Only five books left in the Judy Blume Summer Reading Challenge. Here are two more!
Moving from New York to the New Jersey suburbs is already hard enough on twelve year old Margaret Simon. Her mother Barbara is Christian and her father Herbert is Jewish. Her parents say that they will support whatever religion she wants to follow, though both sides of her grandparents wants her to pick one or the other. That’s not all that Margaret has to worry about. She’s worried about starting sixth grade and making new friends. After the move Margaret meets Nancy Wheeler who lives a few houses down on Morningbird Lane. Nancy is also starting sixth grade just like Margaret. Nancy doesn’t think about the same things as Margaret, like what religion she should choose or whether or not she will fit in at school. Nancy is more focused on boys and she even practices kissing them on her pillow. Nancy introduces Margaret to her friends Janie Loomis and Gretchen Potter. They all decide to make a group named the Four Pre-Teen Sensations. Nancy says they all have to have fake names in order to join the group. In their group they do things like make boy books, talk about wearing bras, and getting their periods. Margaret develops a crush on Phillip Leroy, a boy in her class. The group also talks about Laura Danker, the girl in sixth grade who has started physically maturing. With no one to turn to Margaret talks to God, always beginning the conversation with “Are you there God? It’s me Margaret.” Margaret’s sixth-grade teacher, Mr. Benedict, asks the students to do a project on any subject that they want. Margaret decides to choose religion. Margaret does a lot of research and finally decided that parents should teach their children religion at a young age. She writes a letter to her teacher instead of a report but she doesn’t include her talks with God in the letter. Margaret turns 12 and goes to her very first school dance and her first party. She gets her first bra and her first kiss with Phillip Leroy. Margaret meets her mother’s parents for the first time and becomes mad with God that she cannot find a religion she feels right for. She isn’t the first club member to get her period and feels that something is wrong with her. Nancy lies about getting hers and Margaret finds out the truth later. Margaret graduates from sixth grade. She gets her period and she shares her excitement with God. She is happy to finally be growing up.
Twelve-year-old Tony Miglione lives with his family in Jersey City, New Jersey. Everything happens so fast when Tony’s dad finally sells an invention and gets rich! He makes an electrical cartridge and sells it to an electronics company. Tony, his parents, and his grandma move to a large home on Long Island. Tony’s grandmother soon becomes depressed because she can’t cook meals for the family anymore due to the new housekeeper. She is soon banned from the kitchen by Tony’s mom and starts to stay in her room all day. Tony starts playing on the youth basketball team at his local Catholic church and meets Joel Hoober, who also lives next door. Tony’s mother thought that Joel was an angel when she met him but Tony knows that that’s not the truth. Joel steals in front of Tony all the time. Joel makes prank calls and pushes Tony to do it. Joel lies about most things. He even gives Tony beer, vodka, scotch, rye, and brandy from his dad’s stash. The boys drink too much and throw up in the bushes. Tony has a horrible headache the next morning. Tony is afraid to tell about Joel. After watching Joel steal again, Tony’s stomach pain causes him to fall out on the sidewalk. He’s put in the hospital and tested to see if he has any medical conditions. The physicians find nothing wrong with Tony and refer him to a psychologist named Dr. Fogel. Tony is finally able to speak openly about his stress with Dr. Fogel. Although Tony doesn’t like Joel, he really likes his sixteen year old sister Lisa. He starts having wet dreams about her and is afraid his parents and or housekeeper will find out. For Christmas, Tony asks for binoculars and tells everyone he likes bird watching. In reality, he wants to get a better view of Lisa because he can see her change her clothes from his window. His dad tries to talk to him about sex, but ends up giving Tony a book it. Tony thinks it’s because his brother Ralph and his wife, Angie, announce they’re pregnant. They end up having a girl and naming her Vincenza after Tony and Ralph’s older brother Vincent who died in Vietnam a few years before. In the end Tony watches Joel steal something yet again. He turns him in after he is questioned by security. Joel’s parents are told and later Tony is informed that Joel will be sent to military camp as punishment for his crime.