Alice Blog

Thank you!

I live in Rockville, MD. I’m currently about a month away from my high school graduation and will be attending the University of Maryland, just like Alice. I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on my childhood and what has shaped me to become who I am today, and your Alice series has come to my attention. I grew up reading your books and found such a connection to Alice’s personality and life story (especially considering she grew up so close to me!). Your books perfectly capture what it is like to grow from a girl to a young woman and I want to thank you for writing with such honesty. I am so grateful to have had a character like Alice that accompanied me through the confusing stages of puberty, my parent’s divorce, friendship drama, boyfriends, and letting go of childhood. So, again I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the gift that is your writing.
Phyllis replied:

It’s wonderful to know that Alice could be your friend as you were growing up.  I  hope that the University of Maryland will be a good fit for you, and imagine you will be able to write about some adventures of your own.  Best of luck!  Thank you for taking the time to write to me.

Posted on: April 17, 2018

Excited about this new website


This is so crazy you are one of my favorite authors. I just wanted to say how excited I was to find out about this new website. I also wanted to thank you for being a big part of my middle school years and for really getting me into reading. The thing is all through elementary school I hade trouble with reading. My reading level was so below my grade level, I truly disliked reading. I just read to get a grade. I reached middle school and it started the same way reading for the grade but that soon all changed.
In the middle of 6th grade I was just trying to find a book and then I saw this bright colorful cover, it was the Alice Series. At first I fell in love with the cover but I soon loved Alice the girl that seemed so much like me. That series not only made me fall in love with reading but made my reading level go up to the point I was finally on grade level. So thank you, because with out that book I don’t believe I would be where I am today.


Phyllis replied:

I love hearing about things like this.  Sometimes all it takes is a book you love, and I’m just delighted that for you, it was one of mine.

Posted on: April 10, 2018

I like him, he likes her


I want to ask about “i like him, he likes her” book. This book is bundling of 3 books right? Alice alone, simply alice and patiently alice. It means these 3 book’s story is all include on this “i like him he likes her” ? Or this book only take some chapter from those 3 books? Answer please, thanks 🙂


Phyllis replied:

That thick book contains the entire contents of the three Alice books that take place in her freshman year of high school.  It’s like three paperback books all bound together.  In fact, that’s exactly what it is.  When you open it, you will discover the same title pages, tables of contents, chapter headings….   It’s really a great bargain, and it wasn’t my idea to do this; it was the publisher’s.  All four of the big bind-up books each contains three Alice paperback books, covering her freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years of high school.

Posted on: April 9, 2018

Empowered me to enter medical school


I am writing to you tonight to thank you personally for your beautiful, real writing. I fell in love with the Alice series when I was around 8 years old in 2005. I read the Alice books all throughout my childhood and would frequently dedicate part of my summer vacation to getting through the entire series (as it was at that point) again and again for my public library’s summer reading program. Your poignant, realistic writing and storytelling of Alice’s childhood and adolescence is something that will stick with me the rest of my life. I learned about many raw issues reading your books, and I also related to Alice so much in different aspects as well. Before the age of the Internet where everyone shared everything on social media, I knew that someone out there, even though she might have been in a book, was also dealing with body image issues, crushes, fights, etc. Looking back, these very real situations and how Alice and her friends and family dealt with them inspired me to also tackle these issues, and through many different influences (including your books), I decided to pursue becoming a physician. Alice, and therefore you, empowered me to become the woman I am today and even better woman I hope to become in the future. I am proud to say I will be starting medical school in 2019, and although I am not without my struggles to this day, I feel as if reading about real women like Alice help me deal with these issues. My only want is for my future daughter to read these books with the same love that I did. I understand if you can’t read this email or reply to me, but I just wanted to let you know how thankful I am that you boldly wrote the story of a young girl for the world to see. You’ve truly made the difference for me, at the very least.

Phyllis replied:

Your letter really made my day, and I forwarded it to my editor.  I know she will love it too.  In a way, I grew up with Alice also.  In the 28 years I was writing the books, I was reliving many of the things that had happened to me or to my friends–things we had talked about, worried about…and it means a lot to me that the books were helpful to you as well.  My very best wishes for your journey through medical school and all the years of your life.

Posted on: April 7, 2018

How many books in the Alice series?


How many books is there in the Alice series?I thought there was 28 but the list has more than 30 and in the set of books there is 20.


Phyllis replied:

Confusing, I know, but here’s the deal:  there are 28 separate books in the Alice series.  Each of them came out first in hardback, then paperback.  But the books about Alice in high school were so popular, that the publisher decided he would also publish “bind-ups,” so that the four books of Alice’s freshman year in high school would be in one big paperback book (I Like Him, he likes her);  the four books of her sophomore years would be in one big paperback book (It’s Not like I planned it this way); her junior year (Please don’t be true) and her senior year (You and me and the space in between).   The 28th book takes Alice from age 18 to 60, and that is a large thick paperback called “Now I’ll Tell You Everything.”

And finally, so many readers wanted a way to buy the whole collection, the publisher brought all the books out in 3 boxed sets, called the Alice Collection.  The first box is “Alice in Elementary School”;  the send box is “Alice, the Middle School Years,” and the third box, which includes the high school books plus the final book, “Now I’ll Tell You Everything,” is called “Alice: the high school years and beyond.”

