According to Pamela's cousin in New Jersey, the worst thing that can happen to a girl is to start seventh grade without a boyfriend. So Alice is glad that she and Patrick are going together. But Patrick the boyfriend is a lot more complicated than Patrick the friend. What's an appropriate gift for Alice to give him for his birthday? What should she do if he wants to kiss her and she hasn't just brushed her teeth?
Alice really likes Patrick, but sometimes it seems as though life would be a lot simpler if they were still just friends.
"The Summer of the First Boyfriend," Alice's father calls it. It is also the summer between grade school and junior high. Alice's friends keep telling her what she has to do to be a successful seventh grader. She may need a leather skirt. (Alice knows she'll never have one.) And certainly she'll need that boyfriend. In fact, one of Alice's friends has heard that a girl will never have any kind of social life in high school if she doesn't have a boyfriend when she enters junior high. That makes Alice very glad she has Patrick. And glad when her friends Elizabeth and Pamela have boyfriends, too. It is going to be a good summer, she thinks.
And, in this sequel to The Agony of Alice, it is a good summer. There are ball games in the park, bike riding, sitting on the front porch with Patrick and talking -- and sometimes eating chocolates -- and sometimes kissing. But there are problems, too. How do you make yourself beautiful when you are not? How do you cope with an older brother who has no tact and no understanding of your problems? And most of all, how do you act with a boyfriend? Some of the things she hears make Alice think she needs a manual of instructions.
Through triumphs and disasters at the beach, through the trauma of dinner at the country club with Patrick, through moments of terrible embarrassment and discouraging attempts to sort out what having a boyfriend is all about, and through surprising thoughts and decisions, Alice persists in being Alice, a girl who wants to be like other people but who can't stop being herself. Her problems are fun and funny, and readers will find a lot of themselves and their own problems in Alice and her friends.