Miss Smithers

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Overview

In spite of the premature publication of my 'zine and resulting renewed social ostracism, things are happening for me! I've been stood up by the coolest girl in school, I have a Jesus bracelet, I ate dinner at a steak restaurant and lived to tell, I may be a virgin until I marry, I'm a Miss Smithers candidate, and I HAVE LEATHER PANTS! I even feel ready for the first official event of the pageant, the Etiquette Workshop.

No longer homeschooled and socially isolated, Alice McLeod...

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Reprint Good [ No Hassle 30 Day Returns ] [ Edition: Reprint ] Publisher: HarperTempest Pub Date: 5/1/2004 Binding: Hardcover Pages: 336.

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Overview

In spite of the premature publication of my 'zine and resulting renewed social ostracism, things are happening for me! I've been stood up by the coolest girl in school, I have a Jesus bracelet, I ate dinner at a steak restaurant and lived to tell, I may be a virgin until I marry, I'm a Miss Smithers candidate, and I HAVE LEATHER PANTS! I even feel ready for the first official event of the pageant, the Etiquette Workshop.

No longer homeschooled and socially isolated, Alice McLeod has: 1. a female friend, George; 2. a male friend, Goose; 3. a $400 clothing allowance to dress herself for the Miss Smithers pageant.

Following on the debut of Alice, I Think, Susan Juby's delightful second novel is about finding the perfect outfit and finding oneself, about winning a pageant and winning at love.

In this delightful sequel to Juby's "Alice, I Think," Alice enters the Miss Smithers pageant to claim the $400 clothing allowance, and comments on the whole experience in a zine.

