If you’re a woman of a certain age, you’re probably familiar with Alice McKinley — the strawberry-blond everygirl first introduced in 1985’s The Agony of Alice.
Though Newbery Medal-winning author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor originally envisioned the novel as a standalone story, she followed it with a sequel, Alice in Rapture, Sort of, in 1989. Fans still wanted more — so in 1991, Naylor began releasing one Alice book every year, following her creation from middle school to the summer after her high school graduation. In the early aughts, she also released a series of prequels about Alice’s life in elementary school — the perfect solution for girls not yet ready to read their older sisters’ favorite books. Over nearly three decades, the books have won legions of fans for their colorful depiction of a regular girl’s trials and tribulations, as well as their frank discussions of topics like sex — passages that frequently landed Alice among the ALA’s list of most frequently challenged books.
28 years later, Naylor is finally wrapping the series with an ambitious, 523-page volume that follows Alice from ages 18 to 60. The book, which hits shelves today, is called Now I’ll Tell You Everything – a title that’s both evocative and refreshingly straightforward, much like the Alice series as a whole.
Naylor is happy with the way her magnum opus turned out, though naturally, saying goodbye is bittersweet. “I suppose it’s like having a child go off to college,” she told EW in an interview last month. “For the last 28 years, six months of every year was dedicated to an Alice book. And suddenly, I have six whole months more to do whatever I want! So that’s exciting, but there’s still times I wish she were home.”
Read on to learn more about the series’ long-awaited conclusion. Spoiler alert: We discuss the contents of Now I’ll Tell You Everything, so read on only if you’ve already read the book… or if you’ve always wanted to know how everything turns out for Alice.
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