Rachel is Stephanie's best friend. Since second grade, they've shared secrets, good and bad. Now in seventh grade, Alison moves into the neighborhood. Stephanie hopes all three of them can be best friends, because Stephanie really likes Alison. But it looks as if it's going to be a case of two's company and three's a crowd. Can the girls' friendship be saved?
Judy Blume spent her childhood in Elizabeth, New Jersey, making up stories inside her head. She has spent her adult years in many places doing the same thing, only now she writes her stories down on paper. Adults as well as children will recognize such Blume titles as: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret; Blubber; Just as Long as We're Together; and the five book series about the irrepressible Fudge. She has also written three novels for adults, Summer Sisters; Smart Women; and Wifey, all of them New York Times bestsellers. More than 80 million copies of her books have been sold, and her work has been translated into thirty-one languages. She receives thousands of letters a year from readers of all ages who share their feelings and concerns with her. Judy received a B.S. in education from New York University in 1961, which named her a Distinguished Alumna in 1996, the same year the American Library Association honored her with the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement. Other recognitions include the Library of Congress Living Legends Award and the 2004 National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. She is the founder and trustee of The Kids Fund, a charitable and educational foundation. She serves on the boards of the Author's Guild; the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators; the Key West Literary Seminar; and the National Coalition Against Censorship. Judy is a longtime advocate of intellectual freedom. Finding herself at the center of an organized book banning campaign in the 1980's she began to reach out to other writers, as well as teachers and librarians, who were under fire. Since then, she has worked tirelessly with the National Coalition Against Censorship to protect the freedom to read. She is the editor of Places I Never Meant To Be, Original Stories by Censored Writers. Judy has completed a series of four chapter books -- The Pain & the Great One -- illustrated by New Yorker cartoonist James Stevenson. She has co-written and produced a film adaptation of her book Tiger Eyes, and is currently writing a new novel. Judy and her husband George Cooper live on islands up and down the east coast. They have three grown children and one grandchild.
I'm mad as hell that Goodreads doesn't have the cover of the version that I read, because I liked that cover a LOT. It's the one that has Stephanie, Rachel and Alison in someone's room (Rachel's?) and they are laughing and someone's holding up one of the purple t-shirt that say "FRIENDS" in yellow letters. So nostalgic. But, I digress.
Anyway. I think this was my favorite Judy Blume novel.
Stephanie and Rachel had been best friends since just about forever. Then seventh grade starts. Alison moves into the picture. Things change. Feelings get hurt, friendships become affected.
Now that I think about it, I really felt sorry for Rachel. She couldn't help being so smart. I could relate to her feelings of exclusion from Steph and Alison.
I enjoyed this book so much. And I don't remember where in my room it is. But I know I didn't give it away. If I did I will kill myself.
Sigh. I need to reread some Judy Blume. She was my favorite author as a young kid, along with Beverly Clearly. In some ways she still is.
I loved this book growing up. It was my first Judy Blume novel, and it captured perfectly the world of preteen girls that I was in the midst of experiencing. I wanted to be just like those girls. The emotionally difficult situations of changing friendships and the breakdown of the Hirschs' marriage struck a chord as well. The one real flaw is that the ending just seems to suddenly appear. It doesn't seem to really tie things up at all. I never really minded it much though, other than that I wanted the book to keep going beyond the last page.
All I can say is that to this day I still remember Stephanie's poster when I see a Benjamin Moore paint can, I still recall Rachel's book collection when I come across Gone with the Wind, I can still tell you that Stephanie's middle name is her mother's maiden name, I think of Jeremy Dragon each time I see or read the word "chartreuse," and I recall perfectly all the excitement of the girls' first date experiences at the Ground Hog Day dance. Definitely a memorable read. Good for young girls or anyone who would like a short jaunt down the memory lane of being a young girl.
Update 11/20/11: I am a Family Studies and Child Development major. After taking a class on adolescence and a class on divorce, this book seems even more excellent! Judy Blume has done a terrific job accurately portraying a preteen experiencing family break up. I'm picking up on something new with each read-through (I'm using it for a project). She has truly done a splendid writing job with this one.
