I’m happy to announce that Simon and Schuster is going to put all 28 books of the Alice series in a collection, so that you may purchase all the books at once, if you like. It has been difficult to decide on the best way to do this, since 28 books, even in paperback, are a lot to carry. The plan is to make 3 boxed sets–the first containing the 5 books of Alice in grade school; the next 10 books of Alice in middle school; and the third, the 13 books of high school and beyond. We haven’t decided just how they will look yet. But all will go on sale at the same time, and the third set will include an index, listing all your favorite scenes. We anticipate that the collection will be ready by the summer of 2016. Enjoy!
I really need advice on something. I absolutely adore your books and want to become a writer myself when I grow up by the way. Well the situation is, I am in year nine and recently moved back to my old school. The friendship groups have changed, obviously, but the group I’m in the ‘leader’ had a massive fight with the other group. She is so against them, wants to get them all expelled and all that. She says I have to pick which group to be in and I just want to be friends with everyone. And some of the people in the group I can’t hang out with have known me for ages and are my really good friends.
I don’t know what to do. The ‘leader’ of my group is basically controlling who I hang out with, what I post on Instagram anything. If it’s anything to do with them then she gets so angry and the whole group turn against me. I don’t know what to do.I would just really like to hear your advice because you are one of my role models and I highly look up to you.
I think it’s time to ask yourself some questions: If the school population is really so segregated into two groups, why are you in the group with this kind of a leader? Why aren’t you with your “really good friends”? Is this the way you want to live your life, with someone else telling you what to do and whom you can hang out with? Here’s a fact: not everyone in your life is going to like you, and you aren’t going to like “everyone.” But I do appreciate your attitude that you would like to be more friendly with different types of people. I suggest you look around and make some brand new friends that aren’t attached to any group that dictates what they can do.
I am DELIGHTED that Simon & Schuster will be releasing all the Alice books in one collection; one of the things I like is having all my books match – and since Alice is one of my all-time favourite series, I will definitely be investing in this. Thank you, and thanks S&S, for this! I am really looking forward to summer 2016! ;) Any chance that you’ll do any kind of a tour to promote this? I’d love to meet you and get a couple of the books signed. Many thanks for all of Alice’s stories.
So am I! I want to see them altogether on my shelf too. I went on a cross-country book tour for the last Alice book two years ago. Right now I’m traveling and speaking about “A Shiloh Christmas.”
This is the first time I’ve sent an email to an author – I considered handwriting a letter, but my penmanship is terrible and I’d rather it be legible :) I wanted to thank you. Your Alice books are something else – I had no idea you had continued the series (having only a few of the titles when I was a child), so I was delighted to see that there was a final book available. And it far exceeded my expectations, I don’t remember the last time a book had me crying quite like that.
Alice influenced me far more than I realized – I recently treated myself to a copy of every single book in the series (and yes, I just saw your post about a collection coming but I am impulsive and impatient with book-buying). Re-reading through her adventures reminded me of the origins of so many things that I still say and do (like keeping a journal of “backwards” things that happen) – it felt like spending an afternoon with old friends. Being a bit of a solitary creature (I’m an only child through and through), I had forgotten how much I was able to get lost in your books and get the feeling of belonging and friendship – it’s better than therapy, quite frankly.
If you had asked me last month, I would have had a million questions for you about their futures and the rest of the story….but you’ve already handled that with your beautiful last book. So instead this is going to be just a big thank you. Thank you for creating a set of characters that I “fit in” with, for having them go through real struggles and real questions and not have the books over influenced by trends and the media (like so many young adult novels are nowadays). Thank you so much for writing these – no matter how low I feel sometimes, I can pick any of the Alice books up and within minutes, be absorbed in her familiar world and have my troubles be on pause.
Thank you for Alice. You rock
I so appreciate your email. This is what I hear most from readers: that the Alice books are so real. Probably because my own feelings, and some of my own experiences, or friends’ experiences, are in the book. I guess we write the kinds of books we would like to read, and I could have used a few Alice books when I was growing up.
I am a huge Alice fan! I enjoyed reading every book from the series. I am also a reader who likes to read books that are written in two or more different perspectives. So, I am not asking you to write the whole series in another character’s perspective, but would you have time to write certain scenes from another character’s perspective? Such as the scene of Alice’s date at the country club with Patrick; but written from his perspective. Like what he felt during the date or Pamela’s thoughts when she hides in Alice’s house. I don’t want to tell you what to write, so I’ll leave whatever perspectives you want to write to you. I understand that you are busy so I won’t mind if you turn down my request.
