While researching for my final project at University, which focusses on Young Adult books, I found that this – generally – seems to be considered the first YA book, back in the 1940s. So, I figured as part of research I should read where it apparently all began. Exciting!
It wasn’t exactly surprising. Angie Morrow is in her final summer before heading to college, and she has never really dated. But then comes Jack Duluth, the handsome older boy who even makes Angie’s mother loosen the reigns and let her out more often than she’d like. Young girls shouldn’t spend so much time with one boy, we’re told.
Sure, it’s a refreshing change to find something so innocent compared to today’s YA books, or modern books in general. She’s flushed to kiss a boy on her third date – so unheard of! But, really, the innocence is veiled as love, but it does seem like the first pretty boy to give her attention warrants her infatuation.
At the same time, he is over the top romantic, so maybe she did love him, as much as a teenager facing first love could. It is almost as you’d expect, with very little bumps along the way. It’s nice, and it’s all very cute, but it really is boring after a while.
Angie just doesn’t seem such an in depth character. Her sisters at times seem more interesting, and are clearer cases of people who could fall in love or even want to. Angie, on the other hand, is just the epitome of a plain girl who is plagued by not being the popular girl, anxiety over comparisons to those deemed prettier or cooler than her, and her desire to be accepted into their world, and – by extension – accepted as someone who could be with Jack.
And that alone doesn’t scream romance. It screams desire to be accepted. But that’s just a nitpick. The fact so much emphasis is put on a kiss is actually nice, and you kind of fall into wanting their summer romance to last the distance. First love stories tend to reek of need to be wanted, but it was kind of cute to read something so innocent.