From Alice to Zen and Everyone in Between

  • Interest Level: Grade 4 - Grade 7
  • Reading Level: Grade 4

Alice enjoys playing soccer and working on her go-kart. But when she moves to the suburbs, Zen, the boy down the street tells her she has no hope of fitting in at her new middle school unless she starts acting more “like a girl.” Alice suddenly realizes that being different can set you apart…and being friends with someone like Zen can set you way apart. Why does being yourself have to be so complicated?

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Interest Level Grade 4 - Grade 7
Reading Level Grade 4
Copyright 2008
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Carolrhoda Books ®
Language English
Number of Pages 248
Publication Date 2008-01-01
Reading Counts! Level 4.0
Reading Counts! Points 10.0
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV039020, JUV039050, JUV039060
Dewey [Fic]
Dimensions 5.125 x 7.3125
Lexile 730
ATOS Reading Level 4.9
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 120939
Accelerated Reader® Points 6.0
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Awards, Reviewed, and Table of contents

Author: Elizabeth Atkinson

Elizabeth Atkinson has been an editor, a children's librarian, an English teacher, and a newspaper columnist. She lives in Newburyport, MA. Visit her at


  • Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, Winner, 2008



“Atkinson describes Alice’s ethical development credibly and engagingly. Consider this as comfort food, especially for readers wanting insight into that first foray into a new community – a time when kids can remake their image or accept themselves without apology.”

Library Media Connection

“. . .this is a breezy read, and Zen’s quirky. . . personality will keep adolescents turning the pages.”
Library Media Connection

School Library Journal

“Alice’s journey from impressionable naïveté to courageous pluck is a convincing lesson on friendship and tolerance.”
School Library Journal