Alice the Brave

Alice the Brave

4.8 10
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
     
 

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A month before eighth grade begins, Alice realizes she is going to have to face something she's been afraid of forever. Everybody, she knows, is afraid of something: elevators, dogs, planes, spiders . . . but her fear is worse. It's going to bring absolute disaster to the rest of her summer, maybe to the rest of her life. The truth is she's afraid of deep… See more details below

Overview

A month before eighth grade begins, Alice realizes she is going to have to face something she's been afraid of forever. Everybody, she knows, is afraid of something: elevators, dogs, planes, spiders . . . but her fear is worse. It's going to bring absolute disaster to the rest of her summer, maybe to the rest of her life. The truth is she's afraid of deep water!

It's a hot August, and everyone in Alice's gang goes to Mark Stedmeister's swimming pool almost every day. Alice sits at the shallow end. She plays badminton. She makes excuses, and keeps her problem secret.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth and Pamela, Alice's two best friends, tackle problems of their own, and are more or less successful. Life is changing for everyone but Alice.

Bravery begins in little ways, with small steps. That's what Alice finally discovers. And after she faces this particular fear, she knows she can summon the courage to face other fears as well.

As in her previous adventures, Alice tackles some of the big problems of growing up with humor and enterprise and learns once again that a brother, a father, and friends can offer amazing amounts of help.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-Alice's friends are savoring their last month of vacation before entering eighth grade, spending every afternoon at Mark Stedmeister's pool-all except Alice, who is embarrassed to admit that she's terrified of deep water. Her father continues the romantic relationship he began in Reluctantly Alice (Atheneum, 1991) with her English teacher, Miss Summers. Alice wishes he would propose and supply her with a mother, but interferes and manipulates less than in previous titles about this engaging character; in fact, her longing for a mother is more understated as she begins to show her maturity and look to herself for answers. Her friend Elizabeth emerges from a phase of believing the human body and all its functions to be repulsive, and reads aloud explicit passages from the unexpurgated version of The Arabian Nights. Consumed by guilt about sneaking the book from her parents' bedroom, she seeks help from her priest. Meanwhile, Pamela is fascinated with passion and romance. Alice's problem is resolved when her older brother insists on teaching her how to swim, and she finishes the summer in triumph. The ends are tied up neatly, as usual, with much droll humor, poignant insight, and graceful narrative along the way. Naylor's understanding of adolescents is apparent, as each new situation totally absorbs the girls' attention and energy. The personal growth of the three adolescents keeps this seventh title in the series interesting as well as entertaining.-Joyce Adams Burner, formerly at Spring Hill Middle School, KS
Hazel Rochman
In the latest affectionate comedy about Alice, she spends the summer before eighth grade trying to overcome her secret fear of deep water. She's scared and too scared to say so. She's not sure if she'd rather die of embarrassment or die of drowning. With the lightest touch, Naylor shows that being in "over your head" is also a metaphor for taking chances. As always, Alice and her friends are intensely curious about sex ("mating" ) and about their developing bodies: in a hilarious chapter, they read the exciting bits from the unexpurgated "Arabian Nights", and Alice examines the "Playboy" centerfold. How do you learn to kiss? Alice wonders, how do you practice? In a story that ranges from the mundane (giving her friend a deodorant for smelly armpits) to the mysterious, Alice's wry, funny, vulnerable voice expresses every girl's fears about what is "normal" in an imperfect world.
Children's Literature - Denise Daley
Alice is an average thirteen year old who, like most girls her age, is overly concerned about boys, friendships, and personal hygiene. She is also extremely curious about sex and the topic is mentioned frequently throughout the book. This is secondary, though, to Alice's main problem which is her secret fear of deep water. This is a major problem because Alice's best friends plan on spending much of their summer vacation at Mark Stedmeister's family pool. Alice's fear turns into terror as Mark and his friends routinely pick a girl to throw into the pool. Should Alice avoid the pool and her friends all summer? Or should she attend the pool parties but try to hide her fear of the deep water? Will she spend the rest of her life afraid of pools and beaches? How can she solve this difficult problem? In this well-written and realistic story Alice learns that having to make a major decision can sometimes be just as scary as the problem itself. Naylor is the award winning author of the "Shiloh" books. She currently has over fifty books published, including over twenty in this "Alice" series. Reviewer: Denise Daley

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781442465824
Publisher:
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
05/22/2012
Series:
Alice , #7
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
320,444
File size:
4 MB
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor has written more than 135 books, including the Newbery Award–winning Shiloh and the Alice series. She lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland. To hear from Phyllis and find out more about Alice, visit AliceMcKinley.com.

Read an Excerpt

When we were having dinner that night, I got an idea. I was thinking about the girl who brought a note to school last year because she had a heart condition and could't take gym. What if I carried a card with me at all times, signed by Dad, saying that I'm allergic to chlorine and can't ever get water up my nose?

"How do you know when you're allergic to something?" I asked.

"You break out in hives, your eyes roll back, and your body goes into spasms," said Lester.

Dad gave him a took. "You usually break out in a rash, Al. Why? What do you think you're allergic to?"

"Chlorine."

"How so?"

"Oh, I sort of itch after I've been in Mark's swimming

pool," I said.

"Sounds more like a sun sensitivity to me," said Dad. "Maybe we ought to have the doctor look you over."

"Not!" I said. "Why can't you just give me a note saying I can't get water up my nose?"

"Why should I give you a note?" said Dad. "If you don't want water up your nose, don't put it there."

"Al, if you were allergic to chlorine, you'd start itching every time you took a drink of water," said Lester.

They had me there.

Monday I stayed home from the pool, but the day wasn't a total loss because that night Dad took me to Sears after we ate, and I picked out a bedroom set. My first thought was that since I was probably soon to be an ex-member of the Pool Group, plus I probably wouldn't have another friend for the rest of my natural life, all I needed was a hammock suspended from the ceiling and wicker baskets for clothes. I could fill the rest of the space with plants, so that when I went to my room it would be like going on safari. No one would be able to find me, and I'd never have to clean anything— just water it.

Dad suggested I choose a double bed, so if we ever had a houseful of company there would be more sleeping space. I got a double bed with a long low dresser and chest of drawers, and drapes and a bedspread with a jungle motif-lions and leopards mingled with exotic plants. And because I'd chosen one of the least expensive sets, Dad said I really could have a large rubber plant in one corner. He even bought me a pillow shaped like a koala for the bed. The stuff was delivered two days later, and when everything was set up, it looked like the kind of exotic bedroom where Scheherazade would have entertained her sultan.

I had to invite Elizabeth and Pamela for a sleep-over, of course, and they loved the room. They said I had good taste, but you know what's weird? When you're worried about the one big thing that's wrong with you, nothing else seems to matter. I wasn't Alice of the Good Taste or Alice with a Good Sense of Rhythm, but Alice the Girl Who Can't Go in Water Over Her Head. Only nobody knew it, which made it even worse.

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