If I had 48-hour days and four hands, I could do this and it would be fun, but there are SO many other books I want to write, and I don’t just write scenes with nowhere to go. But you might have fun trying your hand at this!
I’d like to share my personal journey with the Alice series with you because it has given me so much joy – well, not quite over the years, but you will see:
All my girlfriends at school discovered them around the time I was 10 or 11, and we’d exchange and discuss all copies that were available in German at that time. Eventually, we started to outgrow them – plus the German editions had only been published up until the 14th book. (I think, they still are, but now I’m a proficient reader in English anyway.) A few weeks ago, I discovered “I like him, he likes her” on Amazon and wasn’t too excited about it, but it was irresistibly cheap and I needed some more enjoyable reading than what four years of law school have put me through. So, here I am, 23 years old, exploring Alice’s world for the first time in years, and it was among the oddest but most heartwarming experiences I’ve had in literature.
Twelve years ago, Alice was older than me: Liz got her first period before I did, Alice dated Patrick before I met my first boyfriend, and she had all these remarkable people around her, who helped her grow and mature. The only thing where I was way ahead of her, were my pierced earlobes, because my mum had taken care of that when I was an infant. In some ways, Alice used to be a role model, whether by making the right and the kind decisions or recognising and undoing her wrongs. When I returned to Alice’s world, I felt so close to her way of thinking (or your way of writing from the narrator’s perspective) and was back in a familiar place. At the same time, she had turned from an older sister to a younger one – as if I had become Carol, having been through so much that occupied her thoughts in her final years at high school. It was only now that I felt that protective, rooting for her goals and dreams like I would for a real person. Now that I am around Lester’s age, I find myself cheering her on. I admire her even more, because I wholeheartedly wish more people were as considerate as she is – one of the biggest advantages of being Alice in betwen, don’t you think? While I used to believe that most grown-ups were mature, or at least not as immature as teenagers are stereotypically seen, some have shown unexpected ignorance, obliviousness and selfishness since I entered the adult world. Alice, on the other hand, is a marvelous daughter, sister and friend, and she is so very, very, outstandingly considerate towards, well, anyone. If she were real, I would be so proud to know her.
The last time I visited my parents’ house, I took the first two books in the series back to my place, and read them in one evening. Although I hadn’t thought about the series as a whole for years, I realised numerous incidents and storylines from the first half of the series had always been on my mind when I encountered something/someone comparable in my teenage life: the times when Alice wanted to brush her teeth before kissing, Crystal fixing her perm, when Denise bullied her and later committed suicide, the fact that Rhode Island is tiny, Carol telling her that compatibility in a relationship comes down to many other factors than sex, Lester trying to bulk up by devouring lots of meat after his workout, shopping liszts. In a way, these big or small, meaningful or random moments would emerge from my subconscious and guide me through a new experience with some aftertaste of déjà-vu. Thank you for being my Mrs. Plotkin and Carol in many ways when my parents were more like Aunt Sally and my friends were like Pamela. Congratulations on creating memorable content through an American girl’s daily life.
By the way, the Wikipedia Article on the series says it has been banned from several libraries in the US, which I find is utter nonsense. Young adults should find out about sex, sexuality, consent and all biological/medical and emotional aspects as soon as they wish to, and in a safer environment than porn. If I had strong opinions on one issue, I’d still rather have my child consult five sources with varying stances than none at all. Have you seen the “Last week tonight” with John Oliver about sex education on youtube? It’s both hilarious and thought-provoking. The way your books address these topics helps counter false assumptions and insecurites, never suggesting any vulgarity, preaching or sensationalism. I think it was the right way.
There is so more I’d like to talk about, but at least the most important bits are out of the way. As for my questions… I’ve been wondering about the following things, but been too afraid of spoilers to search your website:
1. Was Alice’s roommate named after Glee actress Amber Riley? (Her character on Glee attended fictional McKinley High School.) Coincidence?
2. Did you always had Gwen in mind? What were the reasons why you added her to the Alice-Liz-Pamela trio in high school?
3. Is there anything major you would want to change or rearrange in the earlier books if you could? Or were you happy to just go one step at a time, finding out about Alice’s story at the same time that she was, and didn’t find the huge amount of backstory constraining?
That’s it for now. Yesterday, I ordered “Now I’ll tell you everything” right after finishing the preview in “You and me and the space in between” and can’t wait for Alice to overtake me on the road that is life again. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for her, her friends and for her family. I would be delighted if you could reply to my questions and I wish you all the best.
