This is a Newbery Award-winning book about ordinary people to whom nothing extraordinary happens – except life. But it is well-written and the interior monologue of the main character is so well-done that I am sure many girls have read it and become more prepared for life than they would have otherwise.

The story follows Julie from age 7 through high school graduation at age 18. She goes through the petty jealousies, loves, and rivalries of childhood and suffers through a very bad relationship with a handsome jerk in high school. She deals with her father’s remarriage and other rethinking about her parents.

It’s simple, yes, but the growing understanding of Julie and the portrayal of several fully-realized characters make this book a lot more than its basic plot. The writing slowly pulls you in and makes you live Julie’s thoughts. As Julie makes bad mistakes (e.g., mistreating a disabled classmate, doing her dead-end boyfriend’s homework, insulting another professor), we get to experience her guilt, her growing understanding, and her attempts to make things better.

IndyPL_SteveB's rating:
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