Alice is the anonymous protagonist (her name is an allusion to a Jefferson Airplane song) whose intermittent diary entries narrate Go Ask Alice. An intelligent, sensitive girl with a literary flair, she experiments with drugs and the counterculture to escape from her low self-esteem and consuming loneliness.
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Alice's unnamed father (a professor) and mother (a homemaker) care deeply about their daughter but are unable to communicate with her openly. They lead a traditional upper-middle-class life.
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Joel is a working-class freshman at Alice's father's university. His father died when he was young, his mother toils in a factory, and he works as a janitor to pay his tuition. He is gentle in his growing romantic relationship with Alice, spiritual in a non-religious way, and wise about many things, especially loss.
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Alice's grandparents are beloved members of the family. Alice spends a summer with them, and they visit on holidays up until their deaths.
Alice's younger siblings—Tim and Alexandria—are better adjusted than she is, which sometimes makes her jealous. Tim develops into a mature young man.
Chris accompanies Alice on her journey to San Francisco, and the two girls go on and off drugs together.
Roger is a straight, square boy on whom Alice has an overwhelming crush. He plans to attend military school.
Sheila is a sophisticated older woman, into drugs and kinky sex, who gets Chris a job in her hip San Francisco boutique.
Richie is Alice's college boyfriend until she leaves home the first time. She sells drugs to help him someday attend medical school.
Alice meets Babbie, a young former prostitute and drug addict, in the mental hospital.
Beth is Alice's Jewish neighbor, a nice girl with whom Alice bonds at first but, after Alice's drug use, Alice finds has changed.
An affable, fatherly custom jeweler who gives Alice a job. He has a large, robust Italian family.
The psychiatrist at Alice's mental hospital. He is sympathetic to Alice's case.
A 14-year-old girl whom Alice meets in Oregon. She has been sexually abused by both her stepfather and foster family siblings.
A violent drug user at school who tries to get Alice to get him drugs and later becomes her supplier.
An old drug-using friend of Alice's who threatens Alice when she won't return to her old habits and eventually gets Alice put in the mental hospital.
A "straight" girl who befriends Alice at the end of the book and accepts her into her group of non-drug-using friends.
An awkward girl Alice initially befriends when she moves into the new town.
Richie's college roommate who has a hidden homosexual relationship with him.