Phyllis Reynold Naylor
Simon & Schuster
I was SO PSYCHED to finally get my hands on this book- I have been an Alice fan since elementary school... I think this is book #26 or something in the series, which chronicles Alice's journey through puberty and now preparing for college.
The Alice Series is one of the most banned series of all time (check out the ALA website for more info on banned books). It is number 2 on the 2000-2009 list (after Harry Potter) and number 14 on the 1990-1999 list for being sexually explicit and unsuited to age group. HOWEVER, I think it perfectly correlates with what children are thinking about and curious about at each age. For example, I would not give a 10 year old the high school books, but I would give a 10 year old the books from when Alice is 10. When I have daughters, I will make sure that these books are on their shelves!
Alice is unique in that she is smart but not bookish, occasionally very impulsive while also developing a strong sense of responsibility, and above all, she thinks and feels very deeply about things. When this book opens, Alice is in the second semester of her senior year. During this book she decides where to go to college, attends the prom, and prepares for graduation. Alice branches out with a new project, Lester (her older brother) gets a crazy roommate, Jill's mysterious "plan" to snag Justin is played out, and the girls apply to work on a cruise ship for the summer! I expect that this book will be less controversial than others because the mild sexual content/discussion is "more appropriate" for a high school senior.
Personally, I really enjoyed this book, but if you have never read an Alice book before, don't start with this one! Start with the first book (Starting with Alice) and work your way on up. Part of the pleasure of this series is seeing how the characters change as they grow up, and it won't be as meaningful to read about Alice's current friendship with Patrick if you haven't read Alice Alone, for example.
Here's a teaser for any fans out there: "You and I are going to have dinner before the dance with the gang. But I've made our own plans for what we do after. It's your birthday you know."
For more information, you can also check out The Alice Blog.