‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.’ by Judy Blume
This novel is a coming-of-age tale about a sixth-grader who moves to the suburbs from New York City. Margaret shares a one-sided conversation with God as she tries to navigate her way through the intricacies of friendships, crushes, religion and incipient puberty. There are a handful of themes that still ring true today. Mean girls also existed back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, for one. Margaret’s confusion about religion (one of her parents comes from a Christian background and the other is Jewish) is another topic that families face, and Blume provides an opportunity to openly discuss the questions that face an 11- or 12-year-old.
Discussions around religion and sex are the primary reasons why this book was challenged so frequently. Later editions have updated some references, including parts where Margaret practices using a feminine hygiene product. For girls who do not feel comfortable talking about periods or menstruation with an adult, Blume’s depiction of how to use a pad doubles as a how-to guide. Judy Blume remains a master of this type of writing.