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Editorial Reviews

Horn Book Magazine
Misfit Alice McLeod, trying so desperately to grow up with some semblance of normalcy (see Alice, I Think, rev. 7/03) believes she has finally achieved that dream. "Concrete proof...is that just last week my parents had a party for my sixteenth birthday and there were people there who were not blood relatives. One of them was even my age!" Perhaps a small step, but one that encourages Alice to continue her self-directed growth and enter the Miss Smithers pageant as the representative from the local Rod and Gun Club. She records her observations, first in a private diary and later in a self-published 'zine, as a series of narcissistic concerns and wicked comments on the manners and social customs of those around her - the other competitors in the pageant, the religious group courting her chastity pledge, her counselor, and an ever-widening assortment of her remote British Columbia town's weird and wacky residents. While Alice's social naiveté leads to a bluntness her friends and family may not want to hear, it also makes her a charismatic character with strong appeal. B.C.
KLIATT
A British Columbian (Canada) raised by hippie-like parents and home-schooled since the first grade, Alice MacLeod blames her upbringing and alternative schooling for making her the social misfit she is today. So, when her parent's friend Finn offers her an opportunity to represent the Smithers Rod and Gun Club in the Miss Smithers pageant, Alice jumps at the chance. It's not just the competition, or the $400 clothing allowance, but the chance to define herself. Alice's attempts at self-definition include pursuit of a sexual encounter, therapy, alcohol experimentation, meat eating, zine-writing, karate and other activities that may or may not be dangerous until you combine them with snarky Alice's penchant for getting into deep trouble. This entertaining sequel to Alice, I Think easily stands alone. Alice is witty, humorous, and smart; she is someone who will be liked in spite of her eccentricities, as will many of the charming secondary characters that surround her. KLIATT Codes: S—Recommended for senior high school students. 2004, HarperCollins, 324p., Ages 15 to 18.
—Lynne Pisano
VOYA
In a field of young adult fiction saturated with female characters who struggle with sex, friends, and fitting in, this novel is the Catcher in the Rye-only funnier. Alice MacLeod of Juby's first YA novel, Alice, I Think (HarperCollins, 2003/VOYA August 2003), has been sponsored by the Rod and Gun Club of remote Smithers, British Columbia, to compete against local girls for the honor of Miss Smithers. She is not a beauty pageant kind of girl. For example, she spends her $400 clothing allowance on a pair of black leather pants from the only biker store in town. But most of the other candidates are not the type either. When she prints her feelings about other contestants in her 'zine, and they are read by everyone, suddenly the townies see her in a different light, and Alice finds herself in interesting and memorable situations. This novel continues the hilarious tale of Alice in an offbeat narrative, and deals with small-town life in strange and interesting ways. Most enjoyable are her reflections on life and her reactions to the zany residents of her hometown. Juby has a flair for humor, and the story is a wonderful follow-up to the first book. This refreshing, funny tale is not to be missed. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, HarperCollins, 336p., and PLB Ages 12 to 18.
—Victoria Vogel
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Alice MacLeod, 16, had been homeschooled since being pulled out of first grade for thinking she was a hobbit. Now she attends alternative school, and describes herself as "a total misfit," so she is understandably surprised when the Smithers Rod and Gun Club asks her to be their representative for the local beauty pageant. She keeps a diary of all of her school and pageant misadventures, including cantankerous descriptions of her hippie parents, friends, and fellow contestants. Alice's meanderings through a religious group, alcohol experimentation, and fruitless hopes for a first sexual encounter seem contrived for their shock value. Although she is certainly intelligent and insightful (with a very sharp cutting edge), she never seems to understand that she's her own worst enemy until the end. By that point, it's too little too late, and readers will have trouble caring if she gets it or not. She seems to veer from one ridiculous or dangerous situation to the next, and blames much of it on everybody else (sometimes correctly, but often not). Despite its wit and spearing of inane beauty contests, teens will have trouble finding this book's heart, or Alice's.-Paula J. LaRue, Van Wert City Schools, OH Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The uncertain heroine of Alice, I Think (2003) returns for another hilarious turn as the Most Maladjusted Teen in Smithers, British Columbia (pop. 5,000). Having acquired both a best friend and a boyfriend, Alice is now poised to conquer the world by entering the Miss Smithers Pageant, a months-long competition that will test her speaking ability, fashion sense, and resolute lack of talent-as well as both friendship and relationship. Alice is under no illusions: "Being the nothing who gets nothing doesn't seem like that great a strategy. I've been using that technique for the last sixteen years. . . ." As in its predecessor, the real strength of this offering is Alice's voice, a combination of piercing observation and classic teen self-absorption, punctuated here by her efforts as an underground 'zine journalist. What makes it even stronger, however, is the organizational principle lent by the Miss Smithers contest: its varied and ridiculous events (including possibly the funniest fashion show in modern literature) pace Alice's search for self-definition as she tries by turns born-again Christianity, life as a bad girl, and the discipline of the martial arts. Utterly, absolutely sidesplitting. (Fiction. 12+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060515478
  • Publisher: HarperTempest
  • Publication date: 5/11/2004
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 336
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Customer Reviews

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( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Equal parts humor and sarcasm make this book a great read

    Like many good stories, Miss Smithers starts with an offer that Alice can't refuse--especially if she wants to prove to everyone that she really is a special girl. Being previously homeschooled and a bit of a loner, Alice is surprised when the local Rod and Gun Club asks her to be their representative at the Miss Smithers Beauty Pageant. That is until she hears about the four hundred dollar allottment for clothing. At that point, much to her mother's horror, Alice is prepared to participate in anything.

    Unlike higher profile pageants, Miss Smithers has enough events that are varied and vague enough that every participant has a chance of being good at something. Surely that must also include a moderately well-adjusted teen who used to think she was a hobbit, right?

    After one botched newsletter distribution and the purchase of questionable attire for a beauty pageant, Alice begins to question her initial (over)confidence at winning Miss Smithers. Of course, it's only then that Alice really starts to learn and grow from her brief experience as a beauty queen.

    Like Alice, I Think before it, Miss Smithers has received some negative reviews from people who argue they can't connect with Alice. For my part, I can't understand why as I love Alice who seems to be the embodiment of the simultaneously apathetic and overeager teen found inside everyone.

    Other negatives included a review that railed against the discussion of underage sex and drinking found in this book. There are two sides to that issue. As a teen I read a lot of books with characters who had sex and drank. Most of my friends and family will agree these readings had no detriment on my moral code. There are also a lot of books out there that are far more explicit about both topics.