Somehow the only Judy Blume book I read during my childhood/adolescence was 'Superfudge', the third in the Fudge series. I'm a little unsure how she managed to mostly pass me by, as I would have adored her. As it is, I'm quite happily catching up now, but I know that many of her books, including this one, would have resonated deeply with younger me. This is very engaging and easy to read, but it also covers a lot -- the complexity of friendship, growing up, parents separating etc. Judy Blume really does have a knack for writing about this sort of thing, and as an adult I thought it was beautifully handled, without being preachy or false. Probably one of my favourites by her so far (along with 'Deenie').
This was my first 'obsession' book. I got it for my 11th birthday and read it about 4 times in the first 2 months I had it. To this day, 20 years later, I still remember that it's Stephanie's birthday on Feb 2. Ground Hog day. As today is Ground Hog day, I wish you a very happy Birthday Stephanie. And to Judy Blume, a thank you for writing characters that seem as real to me now, as they did 20 years ago.
Now while I in fact do not always all that much like Stephanie Hirsch, the twelve going on thirteen year old narrator of Judy Blume's Just as Long as We're Together (and actually sometimes do tend to find both her old best friend ultra-organized brainiac Rachel Robinson and even her somewhat flighty and universally popular new best friend Alison Monceau sometimes a bit more universally likeable and not as inherently conflicted and problematic) I do have to admit that emotionally speaking (although perhaps also a sometimes trifle grudgingly) I do feel much much closer to Stephanie as a person than I could ever feel to her two friends, as in particular Stephanie's issues with body fat (and eating when upset), her occasional angry outbursts with regard to her family, her tending to so often be more than a bit gullible (as well as Stephanie's tendencies to blurt, to say the wrong things at the wrong times) are real and bona fide problems and scenarios with which I have had to struggle myself (both as a teenager and as an adult).
In other words, while I can certainly see (and even rather appreciate) that some readers might well consider Stephanie as a problematic, not very nice and even potentially "bratty" character, I can and do on oh so many levels majorly relate to her (both externally and internally and certainly more than I could ever relate to either ultra smart and perfect Rachel or laid back social butterfly Alison). And thus, while I do understand the developing and worsening frictions between Stephanie and Rachel, and that Rachel does have every right (and perhaps even some legitimate reasons) to feel a bit left out, to feel cast aside, to feel as though Stephanie is now more Alison's friend than hers and that Stephanie is supposedly also keeping secrets, I do on a very personal level also have some major and annoying problems with Rachel considering Stephanie as totally unreliable and as someone who basically lies and does not tell the truth. For Rachel in my opinion and even with over-emotionality simply assumes that the reason why Stephanie does not tell her (Rachel) about her parents' separation is because she, because Stephanie is no longer her friend and therefore sadly does not then also go that one essential step further to consider that perhaps Stephanie might be so upset that her parents have separated that she simply cannot tell ANY of her friends this bit of news (for by telling Rachel and yes even Alison that her parents' marriage is on the rocks would be like admitting this to herself and Stephanie for much of Just as Long as We're Together does at first not even realise that her father's extended business trip to California is a "trial separation" and later, once the proverbial cat is indeed out of the bag so to speak, Stephanie simply cannot tell Rachel because by admitting that her parents have separated, that would mean acknowledging it as a total and final fait accompli).
And really, considering that Rachel Robinson throughout Just as Long as We're Together tends to see herself (and is often depicted by the author, is shown by Judy Blume) as someone who supposedly "knows" her best friend Stephanie Hirsch inside and out, should she not have realised and understood that with Stephanie's tendency to be gullible and naive, that for one she at first was of course unaware that her parents were even separating and that for two, when she did finally become aware of and realise the truth that she likely simply could not face the reality of the situation and that yes, indeed, by telling, by confiding in Rachel, it in my opinion would have made the Hirsch family separation all too real and much too devastating for Stephanie and something that she would have finally had to accept (and although I do still very much understand Rachel's anger at Stephanie, I have always and will always also believe that oh so organised and with it Rachel Robinson actually ends up pretty well clueless herself as to why Stephanie is acting the way she has been acting).
This is probably close to my millionth re-read of Judy Blume's book since childhood, but I was feeling nostalgic. It still holds up. I felt as if I was 12 again, which is something you need every now and again.
I read this book in 5th grade (1994ish?). I will always remember it as the book that made me realize my dad wasn't really on a very long business trip! :D Slightly traumatic at the time, but it makes me laugh now!
