When Alice learns that her father is being deployed to Iraq, she’s heartbroken. Matt Bliss is leaving just as his daughter blossoms into a full-blown teenager. She will learn to drive, shop for a dress for her first dance, and fall in love, all while trying to be strong for her mother and take care of her younger sister. Alice wears her dad’s shirt every day, even though the scent of him is fading, and his phone calls are never long enough. Life continues without him, but nothing can prepare Alice for the day two uniformed officers arrive at their door with news.
Alice Bliss is a gorgeous, transforming novel about the support of a small town looking after its own in times of loss; the love between an absent father and his daughter; the complicated love between Alice and her mother Angie; and first love between Alice and the boy-next-door. It’s a universal story, yet touches on something very personal: these characters’ struggles amid uncertain times echo our own, lending Alice Bliss an immediacy and poignancy that are both relevant and real.
This is one of those great young adult books which adults would enjoy immensely. It's the story of a wonderful, close relationship between a father and a 15-year-old daughter. It's also a story of what happens when a loved one makes a decision to go away, and how we handle grief and loss. The characters stay true to their natures throughout, no matter what happens. It's a gem, that I would highly recommend to teenagers and adults alike who are drawn to stories that deal with real life difficulties.