gossipy Hens: Jill and Karen, two of Alice's girlfriends.
- Happily Married: Ben and Sylvia.
- In the final book, practically all the main characters, including the four main girls except for Pamela who seems quite happy to be single or dating someone on the side for most of the book's time, until towards the end where she finally got married at a rather late age to an old sailor.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Alice is smitten with her longtime boyfriend Patrick, an intelligent, overachieving redhead.
- High School Sweethearts: Alice and Patrick, Lori and Leslie, Justin and Jill
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Alice mentions repeatedly that she can't carry a tune and never has been.
- Hormone Addled Teenagers: Alice and her friends, the source of controversy with many parents.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: the main focus of Starting with Alice and The Agony of Alice, the first novel officially published in the Alice series.
- Important Haircut: Pamela receives one after she gets gum stuck in her hair, which forces her to get a short pixie cut that symbolizes her sudden "newfound maturity".
- Incompatible Orientation: Alice and Lori, a lesbian whom develops a crush on Alice.
- The Ingenue: Demure, conservative Elizabeth Price, who's apprehensive toward all matters regarding sex.
- Jerks with Hearts of Gold: Brian and Mark.
- Killed Off for Real: Mark, The Heart of the gang becomes involved in a tragic car accident that takes his life, which leaves a massive impact on the remaining characters.
- Kind Hearted Cat Lover: Alice, who once even had a kitten named Oatmeal.
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Marilyn Rawley was the light feminine to Crystal Harkins' dark.
- Elizabeth is the light to Pamela's dark.
- Lonely Rich Kid: Mark.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Pamela in the first few Alice books, although this character trait seems to fade away as she becomes more of the Good Bad Girl.
- Meet Cute: Alice and Patrick first met at a Sears store when Alice accidentally opens the wrong door and sees Patrick in his underwear.
- Missing Mom: Alice.
- Mommy Issues: Pamela, who maintains a distant relationship with her mother after she and her father divorce.
- My Beloved Smother / Overprotective Dad: Elizabeth has a pair of these.
- Naïve Everygirl: Alice, in spades, who's naïve and trusting to a fault and struggles with femininity through the absence of her mother. Reynolds herself mentioned that she intended Alice to be relatable to every girl out there and serve as a "best friend" of sorts to female teens.
- Elizabeth somewhat fits this to an extent as well, being awkward in terms of accepting her body.
- My Hair Came Out Green: played straight in Outrageously Alice.
- Nice Guy: Ben, Alice's father. Patrick also qualifies as Alice's Understanding Boyfriend.
- Only Sane Man / Team Mom: Alice can occasionally be this to her friends.
- The Philosopher: Lester changes his major to philosophy later in the series.
- The Pig Pen: Sarah, Alice's poverty-stricken friend back in Takoma Park.
- Papa Wolf: Ben to Alice and Lester.
- Perky Goth: Molly, a high school friend of Alice's who is later diagnosed with leukemia.
- Plucky Girl: Alice.
- Popular Is Dumb: Alice refers to a group of popular boys as the "Three Handsome Stooges" in All but Alice.
- Quirky Curls: Loretta Jenkins.
- Raised by Dudes: Alice, considering her mother passed away.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Elizabeth, who is considered rather attractive because of this.
- Retcon: the books series was first launched in the mid 1980s and has since had been added to sporadically for the past two decades, which makes exactly what time period the Alice books take place ambiguous. In Agony of Alice, some of the things mentioned make it clear that it does take place around 1980 - 1990, where as the series continued, newer things such as Facebook, Twitter and similar were frequently mentioned.
- Ridiculously Average Girl: Alice often feels this way, especially by comparison to Elizabeth and Pamela.
- School Girl Lesbians: Lori and Leslie
- School Newspaper Newshound: Alice becomes one during her high school years once she becomes involved with the newspaper staff.
- Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny: Elizabeth, many, many times.
- Sexy Priest: Alice's gorgeous coworker at her father's store eventually decides to become a priest. Her friends point out what a waste that is.
- She's Got Legs: Gwen, according to Alice and her friends.
- Shipper on Deck: Alice for her father and Sylvia ( she gets her wish) and Lester and Marilyn ( she doesn't.)
- Ship Sinking: Lester and Marilyn when she marries another man.
- Shotgun Wedding: Loretta, who gets pregnant after a one night stand.
- Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Alice, the series protagonist, whom is mentioned as having strawberry-blonde hair and green eyes, with an uncanny resemblance to her mother.
- Smitten Teenage Girl: Pamela throughout the series, during the field trip in their sophomore year, she gives a senior she's smitten with a blowjob.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Alice is often remarked as being the spitting image of her mother, so much that her Alzheimer's-stricken grandfather mistakes her for Marie during a family reunion.
- In the final book, Alice's daughter is described to have the same heart-shaped face and green eyes as she.
- Teen Genius: Gwen, an Ace who tutors Alice in Algebra, easily enrolls in several college-level courses while still a high school student, and aspires to be a doctor.
- Patrick Long, Alice's longtime boyfriend, who enrolls himself in an accelerated program that allows him to graduate a year earlier than the rest and gets accepted into a prestigious university in Chicago, despite deciding to spend a year studying abroad in Spain.
- Teen Pregnancy: Pamela gets pregnant in her junior year, although she later has a Convenient Miscarriage.
- The Quiet One: Alice's Dad, who is described as being "the shy type" of person.
- Elizabeth is occasionally seen as this among her group of friends.
- Sassy Black Woman: Gwen Wheeler.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Alice often considers herself rather plain by comparison to most of her girlfriends, but can be quite stunning whenever she chooses to work with her appearance.
- Shrinking Violet: Elizabeth often becomes this around boys, although she loosens up as the series goes on.
- The Smart Guy: Patrick.
- Those Two Girls: Jill and Karen.
- Tomboyish Nickname: Al.
- Troubled, but Cute: Scott, a temporary Love Interest of Alice's.
- True Companions: Alice, Pamela, Elizabeth, and Gwen.
- Weight Woe: Elizabeth becomes anorexic the summer before her freshman year.
- Unlucky Everydude: Lester.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Alice and Penny, who she never quite forgave for having temporarily broken her and Patrick up.
- Alice and Pamela in the first two books.
- Will They or Won't They?: Ben and Sylvia. They Do.
- Wise Beyond Her Years: Alice.
- You Go Girl: Alice often proves to be rather outspoken regarding certain topics and willingly defends her friend Lori's homosexuality once she and her love interest are taunted in the girl's locker-room.
- Youthful Freckles: Alice.