This was a childhood favorite growing up and I guess I'm getting real nostalgic this Christmas and I reread it. I'm being conservative when I say I've read it three times.
I really believe that all middle-schoolers should be shipped to a deserted island until high school. Stephanie was insufferable and Rachel got on my damn nerves. So pretentious and snotty. The writing was decent and I liked that the story had no real plot; it just followed the girls around in their everyday life.
Still, I remember LOVING this book as a kid and have really nothing bad to say about it since it was such a favorite. Did it age well for me? ABSOLUTELY NOT.
It's both annoying and impressive that I can recall nearly verbatim passages from a book I read over 30 years ago, but I can't remember add toilet paper to my Instacart order even when I place it 15 minutes after putting the last roll on the holder.
Welcome to middle age, bitch!
I loved this book as a kid, and it was a really enjoyable rereading experience now. My mom had bought it for me when I was 9--I don't know where she heard of it because this was in ye olden times when the internet was pretty much just BBS rooms with yellow text on a black background--and I think it caught her attention because one of the main girls is named Alison and another is named Rachel (the name of my best friend at the time). So it was a random pick but a terrific one, as it turned out. I remember at the time thinking it was so realistic in how it portrays young female friendships, the struggles between parents and their kids, confusion around feelings as you go from "little kid" to "almost teenage," etc. The fights and hurt feelings between the three girls, particularly Stephanie, our narrator, and Rachel, her best friend since second grade, were very true-to-life back then, and honestly still are. I think kids reading this today would find it very familiar, with the obvious exception of no one having cell phones and some of the fashion descriptions.
Stephanie and Rachel are very different from each other, and as you get older, sometimes those differences can feel insurmountable. Both of them at times feel like the other has given up on them and their friendship. What I love is how it doesn't get all nicely wrapped up at the end. There's hope that it will, but it's still uncertain, and that also is very realistic. I also appreciated that all of the kids in the book acted like kids their ages would, which is not always the case in books in this age category.
There are a few lines that made me wince a bit and which would (I hope) not be written now, but overall this was a wonderful one to revisit. It's actually the only one of Judy Blume's kids books I ever read, and now I want to try some of her other ones that I know a lot of people loved.
Heartbreakingly sweet and relatable. The weight stuff is hard to read, and makes my heart ache for Steph. Still Judy does a good job of subtly talking about racism once. It's also a good snap shot of how lacksidasical boomers and beyond were about body issues and the emotional toll divorce could take. I wish everyone in this book was nicer to Steph.
This book was kinda funny and made me laugh a couple of times, but any positive thoughts I have on it are pretty fleeting and dragged down by how aged this felt. Like, the rhetoric in here at times was so old fashioned in a way I wasn’t vibing with that it did grate on me.
I like how the plot keeps moving forward and it’s fast paced and snappy but in a continuous way where subtle jokes are made throughout and I enjoyed that. Of course it’s a middle grade book so was bound to be like that in some capacity to maintain the interest of a younger reader. The characters were frustrating but also they were 12 so I guess that was normal? Some of it seemed a bit out of character though but maybe I just can’t remember what being 12 is like and I’m old.
One think I really didn’t like was the discussion of body image and the fatphobia that seemed to be a plot point towards the end. We had the mom putting her draughtier on a diet and telling her she needed to lose weight and it was gross and not something I’d want kids to read and internalise that message. It came out of nowhere and added nothing of substance to the book.
I guess it was good in a way it talked about various elements of growing up - friendships, jealousy, puberty, identity and family issues. It was refreshing to see it all put forward so bluntly in a middle grade novel without watering it down.
Overall fine and a super quick read, but nothing overly amazing.
Judy Blume really is just so great. This tackles a lot of transition - fighting with your best friend, puberty, and your parents having a trial separation/thinking about divorce. It's a lot to handle when you're young and Blume knows all those feelings.
The story is entertaining so time passes in an instant when reading it, I loved the background of the characters, without a doubt I recommend it and it is a story that I would read again, I am fascinated.
Just as Long as We're Together is a very good book. It's mostly about friendship and trying not to hold grudges on those who matter most. In the book Stephanie's parents are having a trial separation and her dad is living in California. Before she finds out she makes a new friend, Alison. Alison becomes really popular at school and is in more of Stephanie's classes than Rachel, Stephanie's other best friend. When Stephanie discovers that her parents are doing a trial separation she doesn't tell her friends and runs into some problems. Meanwhile, Rachel thinks Stephanie is neglecting her and no longer wants to be her friends, but she was wrong. In the end Rachel and Stephanie talk out their problems and the book ends well, which is predictable. I would only recommend this certain people who enjoy other books by Judy Blume.
