School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—This book picks up where Alice in Charge (S & S, 2010), left off. Alice begins her second trimester of senior year with the realization that she's never competed for anything before. In an effort to make the most of her remaining time, she decides to try out for one of the lead roles in the school musical, but landing it means cutting back on her other activities and meeting new people. Will she be able to stay faithful to her boyfriend, Patrick, while he's at college? And what will happen next year, when Patrick studies abroad in Spain and her friends are all at different schools? Although it's refreshing to read a YA novel in which the female protagonist is smart and funny and has a good relationship with her family, readers new to the series will long for something more exciting from Alice and her one-dimensional friends. Very little happens in this installment; the plot lacks focus and drags along slowly. The resolutions are too neat, and the writing walks a fine line between being sunny and saccharine. Purchase for avid fans of the series.—Rachael Myers-Ricker, Horace Mann School, Bronx, NY
Children's Literature - Haley Maness
Alice is finally in her senior year of high school and is satisfied with the way her life has turned out. She has a steady college boyfriend, and a tight-knit group of loyal friends, as well as a job and a new car. In the second semester, Alice decides to try out for the school play, "Cheaper By the Dozen." She feels as if she can deeply relate to oldest sister Anne. When she and her two best friends get three of the lead roles, they are very excited, because the play will be their final "experience" of senior year before prom. Alice runs into trouble when her on-stage boyfriend wants their relationship to be offstage as well. Alice is a relatable, realistic portrayal of a high school senior and readers that have grown up alongside her will recognize familiar milestones from their own lives reflected in Alice's. Although this series now has over 25 books, each new addition is a fresh look at a teenage life. Reviewer: Haley Maness
The newest entry in a series that sits proudly in second place on the ALA's list of Most Banned/Challenged titles of the 21st century (behind Harry) takes its insecure but sensible 17-year-old narrator through her final semester of high school.
Alice navigates past such fixed points as Senior Prom, Prank Day and graduation as well as more personal triumphs and tribulations, from getting one of those flat business envelopes from her first-choice college to finding out that her boyfriend Patrick will be spending the next year in Spain. As ever, Naylor-as-Alice fills the interstices with teachable moments including (but not limited to) the short-lived appearance of a "Restricted Reading" shelf in the school library, watching an older co-worker and her loving husband with their new baby, coping with stress-related insomnia, attending a pregnant classmate's baby shower and wedding and reacting to a friend's admission that she's saving up for a labiaplasty. It's all embedded in a milieu of quotidian detail, familiar characters and memories from previous episodes that add both continuity and a matter-of-fact credibility to the advice and insight.
The author leaves Alice and friends posing for graduation pictures and looking forward to pre-college summer jobs aboard a cruise ship that will frame the next few volumes in this richly entertaining, reliable and informative guide to growing up. (Fiction. 13-15)