Thank you so much for your long letter. I’m not very good at matching names with nationalities, but my guess is that you are from Korea, reading German, and living in….the U.S.? But I’m so glad you found the Alice books and they became your friends. (By the way, “I Like Him, He Likes Her,” are the three bound books of Alice’s freshman year of high school; “Please Don’t Be True” are the three books of her sophomore year; “It’s Not Like I Planned it This Way,” are the books of her junior year, and “You and Me and Space Between,” are the senior year books. You might want to read them in that order, ending with “Now I’ll Tell You Everything.”
I didn’t worry about the back story too much. I tried to write each book so that even if a reader didn’t know about the ones that came before, I would tell just enough to let her enjoy the story, and hope I succeeded. If you really truly want to follow Alice from the beginning, you would probably enjoy the three prequels–“Starting with Alice” (Alice in 3rd grade); “Alice in Blunderland,” (4th), and “Lovingly Alice,” (which includes a hilarious scene in which Alice asks about sex at the dinner table (Alice in 5th), and Lester, of course, is only a teen, and mortified.
I can’t remember how much I anticipated Gwen, or any of the other characters. Some of them sort of drop out of Alice’s life, some meet up with her again, some are long-time friends, and some you don’t hear of again, because this is life.
I can’t think of anything I would change–because I covered so much of Alice’s life, if I skimped on something in one book, I probably added more in the next, I’m not sure.
You know, I think of bits and pieces of Alice’s life too. Sometimes when I do something incredibly embarrassing, I tell myself I’m having an “Alice moment.” Next year all 28 of the Alice books, including the prequels are coming out in a paperback set. We haven’t quite decided how we’ll title it yet, but I’ll be sure to announce it when it reaches the bookstores.
Thank you so much for your long detailed letter. I enjoyed reading and answering it.
I’m 14 (15 in 2 days!). When I was younger, I read some of Alice’s earlier life books and I read a few of her older life ones as I grew older. Now I’ve been re reading the entire series for a while, and I’m currently on Achingly Alice. I’m having so much fun re living my childhood and re visiting all of Alice’s fun adventures. Your books have had such an enormous impact on my life and I cannot thank you enough for bringing them into the world. Thank you for taking the time to read (and hopefully reply*:) happy) to my email. I will send you another one when I’m [almost] done with the series.
I love hearing that girls are rereading the whole series again. Thanks for taking time to write and tell me about it.
I hope you are doing great! Every once in a while I go to the Alice McKinley blog and read through some of the fan letters that you post. Boy, they make me smile a lot! Why? Because I find myself reading the letters, and it’s all the same things I’d like to tell you myself!
I have written to you twice before and receiving a response from you to my email filled my heart with joy and love! Thank you so much! Thank you that you take your time to carefully answer to all your readers. This is so kind and thoughtful of you, and it means so much for every reader to read a response from you.
I’ve promised to write you again, and I think now is the appropriate time for my next email. This time I wanted to tell you a little bit about one big impact that the story of Alice had on me and my life. I grew up in Switzerland where I started reading the Alice books when I was around 10 years old. Ever since I’ve read the books, every once in a while (lately less often but more dearly) I’d pick up a book and dive into her world which I felt being part of. Growing up with Alice, I dreamed about living in a surrounding where Alice lived. And I managed to make my dream come true! This year, I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to do an exchange program at a university in North Carolina where I could live for 3 months and spend a summer (a summer almost like in Maryland). I thank you for giving me a friend like Alice, and a world I read about and that felt so real to me that I could see myself in it. This gave me the strenght and hope to reach out for my dreams and work hard to make them come true. I wish I had had the chance to meet you in person at a reading or something like that. I carry you in my heart, dear Phyllis, because you’re a wonderful person, author, rolemodel, and Alice-mother!! Your books do mean so much that they impact and change our lives, give us hope, strenght and comfort! And the best thing is that we can hand down the books and Alice to our younger generations.
How wonderful that you could come to this country for three months! I would have loved to be a mouse in the corner and see your reactions, good and bad, to Americans. I hope that most of your experiences were good ones and that we were warm and welcoming.
One of my granddaughters had a chance to be part of a volunteer program in Bolivia for six weeks, and that was such a unique experience for her. I’m so pleased that the Alice books have been meaningful to you, and helpful in some way. Thank you for taking time to write to me. I will treasure your email.