When I was in 5th grade, the deal was if you got 100% on the spelling test on Monday, you didn't have to take it on Friday. I was great at spelling. So every Friday, I would go into the little room with the bookshelf and beanbag chair during the spelling test and read, read, read. I read this entire book in those 20-minute increments. When I was done, a male friend of mine in the class found out and put it on the markerboard tray during recess and drew arrows point to it and things like "DIANA READ THIS!!!!!" "GROSS!!" "EWWWWWWWW!" He got in trouble.
But I wasn't embarrassed to have read it. I really enjoyed it. What 5th grade girl isn't constantly thinking about friends, boys, and her period? I was. We all were. And Judy Blume delivers. Rereading it as an adult, I'm surprised at how much of this book I completely internalized. The boy with the chartreuse dragon jacket, the girl eating bananas to gain weight, the guy with the translucent eyelashes whose mom was the doctor, getting your first period at the school dance...it's all from the same book! THIS ONE. Whenever I hear the word "chartreuse," I think "dragon jacket" to this day. I also think "Crazy Eddie's" whenever I see an inexpensive telephone. This book has wormed its way permanantly into my subconscious, much like the TV show Dr. Katz.
One thing that I didn't remember was the whole plot with Stephanie's parents getting separated, which was very important. I know she was portrayed as being very immature about her parents' separation, but I found myself cheering her on for giving her parents a hard time. You can't expect your 12-year old to be like, "Mom, Dad, I fully support you doing whatever you feel like. I'm fine with us not being a family because you got bored with it."
I had read this book back in elementary school and hadn't liked it much then. But I thought I would give it a whirl since I just got a vintage copy. I love books written in the 80s because they bring me back to my youth in a way that few other things do. Judy Blume is an expert at depicting preteen suburban Jersey Girls in a way that reaches out to girls worldwide. This book was no exception. Stephanie is an average girl making her way through junior high, having two best friends instead of one and the shock of her parents' trial separation. Her oldest friend Rachel is gifted and her new friend Alison is an adopted Vietnamese girl with a tv star mom. It sounds unlikely, but these girls come across as very real and very likeable. I liked this book much more this time around. I miss this world.
Never have I been taken back to the pain and torture of 7th grade until now, reading this. Judy Blume - how do you do it?!? I was just a little too old to read this when it was first published in 1987, but the Guess? jeans, the school dances, the fear of nuclear war (thanks to The Day After) rosebud comforter with matching lampshades and jazzercise? Wow. And the complicated friendships and family relationships while on a hormonal roller coaster - it's all perfect and made me incredibly tense. Rachel Robinson - I'm sure it's not easy being perfect, but like Stephanie said during the great fight before the Groundhog's Day Dance, it's not easy being friends with someone who always thinks they are right, even when they are not. A lot of adults still haven't learned this lesson.
The characters to in this to me did not act like 7th graders AT ALL. It may be that they were just a group of immature girls, or that the author does not exactly understand how middle schoolers are. To me, these characters were equivalent to 4th graders. Of course, I took this book lightly because it is just suppose to be a fun read considering it’s a middle-grade book, but compared to other Judy Blume books, this was 2nd to last on my list of favorites.
I kept writing one-sentence, stand-alone reviews but then I couldn’t decide what actually encapsulated all my feelings, so here are a bunch of mostly disjointed thoughts:
- This was my first reread since the first time I read it in fifth grade, and wowzah being 13 hits different when you’re 21, like I’m not sure if I was old enough to read it NOW! - So raw, so real. Judy Blume’s best genre. - Truly, though, no one understands tween girls the way Judy Blume does. - I related to all of Stephanie’s experiences that I also shared when I was 13, and also to all of her experiences that I never experienced, because the most universal stories are the most personal ones because vulnerability is connecting. - My little linguist brain kept going back to the idea of sonder and untranslatable words, and then I started thinking about untranslatable experiences, can we ever really know what someone else is feeling etc, except I feel like I GET Stephanie and Rachel and Allison, so fiction must let us do that, right?
