“It so happens I know plenty about boys. As for hunks, I’ve never known one personally. Most boys my age—and I’m starting seventh grade in two weeks—are babies. As for my Richard Gere poster, I didn’t even know he was famous when I bought it. I got it on sale” (Blume, 1987, p.2).
Twelve-year-old Stephanie Hirsch has two best friends. Rachel Robinson, who she’s been friends with forever and who’s practically perfect, and Alison, who just moved into the neighborhood and who claims her dog can talk. Having two best friends, however, isn’t as simple as it seems. When Rachel becomes jealous of Stephanie’s friendship with Alison, the two fight and it feels to Stephanie as if they’ll never speak again! Can their friendship be saved? Hopefully, because with Stephanie’s parent’s separation, she needs her friends now more than ever!
Just as Long as We’re Together is another great book for tweens written by Judy Blume! In this novel, Blume addresses many subjects that are relevant to her readers. For example, she addresses the issue of jealousy among friends. When I was in elementary school and middle school I had two best friends (as Blume’s main character does) and I remember it being a tough situation. When three people are “best friends,” it’s inevitable that one person will wind up feeling left out. In Stephanie’s story, it was her oldest friend Rachel who wound up with hurt feelings. Another subject Blume touches upon is divorce. Though Stephanie’s parents aren’t yet divorced, they are going through a trial separation. This situation is incredibly tough for Stephanie and she reacts to it as many young girls would. Sometimes she avoids acknowledging it altogether, sometimes she’s sad, and sometimes she’s really angry. One way Stephanie deals with (or doesn’t deal with!) these emotions is by overeating and she eventually gains some weight. I thought that Blume handled Stephanie’s overeating really well. She didn’t force the problem down readers throats, but she did make it apparent throughout the novel. Overall, I found Stephanie Hirsch a great role model for tweens because though she isn’t perfect, she is real and honest about her flaws.
Genre: contemporary realistic
Reading/interest level: ages 10 to 13
Awards: Wyoming Indian Paintbrush Book Award, 1990
Similar titles: Here’s to You, Rachel Robinson by Judy Blume