Starting with Alice, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

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Four stars, read in October 2012.

I didn’t know this book was a prequel, but for my first time reading the series I suppose it works just as well as beginning with the original first book. After just one book I understand why this series is so popular, and I went and checked out the other two prequels the day after finishing. I’ll probably be reading them this week since I only have two shifts at work.

Alice is an adorable character, and I love her dad and brother, too. The family has just moved from Chicago to Maryland, and Alice is starting third grade in a new place. At the beginning of the book she gets a Barbie doll, and her brother points out that real girls don’t look like Barbie, so she strips down and compares herself in the mirror before deciding that Barbie is a stupid toy (this might be some of the nudity to which the challenges refer, or it could be something from the later books; I don’t know yet). The Alice series and I were already off on the right foot at this point. It’s your average young-girl coming-of-age type series, and I’ve only read this one book so far, but if the rest of the series is as good, I’m planning on loving it. I only wish I’d gotten to read them when I was Alice’s age.

First book in the series (The Agony of Alice) published 1985. The books in the Alice series were the second-most challenged books in the decade of 2000-2009, and fourteenth-most from 1990-1999.

Reasons challenged: nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint.

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