I was so worried that this might not be as wonderful as I remembered it. This was my fave book about friendship jealousy and breakups when I was younger and reading it now I still had all the same feelings.All of the book's breakups centre around best friends and families rather than any pointless boy crush related heartache. Theres still a few things now which make me cringe like some of the descriptions around Steph's weight gain but ultimately the deep dive of complicated best friendships menas this book is still massively relatable.
Judy Blume is at her best for children's and coming of age books. And the most important of all, I love how she wraps the lessons in an excellent and attracting stories. I was not disappointed at all, absolutely love her friendship stories.
Wow, I'm amazed at how many details in this book I still remember, and how many little things in my brain come from this. Like, the meaning of the word "fusty" or how to do a box step. I also blame this book for my mistaken belief that I'd definitely have kissed a boy by the end of 7th grade.
One of my favorite stand alone books from childhood. I'm in a reading slump, so I decided to pick it up and see if it still resonates with me. (remembering as I read what might have been the reason I liked it I love Judy Blume. She gets the feelings of kids, tweens, teens.
The summary at the top is what I read on the back of the book. If the book had been from Rachel's point of view the summary would have been correct. However the book is from Stephanie's point of view and she doesn't realize there is a problem until Rachel and she have a fight on page 241.
Most of Stephaine's story is focused on the separtion and possible divorce of her parnets. That however did not come into play until page 120. Till then the story is just a build up of Stephanie and Rachel meeting and becoming friends with Allison.
The story was somewhat entertaining and it was at least readable. There was some humorous moments and good character interaction. I did feel that the talk of the girls reaching puberty was a little forced. Almost as if Judy Blume was trying to live up to her reputation.
I could enjoy some of the story once I finally realized what the story was about. However I wasn't able to completely enjoyed because I never could really like Stephanie. There was something off putting about her. For example she keep secrets even from her friends but, resented it if they kept secrets from her. Stephanie also in my view was bratty, unrealistic, self centered and lacking the charm of Charlie in Barbara Park's Don't Make Me Smile.
Some other problems I had:
Rachel's suggests that Stephanie read Gone With the Wind. I was puzzled that with all the books to choose from Judy Blume would choose this book. Is she expecting no African-Americans to read this book. Certainly any I mean any Jane Austen book would have been a better choice. Yes, I know SE Hinton cited this book but, that took place in the South and was written published in 1967 and Hinton was only a teenager when she wrote it.
Because the main issue doesn't come into play until page 120 the book reads more like a episodic younger reader like Busybody Nora than an older novel.
The December play is called Mary and Joseph and yet is suppose to be about a Jewish and Christian couple celebrating Chanukkah and Christmas. I was puzzled as to which one is suppose to Jewish. I suppose Joseph but, I can't recall meeting too many Jewish Josephs. Davids, Abrahams, Seths, Issacs yes but Joseph? Especially during Christmas time? Wouldn't Miriam and Joseph have made more sense or Mary and Joshua?
Judy Blume is one of my favorite Juvenile Fiction Authors. She has his way with words and creating these characters that have so much dimension...my heart! Her introduction to this book got me slightly teary-eyed. She talked about having good friends and how sometimes they come and go, and she talked about finding your best friend. That person that you just click with and it's so easy. She also talked about how it is a STRUGGLE being a part of a trio of friends. I have had my fair share of trios and it can definitely be tough to navigate. So I already had a kinship with this book when I started and it just got better. Judy just captures these kids' minds and her characters are so relatable. I think that's why her books resonate so well with kids.
I loved seeing Rachel, Allison, and Steph's friendship bloom. And also seeing them deal with these trials and changes in their families. I also loved the way Steph and her brother, Bruce, were there for each other no matter what. Especially, when they were having nightmares!
Geez, I must be getting old. I got this one thinking I had never read it before and was surprised to find it already in my Goodreads log ... at least it was more than a decade ago. I think my feelings are about the same, although I upped it a star. *** I read a lot of Judy Blume when I was young, but I honestly don't remember this book, even though it came out when I was in junior high, the same age as the trio of girls in the book. Pretty typical Blume fare, which I always liked because she handled subjects like dating, periods, divorce, etc. so easily, never making a big deal about and never shoving important moral lessons down my throat. It felt very real, including all the silly "dating" and friendship drama that 13-year-olds deal with and the angst of being a teenager.