#CBR11 Bingo: Banned/Challenged (has been on the list among the most banned/challenged books for several decades now)
Margaret Simon, almost twelve, has just moved from New York City to the suburbs, and she’s anxious to fit in with her new friends. When she’s asked to join a secret club she jumps at the chance. But when the girls start talking about boys, bras, and getting their first periods, Margaret starts to wonder if she’s normal. There are some things about growing up that are hard for her to about, even with her friends. Lucky for Margaret, she’s got someone else to confide in . . . someone who always listens.
Eleven-year-old Margaret moves to the New Jersey suburbs with her parents and is very worried about fitting in. She misses her colourful grandmother and the things she’s used to in New York City. Nevertheless, she seems to make friends quickly enough, but is slightly worried when asked about what church she goes to. Margaret’s parents don’t believe in God. Her paternal grandmother is Jewish, her maternal grandparents (who the family is estranged from) are Christian, but Margaret’s parents don’t seem to hold with any religion, and it makes Margaret confused and questioning. She keeps talking to God, pretty much using her one-sided conversations like a sort of journal, and asking questions, not really sure if he’s up there somewhere or not.
Margaret and three of her new friends form a secret club, where they are mostly concerned with talking about boys, chanting mantras to get their chests to grow and worry a lot about menstruation and what it will be like when one of them gets it. They have a lot of rules (like you can’t wear socks with shoes – that way blisters lie) and gossip about other girls in their year (often very unfairly). It all seems pretty standard pre-teen stuff, especially in how much they talk about things they really know very little about.
Full review here.