Alice Miranda in New York by Jacqueline Harvey
Published by Random House Australia
If the mark of a good book is staying up way too late to finish it, then Alice-Miranda in New York is a very good book! I can see why the series is remarkably popular. Alice- Miranda is a modern day Pollyanna with a pretentious surname (Highton-Smith-Kennington-Jones). She is outrageously rich, sickeningly good natured, impossibly nice, incredibly adaptable and understanding beyond her years. She thinks well of everyone, including the villains in the story - and I must admit I found her endearing despite myself! She is too good to be true and it is rather fanciful how everyone she inadvertently meets are all very helpfully intertwined in the adventure narrative, but it is a delightfully fun romp to follow to the end and see how it all unfolds (and the characters are charming)! By the end of the book I was in awe of Harvey’s skills at crafting plot, and truth be told, I did find myself wishing there was a little bit more Alice- Miranda in me and the world at large.
In this instalment, Alice-Miranda leaves her exclusive Australian boarding school (which has a posh English feel) to travel to New York with her parents for a month, where she attends school and plays tourist in her spare time. Harvey sets the scene nicely with some vignettes as Alice-Miranda acclimatises to her surroundings, and she introduces a sub-plot of schoolyard bullying which I felt made the story feel a little slow to get started - but it certainly gained impetus as it progressed. Harvey's rendering of New York is very well executed – with ‘Bumble-bee’ swarms of traffic (yellow cabs and black town cars) and plush carpets ‘snaking’ up the stairway of the exclusive private school. Harvey is obviously well travelled and this gives the story a knowledgeable and easy sense of place. There was no mistaking that Alice-Miranda was in New York.
With fairly long chapters of around 8 pages (a few shorter, a few longer), it is for competent readers - or for younger children and their parents to read together. Although the fifth book in the series, it works well as a standalone, but I’m sure young readers will be unable to stop at just one – who could resist Alice-Miranda in Paris (Book 7)??
Young girls will love the glimpse into super-rich society, fancy department stores and the Upper East Side of NY as they follow a delicious mystery about family history and rival families feuding, built around a core tenet of valuing all people.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Jacqueline Harvey
Title: Alice-Miranda in New York
Publisher: Random House Australia
Published: March 2015