Best friend

Question:

                   I’m a 11-year-old girl who’s a little confused by growing up, on the account everyone believes the way to a “clean and healthy” life is avoiding the subject. I was so glad (like every one of your zillion fans) when I found the Alice books. Well, actually, at first I wasn’t. I was kinda brainwashed by everyone about the “clean and healthy” thing, that the first time I saw the word “sex” or something on All but Alice, the first Alice book I read, I was pretty shocked, but forced myself to keep reading. I kept thinking, maybe I picked an adult book, like the Shopaholic series, but I didn’t think so. After reading the whole book, I hadn’t just decided Alice McKinley was a girl just like myself, but in fact she could be a new best friend, one that wouldn’t insult me because she was going through just the same things. 
 
The thing I’ve always admired about your writing style is that you write about everything–the pencil test (which appears in Alice In-Between, by the way), bras, sex, dating…and also that your books are really realistic. They teach girls who’ve grown up believing after a not-very-realistically-rough-patch, a handsome, cute Prince Charming will come along, sweep you up on his white horse and go galloping into the sunset, and the Royal Kingdom will be appalled at your life and banish your wicked stepmother, only you’re so kind you invite her back, when in actuality most girls would invite her back just to see her suffer! Oops, I haven’t finished my sentence yet. I mean, your books teach girls who’ve grown up with fairy tales that not everyone has a Prince Charming coming along, but friends definitely come along. 
 
You might be surprised to hear I’m also a writer (actually, I’m not, I’m just rambling along like I do in this email hoping I’ll please some editors, but in the meanwhile I’m enjoying myself), and I try so hard to be realistic like you. I’m constantly trying to make my characters interesting, funny, cool but yet realistic all the way. Okay, I’ve definitely rattled on enough to bore you now, because I’m just another fan and all that.
 
Well, anyway, I pray that I won’t lose touch with Alice, because even though she might not know it, she’s my best friend in growing up, and my best teacher. Alice is sort of like an older sister, or at least a great influence on me–like, don’t wear rayon dresses to a lingerie shower! (Also in Alice-In-Between 
 
So, anyway, I think every author should know how much each fan appreciates their books, even if they’re just rambling the same thing over and over again, and I’m glad I’ve taken some–and most certainly, your time–time to write this letter to you.
 
Phyllis replied:
 
I truly do appreciate it when readers take the time to write to me.  I’m so pleased to know that Alice could be a new best friend.  I’ve certainly enjoyed writing about her all these years. 

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