From School Library Journal
Grade 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
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 5^-7. 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. Hazel Rochman