Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

A twelve-year-old girl leans over to scratch her ankle.

Growing up, I was familiar with Judy Blume. One of my teachers read to our class Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing. On my own, I read her story of a young boy navigating puberty called Then Again, Maybe I Won’t. The writing in them was accessible and really connected with my young self. However, I never got around to reading Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret. That is, not until my recent vacation.

The story is told in the voice of Margaret, a girl turning twelve. And she deals with all the normal things that young girls are challenged by. Among these are buying her first bra, figuring out the place of God in her life, navigating her changing relationship to boys and her female friends, and (eventually) getting her period. And these all feel genuine. They are told in a matter-of-fact way that is frank without being salacious.

Some may find that much of what modern girls deal with is missing. After all, this book was published in the early 1970s. But I would argue that is its charm. Because the things she deals with are universal, they are also timeless. Girls in any decade in the past or future will find something to relate to here and realize that they aren’t alone in their experience. Perhaps that’s why it has touched so many women over the last fifty years.

My rating: 3/5

A Road Trip Audiobook

The Cousins book cover

My partner and I recently took a vacation. We drove from our home in western North Carolina to the Florida panhandle for a week on the beach relaxing. We are both big readers, so on long car trips we borrow audiobooks from the library to listen to while we drive. On this last trip, we listened to The Cousins by Karen M. McManus.

This book is in the young adult (YA) genre. My partner and I both enjoy these books. Many popular and best-selling books are also YA, such as the Harry Potter series and the Hunger Games trilogy. This is a stand alone book about three cousins who are invited to work at their grandmother’s resort. Doesn’t sound like much of a story. The twist is that the grandmother disowned the cousins’ parents twenty years ago via a mysterious letter from her lawyer. None of the kids is much interested in going, but their parents make them hoping to get back in the good graces (and the will) of the grandmother.

As you would expect, there are many interesting turns in the story. The characters are well-developed and likeable. There is growth and change for the adults as well as the kids. Each of the cousins was read by a different actor in the audiobook, and the reading/acting was very well done. We really enjoyed listening to this book, and whether you read or listen I encourage you to give it a try.

A Short Review

Cover of book Archenemies

I finished reading Archenemies, and I loved it! It reminded me of how I felt when I watched The Empire Strikes Back. The story was full of action and twists. I was at the edge of my seat in anticipation; I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. The end was a cliff hanger that left me wanting the next in the series right away. Fortunately, the next book has already been published so I don’t have to wait three year for the sequel like I did with Star Wars.


Difficult Questions

Renegades Series Book Covers

I am reading the second book of a young adult trilogy named after the first book of the series, Renegades. It is the story of a world where “prodigies” discover they have super powers. The world is very reminiscent of Marvel’s X-Men. The themes involved are very similar as well. What do we do about people who have powers? What does justice mean in such a world? Who gets to decide?

The story takes place in a city that ten years previous had suffered a great battle between the villains (known as the Anarchists) and superheroes (the Renegades). The Renegades won and now are trying to put the city back together and establish society and culture. The founding members form a council that runs the city and much of the world through a sort of police force of prodigies.

What makes this most interesting is that the story is very open about questioning what it means to be the good guy. The characters start to question why an unelected group of people get to make all the rules. It is clear through the characters that good and bad, hero and villain, are not two sides of the same coin but rather a spectrum. I haven’t yet finished the book, but I am thoroughly enjoying how the two main characters are starting to question who they are and what side they are on.