THE AGONY OF ALICE
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
In the summer between fifth and sixth grades, Alice McKinley moves to Silver Spring, Maryland with her father and her nineteen-year-old brother, Lester. This is a difficult time for Alice, because she's about to become a teenager, and she's keenly aware of the absence of her mother, who died when Alice was very young. When school starts, Alice longs to be assigned to Miss Cole's class, hoping that the beautiful young teacher will be a role model to her. Assigned to lumpy Mrs. Plotkin, Alice does her best to get transferred.
Sixth grade is full of hurdles and pitfalls, and Alice trips over all of them on her road to self-discovery. Shopping for jeans with her brother, comparing life experiences with her friends, and getting to know her new teacher are all events that bathe Alice in an agony of embarrassment and awkwardness.
Gawky and endearing, Alice is a heroine young readers can identify with, good-hearted but not perfect by any means. Alice's machinations to get closer to Miss Cole will be familiar to any reader who ever wanted to win the approval of an adult role model, and her search for someone to fill the gap of the mother she barely remembers will hit home, too. THE AGONY OF ALICE is a funny, touching novel for young readers.