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Forever by Judy Blume

2005, first published 1975  

This book is way ahead of its time. It tells the story of how a young girl falls in love and loses her virginity. It is quite pragmatic and shows us all the messy bits, all the clumsy and hesitant actions, the inexperience and the slight disappointment after the first time.  Many similar novels written in the later 20th century and the 21st century do not do this and pregnancies happen by some sort of miracle.  This book gives us the details.  And there is no pregnancy. Kath has her head screwed on.     
There are no mobile phones or internet in this novel but the young adult ready will hardly notice. The characters are believable and really no different at all from the modern adolescent.  
We don’t get the romantic ending we might hope for. Yes, Kath and Michael become sexually compatible but when Kath is forced by her parents to go away on summer camp and become a tennis coach she meets someone else. 

Emotions run high; while all of this is going on Kath’s beloved grandfather dies suddenly while she is away at the camp. 

The ending signals some hope.  Theo, the young man she has met at the camp gets in touch. We have no idea, however, whether this will work out. 

The book is 202 pages long, in blocked text in an adult font.   


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Hilary McKay’s Fairy Tales

2017, fluent reader, Key Stage 2, ages 9-11, upper primary
Here are some familiar fairy stories though the titles may fool you: Rapunzel becomes The Tower and the Bird, Rumpelstiltskin becomesStraw into Gold, and Cinderella is Roses Around the Palace. We are also offered some rather interesting details about some well-known stories. The mayor of the town with the rats tells us how the children who replaced the lost ones were much more amenable than the ones who were piped away. A young girl has a sliver of the looking-glass that once belonged to a wicked queen.Whilst the girl has chickenpox her grandmother tells her Snow White’s story. It is true she assures her granddaughter. How does she know? Because she is Snow White. Hansel and Gretel tell the story of what they did in their holidays.
There is perhaps an assumption that the reader will be familiar with the original stories. Certainly they are amusing and not just for the young reader.Adults can enjoy them too. 
This is quite a …