Thursday, August 8, 2013

Here's to You, Rachel Robinson

1993, 1994 Yearling edition
Judy Blume
Here's to You, Rachel Robinson
Original price $4.50, purchase price 99 cents
Worn paperback

Although I like Rachel less than her friend Stephanie, I found this about equal to its 1987 "companion" Just as Long as We're Together.  It's a sequel, not a parallel story, catching up with the girls and their friend Alison towards the end of their seventh grade year.  Rachel has to deal with the return of her troublesome older brother Charles, as well as (mostly self-induced) school and romantic pressures.  This time the interest level is 9 to 12 rather than 8 to 12, but the reading level is 4.5 rather than 4.9.  However, the content is even more "mature," with profanity (including the F-word), pot, and adultery (her divorced cousin dates a professor).  Thirteen-year-old Rachel herself goes on a "date" with Charles's 22-year-old tutor, and no one bats an eye.  And towards the end, she has a few kisses with Jeremy Dragon, the ninth-grade boy the three friends have had crushes on since the last book, and even though she's supposed to be sensible (and uptight) she doesn't seem concerned that this doesn't even mean they're now dating.  As with Stephanie in the first book, there are definite inconsistencies in Rachel's characterization.

Still, the book moves along and it's not bad.  I didn't catch any '90s (or '80s) references, quite a contrast to, for instance, the '70sness of Forever.  I have to say though that Stephanie's proposed slogan for Rachel's bid for class president, "The Dare to Care Candidate" (it's instead used for a less busy Alison), would've got them laughed right out of my early '80s junior high, and I can't believe that teens were any less cynical a dozen years later.  Oh, and you might think the title is a Simon & Garfunkel reference, but even when Charles sings it, nerdy Rachel doesn't have enough pop knowledge to get the joke.

I bought but didn't keep Blume's 1998 "adult" novel Summer Sisters because I thought it was dreadful.  So this is it for her in my book collection.

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