Intensely Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Publisher: Atheneum (June 2, 2009)
Reading Level: Young Adult
288 pages (hardcover)
Summary: This twenty-fourth title in the popular Alice series will grab readers with the contemporary coming-of-age story of friendship, family, love, sex, loyalty, faith, work, and loss. Alice, 17, serves as a bridesmaid at her cousin’s wedding (and enjoys the wild, sometimes raunchy, bachelorette party), volunteers with her friends at a homeless shelter, visits her boyfriend in his college dorm (she packs condoms but does not use them), and much more. At the story’s climax, a tragic loss makes Alice confront what she believes. As candid, funny, and touching as the rest of the series. Grades 9-12. --Hazel Rochman (from Booklist)
Review: I first started reading the Alice series in 4th or 5th grade. I have grown up with these books and have loved each and every one of them. Intensely Alice starts off with Alice and her friends just wanting to do something for the summer. She sees that her family have already made plans for themselves and decides that she is going to go to Chicago and visit her boyfriend Patrick at his college dorm. Meanwhile, the gang meets up at Mark Stedmeister's pool, like they've done every year, since middle school. One of the first things I've noticed about this book, was the character interaction and I got to know the characters better.
Alice gets a called from her cousin Carol and is asked to be a bridesmaid at her wedding -in Chicago- after one of the original bridesmaid pregnancy takes toll. Alice still doesn't know where she'll be sleeping when she visits Patrick, so she packs "things" she might need for the visit. In Chicago, her cousin takes her and the other bridesmaid to a fun bachelorette party and prepare for the wedding. This part of the book brought back memories from the other books and I remembered all the things Alice and her older cousin have shared over the years and how Alice looked up to her for advice, since her own mother was dead. The wedding turned out to be great and Alice is finally able to go see her boyfriend Patrick at the university.
Alice and Patrick remain to be my favorite couple in the series and I absolutely loved the parts of them in this book. I don't want to give away any spoilers but their relationship grows a lot more in this book. Once Alice gets back home, her and her friends volunteer at a soup kitchen. Now, one thing I didn't expect to read in this book was about religion and spirituality. After volunteering at the soup kitchen, she contemplates a lot about her faith and is her faith in God is tested in a huge way after a death. The death took me by surprise, it had me in tears. I thought this book was really good and the ending was phenomenal.
Total score: 41/50
Favorite character: It's hard to pick a favorite character since I think all of them are awesome, but I really liked Patrick in this book. I always felt that he always cared about work and studying more than anything else, but we see a different side to him in this one, we see his social life and how he spends his time in Chicago.
Overall: I thought this book was one of the best Alice books in a couple of years. I loved it!
Cover: D, because I honestly just didn't like the scenery, the colors or how the people were positioned...