Review by Gill-Marie Stewart
This is the story of the year Margaret Ann Simon turns twelve and moves from New York to New Jersey. Originally published in the States in 1978 and in the UK in 1998, a new UK edition was brought out this year, a tribute to the enduring popularity of this book.
I hadn’t read it before and was keen to see what the buzz around it was about. And I did enjoy it. The characterisation is great, as is the dialogue. The portrayal of family relationships and the questing for religious meaning is very well handled. Margaret’s ‘voice’ is strong and true and I would assume it is very popular with the target audience of Middle Grade or very young teens.
But, but … Yes, there had to be a but. The book didn’t actually resonate with me. These girls were not the kind of girls I remember spending time with. This was not my experience of being an eleven and twelve year old. Neither I nor my friends were obsessed with periods or kissing, and secret clubs were left well behind by this age. The book therefore was a fun read, but didn’t quite feel authentic. For this reason I’m only giving the book 4 piranhas, not 5.