Category Archives: Controversial or Challenged Book

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

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Blume, J. (1970). Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. New York: Delacorte Press.

Margaret is surprised when she gets back from summer camp and finds that her family has moved from New York City to New Jersey, where she has to go to a new school, make new friends, and try to pass the sixth grade, all while questioning her religion and when she will get her period.

This is a timeless book that has been making its way through generations. My mother read it, and recommended that I read it. I read it as a child, and re-reading it now brought back why it’s so timeless: it’s relatable. Margaret deals with problems and worries that plague all children: who am I? It is a story about growing up and trying to find your place in the world.

Blume tells the story with a simplicity and innocence that is believable and captivating. The rawness of Are You There God? Is reminiscent of the candidness of YA novel Perks of Being a Wallflower. Even though the story is structured as a conversation with God and Margaret explores her religion, one religion is not favoured over the other.

Generally, because of the topic matter and the frequent discussion of menstruation, the audience for this book will likely be girls, aged 8-12.

This is a story about growing up and reading Are You There God? is a rite of passage for young girls. It rates a 4.5 out of 5 for its classic timelessness and relatability for readers.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Chbosky, S. (2010). The Perks of Being a Wallflower. MTV Books. Retrieved from http://elnb-bnnb.lib.overdrive.com/72905F02-871C-445F-87FF-C037149B642E/10/50/en/ContentDetails.htm?id=61293330-A17D-4B4A-A377-F31A86D1F947

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Told through a series of letters to an unnamed friend, Charlie invites readers into his world as he deals with the trials of high school: finding friends, fitting in, and figuring out who he is.

Charlie’s letters are raw and truthful and are written with the innocence of a young man beginning to encounter the world for the first time. The style is reminiscent of Meg Cabot’s The Princess DiariesThe topic is quite different, but in each, readers are invited into the main character’s innermost thoughts in an absolutely unmediated way.

This book, full of emotion, would appeal to many types of readers. Chbosky draws on many elements of popular culture, especially music. Anyone trying to find their way in life, young or old, would likely enjoy this story.

In terms of limitations, it is important to note that some of the subject matter may be for a more mature audience. But that’s why it’s a controversial novel (and the reason why it’s worth reading).

Overall, this book is a definite 5. I read it in two days. The characters, the plot, the music references– these all make this book worth the read.