    In relation to this novel: yes Alice does get drunk, and yes she does consider sex quite a bit. But she also decides to take a chastity vow and spends a good amount of time contemplating what Jesus really would do. All in the same novel. Like most sixteen-year-old girls, Alice changes her mind a lot. As such, Juby creates a realistic albeit sarcastic protagonist with a well-rounded variety of experiences in this story.

    Like the first novel in this trilogy, Miss Smithers does follow a diary format. The "standards" of that genre are adhered to a bit more loosely here with dated entries reading more like the usual prose. Not to worry though, this novel features a different kind of gimmick instead of the diary entries. Interspersed between chapters, Alice includes a handy newsletter (handtyped) detailing pageant events as well as a spreadsheet tallying each entrant's points and progress toward the win. These newsletters are also a great way to look at Alice's increasing maturity throughout the story as she begins to take more pride in the competition and becomes more familiar with each of the contestants.

    Equal parts humor and sarcasm make this book a great read for anyone who would never usually pay attention to beauty pageants in books or otherwise.

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  • Posted December 11, 2008

    A Pageant Like No Other

    Miss Smithers, a novel written by Susan Juby, is about an extraordinary girl who enters a pageant and learns about the process of becoming one of the popular girls along the way. The thing that drew my attention to this book is its colorful cover. Also, when I read what the title of the book was it reminded me of my best friend because one of her many nicknames is "Smithers". The reason I chose Miss Smithers is because I was looking for a teen novel as well as a novel that looked as though it had a lot of drama in it. But like the saying goes, you can't judge a book by its cover. That was very true with this book. The things I disliked about Miss Smithers are that it takes way too long to get into the book. It's too drawn out and doesn't seem to get right to the point it's trying to make. Another thing is that it wasn't as drama filled as I had hoped it to be. It was quite boring actually. However, with every dislike there is at least one like. The one thing I liked about this book is that the main character in Miss Smithers is just like any other teenager trying to find out who she is and become the best at what she loves doing, which is to become a journalist. <BR/>The main character, Alice, goes through many situations in the novel Miss Smithers. The situations that she goes through are like many situations that teenagers today go through. These situations include urge to be popular, acceptance by parents, friendships, relationship problems, and religious problems. Throughout the novel the author throws all of these situations at you all at once making it difficult to grasp the situation or the action going on during the chapters. Something to keep in mind though while reading this is that life is very similar to the way the author treats you as you are reading Miss Smithers. Life is unexpected and you never know what's going to be thrown at you, just like with everything that Susan Juby throws at you throughout Miss Smithers. <BR/>I would recommend this novel only if you are willing to read a book that has all of these complicated situations coming at you all at once. In my opinion it was a very boring book but it had its moments that were fairly decent. Otherwise, I would not recommend this book to anyone. So if you want to read it, go for it and I hope you enjoy it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2004

    So funny

    Great! Alice is the best character.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2004

    AMAZING

    I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT'S THE MOST CRAZY AND OUTRAGES BOOK I HAVE EVER READ. YET IT'S STILL DOWN TO EARTH.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2004

    Unusual...

    Alice McLeod is offered four hundred dollars to represent the local gun club in the Miss Smithers competition. Four hundred dollars to spend on clothes is a dream come true, especially when she imagines being able to stretch it all the local versions of Good Will or the Salvation Army. Added bonuses are she will get an inside scoop for the paper she produces and horrify her parents who strongly disapprove of the blatant anti feminism of a beauty contest and the principals inherent in a shooting club. .................. There are enough events in the contest to assure that almost anyone can score well in one or two of them. Yet, it is not the contest that will be the most educational for Alice. The reactions and politics that enter her life as she comes under the spotlight are a revelation. She will get fashion advice from bikers, find herself in a fight with supposedly respectable young women, and shock her parents by converting to a Christian lifestyle and chastity. While there can be only one queen, Alice finds there can be several winners. ............... *** Miss Smithers is unusual. Its satirical look at life is told from a first person point of view. While some scenes are difficult to imagine, that does not detract from their realism. Alice is in her own version of wonderland, strange but possibly true. ***

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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