"Alice Macleod, Realist at Last," Susan Juby's latest novel, continues the adventures of Alice Macleod, a self- proclaimed outcast who was home schooled for ten years before attending a public school. This is the third installment in a highly successful series which also includes the books "Alice, I Think" and "Miss Smithers."
The book begins during the summer before seventeen-year-old Alice's senior year and her world seems to be falling apart. Her mother has been jailed for protesting the building of a toxic plant. Her boyfriend has recently moved to Scotland with his parents. Her empathetic counselor, Bob, has been temporarily replaced by the detached Ms. Deitrich. To top it all off, the family's home-based candle making business has been snuffed out leaving Alice and her father in need of some fast employment.
And that's just the start of Alice's troubles.
This engaging story is told in the first person through pieces of Alice's diary and snippets of her tentatively titled screenplay "Of Moose and Men" where she has cast herself in the lead. The narrative devices skillfully convey Alice's unique outlook on life, but it might take several pages for new readers to warm up to her voice. Her sense of humor is quirky and often times quite dark. Alice's previous exploits are occasionally alluded to during the course of this novel, but reading the first two books isn't mandatory in order to thoroughly enjoy this one.
This is a funny and entertaining book for ages twelve and up.