Rediscover: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.

In 1970, Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. introduced Margaret Simon, a sixth-grade girl whose struggles with religion, puberty and other adolescent issues became a classic work of young adult literature. Margaret is nearing 12 when her Jewish father and Christian mother move from New York City to New Jersey. Raised without religious practice, Margaret decides to study other people's faiths for a school project in hopes of resolving her own spiritual questions. Meanwhile, Margaret and three other girls create a secret club for the frank discussion of subjects like boys, menstruation, bras and sex. As the year progresses, Margaret grows increasingly concerned that she is not developing as fast as her peers. The book's title refers to the opening lines of Margaret's nightly prayers, conducted despite her lack of a specific religion. Blume's followup, Then Again, Maybe I Won't (1971) tells a similar story, with a male protagonist struggling through puberty, though the novel focuses more on class issues than religious uncertainty.

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. has frequently been challenged for its open mentions of menstruation and sex and a perceived anti-Christian message. It ranked 60 on the American Library Association's list of 100 most challenged book of the 1990s, though it fell to number 99 in the 2000s. Today, Atheneum Books for Young Readers is publishing a 50th anniversary edition of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. with a new faux-leather embossed cover ($10.99, paperback). To read our interview with Judy Blume, click here. --Tobias Mutter

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