5 Judy Blume Books That Helped You Survive Puberty & People Want Banned

judy blumeHappy Banned Books Week! Okay, the fact that books are still being banned in schools and libraries in this day and age isn't exactly something to celebrate, but the books themselves are -- particularly five fabulous Judy Blume books that made the American Library Association's "100 Most Frequently Challenged Books" list. 

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Granted, Judy Blume books aren't the only titles to raise the ire of righteously indignant types: According to the American Library Association, more than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982. But Blume's novels are consistently among them, mostly because of their realistic treatment of teenage sexuality and other behaviors like underage drinking. Of course, that realism is precisely what makes them such noteworthy works of literature! Here, five of our favorites -- which also happen to be five of the most controversial.

1. Forever

forever

The term "coming-of-age" was pretty much invented to describe Forever, which tells the all-too-familiar (for most people) tale of 17-year-old Katherine Danziger's first love without shying away from topics like masturbation, birth control, loss of virginity, and so on. Forever has been cited for its "frequency of sexual activity and sexual descriptions," "use of 'four-letter' words," "demoralized marital sex" and "lack of moral" tone," among other things -- but we say this is one of the most honest depictions of young love out there (particularly the part about it not always lasting "forever"). 

2. Blubber 

blubber

The cringeworthy, oftentimes downright disturbing story of an overweight girl who becomes the target of her fifth grade classroom's relentless bullying, Blubber, like Forever, was banned for its "lack of moral tone," as well as for "allowing evil behavior to go unpunished." We say that the book's honest depiction of bullying (and how it often goes "unpunished" is exactly what makes it required reading -- for both potential bullies and victims.

More from The Stir: Surprising Titles on the Banned Book List

3. Deenie 

deenie

Schools and parents have taken issue with this book for its "passages that talk frankly about masturbation," but Deenie is really about a seventh grade girl's complicated relationship with her mother and the identity crisis she faces when the aspiring model is forced to wear a brace for scoliosis -- and what tween girl can't relate to a complicated mother/daughter relationship and/or identity crisis?

4. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

are you there god it's me margaret

Absolute required reading for any girl who's ever going to get her period (which means pretty much every girl), this classic novel has been called "sexually offensive and amoral" (what, because of that "Two Minutes in the Closet" scene?!). Of course it's neither of those things, but it is a brutally honest depiction of puberty, which is what makes it such a comforting read for tweens.

5. Tiger Eyes

tiger eyes

Dealing with significantly heavier themes than first periods and closet make-out sessions, Tiger Eyes is about a teenage girl trying to pick up the pieces of her life after her father is murdered. Frequent complaints about this one include "sexual situations," "underage drinking," and "profanities," but these aspects of the story are hardly the point. It's worth reading for its treatment of complex teenage emotions, particularly in the face of tragedy.

 

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