Seventeenth Summer

Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly is a book that I had to read this past week for my Young Adult Literature class. It isn't really a book that I would have just picked up on my own since it was written in 1942. I am glad, however, that I had an opportunity to have a taste of young adult literature as it was before it became such a wide-spread phenomenon like it is today.

The thing that I found to be most interesting about this book, a fairly well-written book that became a critical piece in the history of young adult literature, is that Maureen Daly wrote this book when she was 17. She had previously written short stories about being 15 and 16 so for her to write so much and so well at such a young age is pretty impressive.

The book tells the story of Angie Morrow who lives in Fon du Lac, Wisconsin. The summer after she graduates from high school, she meets and dates Jack Duluth. They spend their summer going on dates and for Angie who has never been in love, it's quite magical. At the end of the summer, Angie is headed off to college and Jack is headed to Oklahoma to work with his family. The book is about Angie growing up during this youthful summer and her considerations of her relationship with Jack as fall is approaching and what those changes mean for them.

There are a few parts of the story that seem pretty cheesy, where Angie is describing her reactions to Jack...she says her lips feel warm, her hands feel warm, etc. But I have to say that I think Daly pretty accurately captured the essence of a young summer relationship as well as the problems that come along with it. Her nature descriptions of the scenery in Wisconsin sound beautiful and especially this time of Winter, I'm longing for some of that sunshine!

Anyway, I feel like this is a very good book for young adults who are into the romance genre or are looking for a great growing up book. It is very fun to read about what dates would have been like in the 40s and how teenage romance has changed a little bit since then.


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