Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Fifteen (MG/YA)

Fifteen by Beverly Cleary. 1956. HarperCollins. 208 pages.

Today I'm going to meet a boy, Jane Purdy told herself, as she walked up Blossom Street toward her babysitting job. Today I'm going to meet a boy. If she thought it often enough as if she really believed it, maybe she actually would meet a boy even though she was headed for Sandra Norton's house and the worst babysitting job in Woodmont.

Will Jane meet a boy? Would there be two straws on the cover if she didn't?

There is a sweet fairy-tale quality to this oh-so-innocent YA romance. Stan may not be swoon-worthy by today's standards. (He delivers horse meat. I had to keep telling myself that that didn't really matter. But it was still a little hard for me, especially when he took her on a date in his delivery truck.) Also Jane may not be role-model material for some readers. Seeing as to how once she meets Stan all she wants to be is Stan's girl. (Though when it comes down to it--minus the sparkles, of course--is it all that different than Bella wanting to be Edward's girl?)

What Fifteen does offer readers is a nostalgic glimpse of young love at its sweetest, its most innocent. Jane is not confident when it comes to love and dating. Stan is her first real date. (You know those dates with George so didn't count.) And her nervousness can be endearing. And while some details may seem a bit too dated, there is a certain timelessness as well.

All day Sunday Jane drifted around the house in a happy glow, humming Love Me On Monday and hovering near the telephone, because she was sure Stan would call. Monday she stopped humming and hated the telephone, because she was sure he would never, never call. Tuesday he called. (76)
He had said he would see her soon. Soon. Jane did not like the word. It could mean anything--an hour or a week or a month. Men were so exasperating. (81)
I enjoyed this one. It was interesting to read Fifteen soon after finishing Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers. (My review of Some Girls Are.) It was hard to read this one without making comparisons to today's YA. It was nice in a way to see an innocent, sweet look at love, at dating, at family life. It would be interesting to see if Fifteen is still being read (and enjoyed) by teens, or if it is more of a title for adults looking to recapture their own experiences...

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


alexandra george 2:10 PM  

sounds charming, i've added it to my TBR list, thanks.

Charlotte 5:01 PM  

I remember this one very fondly from my own youth...I think I still have my copy, kicking around somewhere.

Elizabeth 7:03 PM  

I read this in the 70s when I was about 12 and just LOVED it. It definitely has a wonderful air of innocence to it!

Chary Johnson 8:04 PM  

This is a great book for my daughter and I to read together. She is now thirteen and definitely looking at boys.


claudia 10:22 PM  

very nice blog,Compliments and have a nice day from Tenerife!!!

Ms. Yingling 4:55 AM  

This is still DEFINITELY read by teen girls. My two very worn copies are never on the shelf. It is good to see that the girls still enjoy innocent books. And this one makes me sigh as well.

Calah,  5:31 PM  

I am 26 now but I read all of Beverly Cleary's "teen" books as a teenager and loved them! I recently bought "Sister of the Bride" just to re-read =)

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

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