It took me 28 years to write all the books, and they came out in hardcover, paperback, and sometimes they were reprinted with different covers, so it was possible to have 3 or 4 books with the same title, but different covers.  I think that if you look up the Alice collection on this website (click on the moving banner) you will find more information on how to order what you want.


Posted on: April 5, 2018

What Happened To….?


What happened to Amy Sheldon? And did Denise Whitlock kill herself because you were trying to show how serious teenage suicide is?

Phyllis replied:

As with many of the characters in the series, her life is open-ended; I couldn’t follow the dozens (hundreds?) of people who appear in the books all the way to Alice’s 60th birthday.  But Alice certainly helped Amy feel better about herself, and I’m hoping that there are good things waiting for her.  Denise killed herself because she didn’t have enough help dealing with the feelings that–to her at the time–seemed worse than dying.  Teenage suicide is a serious problem.  Anyone’s suicide is tragic.  I’m just happy that I can say that I’ve known several people in my life who had tried suicide that didn’t work, and later have been able to say, “I’m so glad I’m still here.  If I known, back then, how good I was going to feel now…..”

Posted on: March 30, 2018

So Happy when I Realized It was a Series!


I’m sure you get so many of these messages, but I just wanted to write and say thank you for all you have done to help young people.  I’m 25 now and I still remember exactly what it felt like reading Agony of Alice back in 4th grade and being so happy when I realized it was a series.

In middle school and high school, before I really used the internet for anything else, I used to come home from school everyday and check for updates on your ask Alice page. Back when it was a simple black and white webpage. I learned so many things from there! Your advice was always wonderful and you were always very open. I remember and use some of that advice to this day. And I know I won’t ever forget the Alice books.

I’m so happy to see this website is still up and active. Thank you so much 🙂


Phyllis replied:

Yes, I’m delighted with this new website that my publisher set up for me.  I think I learned as much from your questions as readers learned from me.  Problems may be a little different from one generation to the next, but feelings are the same.  Thanks so much for taking the time to write to me.


Posted on: March 27, 2018

March for our Lives–a note from Phyllis

Alice McKinley and Marty Preston would have been out there marching with the young people in Washington yesterday.  I am so proud of all of you, all over the country–the world!– who are not afraid to demand sensible and profound changes to the regulation of guns in the United  States.  I think of the young Freedom  Riders who ushered in Civil Rights legislation; the draft-age protesters who saw no end to the Vietnam War–just the slaughter of young men on both sides go on and on; and now you, who will take action when Congress is often too timid to even bring a vote to the floor on even the most reasonable of gun control measures.  In two or three years your generation will hit the polls.  Remember what you heard yesterday:  tell your state and federal lawmakers that if they don’t vote for universal background checks, They’re out!  If they don’t have the courage to stand up to the NRA, Get out!  Organize a town hall and invite your congress person to attend.  If he or she won’t come, invite their opponent.  You have more power than you know.

Posted on: March 25, 2018

How did you come to write about Alice and her experiences?


Hi there, I’m currently a “writers on writing” for my grade 12 writers craft class and was so excited to be able to choose you as my author for this assignment! I’ve pretty much gone my entire high school life reading th Alice series all at the same time frame as Alice (when she was in grade 10, I was in grade 10 reading the book, etc) and the books have in a way, helped me get through my high school experience. I’ve genuinely loved reading your Alice books and couldn’t imagine my high school years without them. So how did you come to write about Alice and her experiences? Where did you get your ideas from for every age and grade she went into? Were they based on personal experiences? And do you have any regrets or things you wish you did differently when writing the Alice books! I never used to like reading until I encountered the Alice series in grade 9. The books are so relatable and I’m glad I got the chance to read them all.

Phyllis replied:

I had only intended to write one book.  I guess I was thinking about my own mother–how much I loved her, but that I also looked for other role models.  Teachers were often such models: I liked the way one teacher looked, so wanted to look like her.  Liked the way another teacher laughed, so added that to my list.  I admired a neighbor woman for the casual way she dressed….   Some women, of course, were added to my don’t be like her list.  But after the first book came out, The Agony of Alice, I received so many letters from girls loving the book, and reviews that said, Alice’s many fans will await her further adventures, and I said, Whaaat?   So I discussed making a series, and told my editor I would do it as long as I could make Alice a little older in each book.  I didn’t want to get stuck in a perpetual sit-com, and that I would only write one book a year.  I wanted to be able to write other books as well.  Finally it turned out that I would write one book a year, but it would take three books for each year of Alice’s life, so I could go into more depth.  At some point, hearing that very young children were reading the Alice books written for more mature girls, I wrote three prequels to hold them off for awhile.  And decided that the very last book, the 28th book in the series, would take Alice from age 18 to 60.  I think I was able to do everything I intended, but I do miss writing about her, especially those conversations between her and Lester.  They always made me laugh out loud.  And I always cried when I wrote the sad parts.

Posted on: March 21, 2018

Thank You


I randomly thought about you and the Alice series today. I used to read the books all the time as a pre-teen/teen (I’m 26 now). I remember asking you questions on your site when I was younger and am really grateful you took time to answer them. Thank you so much.


Phyllis replied:

I’m glad the books were that meaningful to you.  In return, I’m grateful for all the readers who wrote to me about the books, guys included.  Also dads and moms, who read the books aloud with their teens and talked about them afterwards.  I learned a lot from you as well–what was important to you, what bothered you, what made you sad, and all the embarrassing things that happened to you.  I cringed along with you, because I was champion of embarrassing things.




Posted on: March 7, 2018


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