Friday, October 20, 2006

Emma, 14, Reviews books 1 & 2 of the Alice McLeod Trilogy

Alice, I Think by Susan Juby

July 18
I’ve been giving it a lot of thought, and I’ve decided that maybe the helping professionals are right. Maybe I haven’t seen enough of life. Maybe I’m not growing enough, or in the right areas. I’m not one to take on a challenge, but it could be that my life could use some direction. But I don’t need goals for therapy. What I need is goals for my life. So that’s what I’m going to get…

Alice is not doing so hot, and she knows it. Never having been to a regular school or participated in a normal-kid-type activities, she is a social misfit. Her counselor at the Teens In Transition (Not In Trouble) Centre has just had a nervous breakdown, and her personal style leaves something to be desired. Matters are complicated when the new counselor decides Alice wants to go back to school. A serious makeover is in order, and preferably one that does not include helmet hair, tie-dyed muumuus, or contact with humans outside Alice’s immediate circle. This is gonna be good folks!

Susan Juby is the Canadian author of the Alice MacLeod trilogy, of which Alice, I Think is number one. The second and third books in the series are titled Miss Smithers and Alice MacLeod, Realist At Last. I recommend these books to kids (mostly girls) age 12-16.

Welcome to the life of Alice MacLeod, an unusual place for those not so pathetically maladjusted or cynically inclined. Here, a day-in-the-life is a cause for alarm, the first day of school is a life-changing experience, and a walk through the town a life-threatening one. From the Wonderbread-free zone that is the MacLeod household to the Wonderwagon that is their vehicle, from Irma’s Salon (Smithers) to MacGee’s Frolic (Prince George), from Corinne the Boss in her non-offgassing purple plastic jumpsuit, to Death Lord Bob in head-to-toe undertaker black, Alice’s world is a breeding ground for misunderstandings, bad taste and cannibalistic angelfish.

Miss Smithers by Susan Juby

January 10
I am a special girl. It was my mother's suggesting that I'm not that decided me. I mean, really, that's not the kind of thing that you want to let pass unchallenged.
I already suspected that this would be the year I would bloom, the year I would graduate from the ranks of the marginal into the realm of the practically normal (or even slightly above average), and today's events confirmed it...

Alice's life is just rolling along. She has entered the infamous Miss Smithers pageant, and spent the resulting $400 sponsorship money on her new, hopefully winning look. She has begun writing articles for her own 'zine, and is convinced she is a journalistic genius. She even has two real friends. But if she really wants to win the pageant, she's gonna need everyone's help, so she had better shut up, smile for the cameras, and community curl like she never has before...

Susan Juby is the Canadian author of the Alice MacLeod trilogy, of which Miss Smithers is number two. The first and third books in the series are titled Alice, I Think and Alice MacLeod, Realist At Last. I recommend these books to kids (mostly girls) age 12-16.

Miss Smithers is a hilarious look into the rather frightening mind of a teenage misfit. Alice is quirky, strong-willed, and unknowingly sweet... sometimes. Other times she's a bit unkind. But always, Alice's unique fashion sense, questionable grip on reality, and ever-changing morals, clashing spectacularly with the ditto, ditto, and ditto of the people around her, all come together in a hilarious novel that might just be too much for underachieving, unassuming, and totally underprepared Smithers, BC.

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